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Awardees feted at BESDF event

Two of the most stalwart contributors to the George Henry White Memorial Health and Education Center were presented with the George Henry White Award in the July 30 banquet held in Wilmington, North Carolina, for the Benjamin and Edith Spaulding Descendants Foundation.

The honor for 2020 went to Ocie Jones, local superintendent of the project, and the honor for 2022 went to Gerald Collins, the contractor and consultant and member of the leadership team.

"Were it not for Ocie Jones and the role he plays in support of the GHW Center, there would not be a GHW Center," said project leader Vincent Spaulding. "Ocie is responsible for the day-to-day management and operations of the GHW Center. He interfaces with contractors who work on the Center, handles getting work inspected and approved by the local building official, gets bids for construction work, and has established a professional lawn care team, who take responsibility for landscaping and keeping the GHW Center looking good."

Choosing the recipient of the 2022 award was not difficult, Vince explained. "Gerald Collins is a professional contractor from Maryland, and he handles innovations and construction expertise for the GHW Center.

(Left to right: Ocie and Lena Spaulding Jones, Lynn and Gerald Collins)

"When I ran into a very difficult situation, I contacted Gerald and I told him I was at the point, where I thought that I may have to give up. He told me to let him take a look at what needed to be done, before I made the decision. He traveled to the project and brought a trailer loaded with some very sophisticated construction tools. He and I worked to install the plumbing, piping, electrical work, junction boxes, installing wood blocking for the handicapped bars and rails, to fit in the 3-½” space between the ladies and men's bathrooms.

Gerald also, completed the installation of the drywall for both bathrooms at the GHW.

"He then traveled to the project again, and spent a week installing finished flooring in the bathrooms, Kitchen, Dining/Training Room, and solving some roofing problems. Gerald's actions allowed the project to move forward. Gerald is currently leading an initiative, at my request, to get the windows replaced for the GHW Center and some work done on the attic at the GHW Center."

"Every time, I look at the GHW Center, and reflect back upon what it took to get the building renovated and operational, fulfilling its mission, as a health and education center: I am filled with pride and disbelief that we were able to get the project done. I also look at the development of the GHW Center and say that I have witnessed firsthand the occurrence of “Divine Intervention” which is a supernatural event of divine origin," Vincent said.

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