On March 5, 2015, Samaritan House celebrated its tenth anniversary in Charlotte. At its annual luncheon, nearly 200 people gathered to share in the celebration. Balloons and bright table decorations adorned the hall and each place setting held a Samaritan House mug, flexible flier, pen and a special “popper” for the end of the ceremonies. The hall soon filled with well wishers.
Deputy Secretary of North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services, Mr. Dave Richard, the keynote speaker, praised Samaritan House and all it was doing not only for Charlotte but as an example for the nation to emulate. “You are showing what a small group of people can do to solve a big problem in any community,” he said. “It is a testimony to your hard work that others are replicating what you do in other places.”
“The State just can’t do everything that needs to be done,” said Richard. “You can do some things much better than we can.”
Samaritan House founders Ruth Woodend and Freda Schlaman were presented with two crystal bowls commemorating ten years of their leadership and encouragement. The bowls were presented by Ruth Woodend’s daughters who praised their accomplishments and expressed pride in their mother and Freda.
Samaritan House also recognized, for the first time, its “Volunteer Organization of the Year.” Inviting up Michael and Kathleen Ballard to the podium, it presented to Forest Hill Church. The Ballard’s lead one of the church’s eight life groups that volunteers at Samaritan House. It was noted that over 10,000 volunteer hours were performed at Samaritan House last year alone, through over 1,600 volunteers.
“Our work is not yet done,” said Brad Goforth, Samaritan House’s executive Director. “There is still a great need in our community with special groups such as cancer patients and families. We are looking very hard at ways we can help meet that need,” he said. “We are a grassroots organization and it’s only through the help of our donors and our volunteers that we can accomplish what needs to be done.”
At the end of the ceremony, everyone raised their “popper” over their heads and with a shout of “Happy Birthday!” pulled the strings and sent the confetti inside flying into the air. It was a great end to the first ten years and the start of many more.