Thursday, December 1, 2022

Hometown huzzahs: Successes and achievements in the Cape Fear

A rundown of recent accomplishments from the Cape Fear area:

Local man wins $1 million in lottery

Wilmington resident James McCall, 73, purchased an Extreme Millions lottery ticket at the Porter’s Neck Country Store last Sunday. When he played it later that afternoon, he and his wife looked at the $1 million prize in disbelief, according to a press release. The reality set in after the lottery Claims Center in Raleigh confirmed his win. McCall chose to take a lump sum of $600,000 (before taxes) instead of twenty annual payments of $50,000 and plans to share the money with his family, make some home improvements, and save the rest for old age.

CFCC basketball player signs with professional Spanish team

Eboni Gilliam, Class of 2015, has become Cape Fear Community College’s first female basketball player to go professional. After leading the Sea Devils to their first-ever championship game, Gilliam transferred to Longwood University, achieving her goal of playing for a Division I team. Now, Gilliam will be moving to Spain to play professionally for Club Naticio Terressa. CFCC Women’s Basketball head coach Lori Drake said she is not at all surprised by Gilliam’s success, remarking, “she was the type who could work three jobs, keep straight A’s, and be the star of the basketball team. That was just how hard she worked.”

Willard Community Outreach awarded $15,000 grant

Dr. Pepper Snapple Group and KaBoom! have joined forces to present Willard Community Outreach a $15,000 Let’s Play Community Construction Grant. The money will be used to build a new playground, which Willard Community Outreach Director Clifton West says “will provide a safe play place for the children of Northern Pender County.” Since its 2011 launch, Let’s Play has provided over 10 million children with safe, accessible playgrounds and sports equipment.

UNCW Softball and Women’s Golf teams honored for academic excellence

The Colonial Athletic Association has recognized UNCW’s softball and women’s golf teams with the inaugural Team Academic Excellence Award. The award recognizes the teams with the highest collective GPA in their conference. In addition to placing third in last April’s CAA championship, the women’s golf team has a 3.621 GPA and four All-American Scholars on the team. The softball team had an impressive season on and off the field as well, making their first appearance in the CAA championship in ten years and securing a 3.498 team GPA in the process.

CFCC student to be featured on PBS’s ‘This Old House’

Austin Wilson, 18, has been selected from hundreds of applicants to appear on award-winning TV series, “This Old House,” as part of their Generation Next initiative. Despite growing up in public housing with a struggling family, Wilson vowed not to let his circumstances hold him back. At 12, through nonprofit organization Kids Making It, Wilson discovered his talent for woodwork and has since studied masonry, electrical, HVAC, plumbing, surveying, and framing. He is currently working toward his associate’s degree in construction management from CFCC, but has also been working as an apprentice for “This Old House’s” Norm Abrams on a porch renovation and bathroom construction. You can catch Wilson on the show this fall.

Leadership Wilmington award winners announced

Two men were honored for their positive impact on the community at this year’s Leadership Wilmington Alumni Association reception. Charles Ember (left) received the Most Outstanding Leadership Wilmington 2017 Class Member Award. Embler was a key member of the Logistics Committee for the class project, Work On Wilmington.

Neal Andrew (right) is a 1998 Leadership Wilmington graduate and this year’s recipient of the Karl Davis Leadership Wilmington Alumnus of the Year Award. In addition to endowing an engineering scholarship at CFCC, Andrew also serves as vice chairman of the NC Coastal Resources Commission and the New Hanover County Ports, Waterway, and Beach Commission. Mayor Bill Saffo presented the awards on Aug. 10.

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