As a way to give back to a community that helped launch a year-round shelter in just eight months, the Haywood Pathways Center is initiating an annual Community Service Award program.

The center, located in the former Hazelwood prison, offers temporary housing and meals for adults who show a willingness toward improving their situation.

“Flipping a prison was a massive undertaking,” said Nick Honerkamp, who was the chairman of the emergency Christian shelter in the county that operated in the winter only and didn’t offer meals. “It would never have been possible without the widespread community support that we received.”

That’s why the center wants to celebrate those who have given of their finances and themselves when it comes to supporting all worthy causes in the community.

“This isn’t for people who have only supported the Haywood Pathways Center,” said Patsy Dowling, who was one of the three individuals on the initial Pathways committee. “There are many worthy causes in the county and literally thousands of individuals who work behind the scenes to make Haywood one of the most caring communities in the country. We want to honor them for their tremendous heart for doing good.”

The center would like to receive nominations from all nonprofits, community residents, church and service-oriented efforts in the county.

Nominations are being accepted in five categories.

• Public servant who did the most to serve

• Local organization that did the most to serve

• Local business that did the most to serve

• Individual who has had the greatest impact

• Philanthropist of the year

To weigh in on the awards, visit Nominations will end Friday, July 17.

Or mail nominations to the Haywood Pathways Center, 179 Hemlock St., Waynesville, NC 28786.

Award recipients will be publicly announced in August.

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