Local News

Hogs & Rags: Kickstands down. See you next year!

08 HogsNRags34th0POSTPONED 1For 14 years, the Hogs & Rags Annual Spring Rally has only gotten bigger and better. Already known as one of Eastern North Carolina’s largest motorcycle, car and truck rallies, organizers of this year’s event were taking it to even greater heights. They were adding more excitement and community involvement with a particular emphasis on honoring the thousands of military veterans living in the Fayetteville/Cumberland County community. This year’s ride was scheduled for Saturday, April 25, as part of the 39th Annual Fayetteville Dogwood Festival. Well, as most of our readers know by now, neither of these events will happen — thanks to COVID-19.

If you are not familiar with the Hogs & Rags motorcycle and car rally, it is Fayetteville’s premier charity fundraising event that supports three important local nonprofit organizations serving Fayetteville, Fort Bragg and Cumberland County. The Hogs & Rags Rally raises money for the local branch of the American Cancer Society; the Special Forces Charitable Trust Foundation, which supports our brave Special Forces soldiers and their families; and the Kidsville News Literacy and Education Foundation, which provides reading and educational materials (free of charge) to children in all Fort Bragg and Cumberland County Schools.

For 14 years, hundreds of motorcycle, car and truck enthusiasts, volunteers, sponsors and law enforcement agencies have come together in support of these causes to make this community a great place to live and work.

 Good things last, and this charitable event is no exception. Two of the original organizers of the rally are still active participants. It is the hard work, dedication and perseverance of people like Gardner Altman and Bobby Bleecker of Bleecker Automotive Group fame —  who have mentored the organization —that have enabled the event to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for these community charities. Their concept at the inception of the rally was to create a countywide event that was a win/win for everyone involved. Although the money raised benefited local charities, the other objective was to bring people and organizations together for fellowship in support of a common goal — to make the Fayetteville/Cumberland County community a better place to live, work, play and raise a family.

The objectives and success of this event caught the eye of another community-centric citizen, Tammy Thurman, Eastern North Carolina’s community relations manager for Piedmont Natural Gas. Seeing the impact the H&R event had on such a large segment of the community, PNG got involved by becoming the 2020 H&R presenting sponsor. Next year, PNG hopes to expand the charity ride to additional eastern Carolina cities. As the presenting sponsor, Thurman would have led the ride accompanied by two distinguished guests serving as the 2020 H&R Grand Marshals — the Honorable North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army Dan Dederick. Their dedication and contribution to our country, state and community are a matter of record, and their support of the rally is reflective of their goodwill, generosity and commitment to humanity.

We have an entire year to recover from this COVID-19 situation, so here is a sneak peek of what you can expect in 2021. The rally fun always begins with an official Hogs & Rags Welcome Party on the Friday before the event. This fun-filled meet-and-greet starts around 6:30 p.m. and is sponsored and hosted by Rodney Sherrill and his staff at Rodney Sherrill/State Farm Agency. This pre-rally party is a tradition filled with food, fun, fellowship and great music, featuring Fayetteville and Cumberland County’s most popular, talented, patriotic and award-winning band, Rivermist. Admission is free with registration.

The next day, Saturday, at 7:30 a.m., the action starts at the Airborne & Special Operations Museum. After registration, coffee and doughnuts, hundreds of motorcycles, cars and trucks will get into position as participants fellowship and greet the rally’s special guests. Opening ceremonies begin with a greeting from  Fayetteville’s mayor followed by a prayer and the Rivermist’s acapella rendition of the national anthem as the Special Forces Association Parachute Team performs a spectacular aerial demonstration while delivering a huge American Flag.

Immediately following the presentation of colors, event sponsor Fort Bragg Harley-Davidson’s local HOG Chapter Road Captain gives the safety briefing. Then it’s kickstands up, start your engines, and everyone sets out on the first leg of the rally, with a full police officer escort, which will end up in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

The first stop is Rock’n-A-Ranch in White Oak, North Carolina, where dozens of dedicated volunteers will have cooked up one of the most memorable and outstanding low-country Southern breakfasts you’ve ever had. It’s here that we again thank our rally sponsors and introduce our special guests. Then we are back on the road and headed to Myrtle Beach. After a short water break in Tabor City, we reach our final destination — Wild Wing Café in North Myrtle Beach. Here, the party starts as participants listen to great music and enjoy an awesome lunch as event organizers recognize the rally sponsors, give away prizes, have a live auction and announce the winner of our 50/50 and gun raffles. The raffle and auction items are outstanding every year and usually include three or four rifles and pistols, valuable artwork — like a signed and numbered limited-edition David Uhl HD painting — and our traditional exclusive one-of-a-kind handmade Hogs & Rags quilts. No one is ever disappointed.

Well, that’s the sneak preview of next year’s event. Will it happen exactly as described? Who knows? We do promise an experience you will never forget. Just remember, all the money raised each year stays here in Cumberland County and benefits local charitable organizations. Also, the Hogs & Rags Rally is an all-inclusive community event — this means cars, trucks and any kind of motorcycle you ride (on two or three wheels) is welcome. Everyone is invited. Come solo, bring a passenger — or the entire family — you will be among friends, and you will make friends while having the time of your life.

Next year, the cost of the ride will remain the same at $50 per person, and what a great value that is. You get to support three charities, fellowship at the  Friday Night Welcome Party with the live band Rivermist, partake in doughnuts and coffee, take home an official H&R T-shirt, enjoy a low-country breakfast at the Ranch and have a great meal and party at Wild Wing Café. There will also be door prizes, raffles and an auction. Wow! What’s not to like?

We missed you this year, but don’t miss us next year. Mark your calendar for Saturday, April 24, 2021, and join Piedmont Natural Gas, State Farm Insurance, Fort Bragg Harley-Davidson, the band Rivermist and the entire Hogs & Rags committee as we rally for three great charities and a wonderful Fayetteville/Cumberland County community.
Stay in touch with us at www.hogsandrags.org, and check out our Facebook page at Hogs and Rags of Fayetteville for more information. In the meantime: Stay safe, healthy and get ready to ride next year when you hear “KICKSTANDS UP!”

Crucial need for blood locally

07 IMG 3797A shortage of blood is nothing new at Fayetteville’s Blood Donor Center. About 900 donors provide blood supplies for Cape Fear Valley Health System in a good month.
“We transfuse 1,100 units of blood a month,” said Marketing and Outreach Coordinator Lindsey Graham. “The past year has been one of the most critical years ever.”

For the first time in Graham’s 12 years at the blood donor center, Cape Fear Valley hospitals have had to cancel elective surgery because of the blood shortage. Graham said the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to the shortage.

The Cape Fear Valley Blood Donor Center is a community program that serves the needs of patients at the health system’s hospitals in Cumberland, Hoke and Bladen counties through blood donations by individual donors, community organizations and businesses. With public school out for an indeterminant period, there will be even fewer donations.

“High school students provide half the blood supply,” Graham said. They are the most reliable providers in our community, she added. Graham is at a loss to understand why, in a major military community, there isn’t more donor enthusiasm because, Graham said, “The need is great.”

O negative is the most common blood type used for transfusions when a patient’s blood type is unknown, making it the universal blood type. And, it is the safest blood for transfusions for immune-deficient newborn babies. Because of its versatility for transfusions, it is in high demand.  In an emergency, it is the blood product of choice. O negative is the first blood supply to run out during a shortage, and that is the case locally, according to Graham.

Since the community requires a continuous, safe blood supply, the Blood Donor Center encourages donors to give on a regular basis. Donors are eligible to donate whole blood every eight weeks. “Each donation can save up to three lives,” Graham noted.

Blood is a living tissue circulating throughout the human body and is comprised of red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma. It is most often collected as whole blood and separated into major components before transfusions. In the U.S., the collection, testing, preparation, storage and transportation of blood and blood components is governed by Food and Drug Administration regulations.

The Cape Fear Valley Blood Donor Center is located at 3357 Village Dr. It is always open for donations Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the third Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. As members of the Blood Assurance Plan, donors can build blood credits. Each donation equals one blood credit that may be kept by the donor or transferred to a family member or friend in need. Blood credits may be used to replace blood or platelet unit charges for patients of the Cape Fear Valley Health System. 

Bloodmobile drives are scheduled for Saturday, April 18, 1-4 p.m., at Bright Light Brewing Company at 444 W. Russell St.; Wednesday, April 22, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., at Chick-fil-A, 4611 Ramsey St.; and Saturday, April 25, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., at Fort Wagg Pet Supplies, 2672 Highway 24-87 in Cameron.

FTCC’s nursing program wins million-dollar grant

Fayetteville Technical Community College has been awarded a $961,200 grant by the Golden LEAF Foundation to support its health care workforce training program. The grant will be used to renovate and equip an existing space as a simulation suite for FTCC’s nursing programs — associate degree in nursing, licensed practical nursing and certified nursing assistant.

“We’re so grateful to the Golden LEAF Foundation for their ongoing support and collaboration with communities such as ours throughout North Carolina,” said FTCC President Larry Keen.

Simulation is a proven method for students to practice a variety of health scenarios enacted in controlled environments.

Cape Fear Valley Medical Center gets local help

Also, Fayetteville Tech has provided thousands of items of personal protective equipment to Cape Fear Valley Health System for its use during the coronavirus outbreak.
“These are the heroes on the front lines, and we support them,” FTCC President Dr. Keen said.

Supplies provided to Cape Fear Valley included face shields, N-95 masks, regular medical face masks, gloves, isolation gowns, aprons, lab jackets and head covers, as well as disinfectant and hand sanitizer. The college also donated 150 masks and hundreds of gloves to the North Carolina State Veterans Home in Fayetteville. FTCC uses personal protective equipment for students in many of its health care programs and its funeral services program.

Local Walmart stores are engaged in internal crowd control

Walmart has taken steps to promote health, safety and consistency and enhance social distancing, including regulating store entry and changes to the shopping process. In an email to Fayetteville City Councilman D. J. Haire, Walmart’s Regional Director of Public Affairs & Government Relations Brooke Mueller said stores are allowing no more than five customers for each 1,000 square feet at a given time, roughly 20% of a store’s capacity. Customers will be admitted on a “one-out, one-in” basis. The company is also instituting one-way movement through shopping aisles in some of the stores, using floor markers and direction control from associates.

“We expect this to help more customers avoid coming into close contact with others as they shop,” Mueller said.

Fayetteville’s United Way steps up

United Way of Cumberland County has established a COVID-19 Relief Fund. This fund provides assistance and resources to those affected by the current public health emergency. Money collected is helping local families and individuals impacted by the virus meet their basic needs. To donate to the relief fund, visit www.unitedway-cc.org, text UNITED to 855-735-2437 or mail a check to the United Way office at 222 Maiden Lane, Fayetteville, NC, 28301 with “COVID-19” written on the memo line.

All of these funds will stay in Cumberland County.

April is the Month of the Military Child

Cumberland County Schools are recognizing the resilience of military-connected students during April, which is nationally known as “The Month of the Military Child.” The Cumberland County Board of Education recently declared a proclamation in support of the 15,529 local military family dependents who face challenges with school transitions and family separation.

“Every time military members are deployed or receive orders for a permanent change of duty station ... it causes a change in the child’s family dynamics,” said CCS Military Family and Youth Liaison Joseph Peek. “Our acknowledgement of the Month of the Military Child is a way for us to show our appreciation and support for them and the sacrifices they make.”

Churches practicing social distancing for Easter

In a typical year, many people would plan to put on their Sunday best and head to church tomorrow for an Easter service. Of course, this year isn’t like most years due to the practice of social distancing. But in a time that is so hectic and stressful in so many ways, churches throughout Cumberland County are being creative in how they offer Easter services  to their congregations in hopes that their efforts will provide hope and peace during a troublesome time. 

Many churches are putting information on their Facebook pages and websites to let their congregations and other people in the community know about changes in Easter plans. Here are ways that  just a few of the churches in the area are celebrating differently this year. 

The Village Baptist Church will livestream their Easter services at 7 a.m, 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. on April 12. Visit https://www.facebook.com/officialvillagebaptistchurch/ to see the service. You can also catch broadcasts of the services on the radio. Carolina Country 100.1 WFAY and The River 106.5 WMRV will both air the 11 a.m. service. The Village Kids Easter service will be available at https://www.facebook.com/villagekidsnc/ and will start at 9 a.m. 

Epicenter Church normally has a popular event called Hop in the Park, but due to the cancellation of the event, the Church is finding other ways to reach out. The church made “Hop at Home” kits available, which included Easter eggs, crayons, coloring pages and candy that were available through April 9. Epicenter is also taking this opportunity to support local causes. They have given a financial contribution to Southern Coals, which has been providing food to local students who aren’t able to get food at school. They have also made financial contributions to Operation Blessing and Fayetteville Urban Ministry. Visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/yourepicenter/ for a variety of links, including a Youtube channel, a sign-up page for life groups, and a page for kids. 

Manna Church is hosting Easter services online at 8:15 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m., as well as on My RDC TV at 10 a.m. Visit https://fayftbragg.manna.church/updates/easter-with-manna?fbclid=IwAR3LTb9itlXrwVIwMIa5JqY_i0DPLcscwSnxgeoPPbwulgNrDZFhGQNb1ps for more information. 

Northwood Temple Church, located at 4250 Ramsey Street, is having drive-in church, rain or shine. Live worship music will begin at 9:30 a.m. The church will provide pre-packaged communion for those in attendance. Other people who wish to tune in can turn to The River 106.5 WMRV from 10-11 a.m. 

Southview Baptist Church is having drive-in services tomorrow morning as well. Located in Hope Mills at 4089 Elk Road, the services will be at 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. Visit the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SouthviewBC/ to watch the services online. 

FTCC’s business administration program prepares students

10 business administrationToday’s globalized economy is filled with all kinds of competition — from small businesses to large corporations. Members of today’s workforce must be competitive, interactive and diverse to compete and succeed in today’s global economy.  Employees will be required to meet these global challenges with the skill sets needed to keep their companies successful and profitable in an ever-changing economic environment. Are you ready for the challenge?

At Fayetteville Technical Community College, our business programs prepare students for a successful career in a wide range of business platforms with a variety of academic program choices to meet career and educational goals.  FTCC’s business programs prepare students for employment in a competitive marketplace or guide students to a bachelor’s degree at a four-year college. FTCC also has numerous articulation agreements with four-year universities, allowing students to complete additional upper-level courses with the value of FTCC’s affordable tuition.

Business program students seeking employment in today’s competitive, diverse, global marketplace upon graduation often pursue a business administration degree. The business administration degree curriculum is designed to introduce students to the various aspects of the free enterprise system.  Students are provided with a fundamental knowledge of business functions and processes and an understanding of business organizations in today’s challenging global economy.

Course work includes business concepts, such as accounting, business law, economics, human resources, entrepreneurship, management and supervision, and marketing.  Skills related to the application of these concepts are developed through the study of effective communications, critical thinking, collaboration, leadership, team-building, decision-making and computer applications.  Through these skills, students will have a sound business education foundation which leads to lifelong learning and career growth opportunities. Graduates are prepared for employment opportunities in entrepreneurship, management, marketing, retail, sales and finance, with large or small businesses or industries.

The faculty at FTCC bring real-world expertise and ideas into the classroom learning environment, regardless if the class is face to face, online or blended educational formats. FTCC has instructors who owned and operated their own businesses, worked in the industry and managed organizational resources, finances, programs, processes and personnel. At FTCC, students are not just learning from a textbook; students learn from proven business professionals, each prepared to deliver their practical experiences in real-time relevance. FTCC’s business programs instructors are skilled academic advisors who want to help students succeed. They’ll also celebrate and proudly stand by students at their graduation ceremonies. 

For students interested in pursuing an exciting career in the business industry, FTCC is a wise choice for pursuing education.  As long as the economic environment has businesses, there will always be a high demand for students who graduate with business administration degrees.

First Session Summer classes at FTCC begin May 26. Tuition expenses are considerably lower at FTCC than at four-year colleges, yet the quality of education is high. Visit www.faytechcc.edu to apply now. Many classes and programs are completely online.  You can email me at bellfloj@faytechcc.edu for help or questions about programs of study available in business administration.  FTCC is proud to open its doors to all who seek a quality education.  Learn more about the smart choice for your education — Fayetteville Technical Community College! 


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