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2023 Elizabeth Duncan Koontz Humanitarian Award recipients named

2023 Elizabeth Duncan Koontz Humanitarian Award recipients named

The Salisbury Human Relations Commission (HRC) is pleased to announce the 2023 Elizabeth Duncan Koontz (EDK) Humanitarian Award recipients. This year’s recipients, Bishop Ronald Hash, Nicolas “Nick” Means, and Dr. Martha Starks, will be honored at a special program on Thursday, May 11.

Dr. Hash, a native of Wytheville, Va., is a bishop in the Church of God Apostolic, Inc. and serves as the District Overseer of the North Western and South Eastern Districts (NC, SC, Va. and W.Va.),. Dr. Hash attended Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Va., receiving degrees in business management, student personnel and community college administration. He has pastored three different churches and presently is the founder and pastor emeritus of Love Christian Center in East Spencer. He served on the Town of East Spencer Board for eight years, serving as vice mayor for two terms.

Dr. Hash is the president of the United Ministerial Alliance of Salisbury and Rowan County. A former board member of the former Rowan County Local Reentry Council for Formerly Incarcerated Men, he also owned multiple homes for homeless veterans and disadvantaged women. He currently is the chairman of the East Spencer Housing Authority.

Means was born in Thomasville, and graduated from Thomasville High School where he played football, basketball and baseball. He earned a football scholarship to Catawba College where he played from 1999 to 2002, graduating Cum Laude in 2003.  His sports prowess was recognized by his alma mater when he was inducted into the Catawba Sports Hall of Fame in April 2014.

Means currently works for F&M Bank where he is the assistant vice president and training and development officer. He serves as an assistant basketball and football coach at North Rowan High School, and is on a number of boards for non-profit organizations in Rowan County. He is the chairman of the Rowan County Leadership Rowan Steering Committee, treasurer of the Blanche and Julian Robertson Family Foundation, serves on the Catawba College Board of Visitors, and is a founding member of CBAN, the Catawba Black Alumni Network, where he currently serves as president. Means lives in Salisbury with his two children, William Reese and Kristina Means.

Dr. Starks is the senior pastor of Word of Life Family Worship Center in Salisbury. Prior to accepting the position as pastor, she served two years as the assistant pastor and eight years as the youth minister. She received an Honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Union Bible Institute in Durham.

Dr. Starks is a graduate of Catawba College, and biblical studies graduate from the Institute of Biblical Studies in Lynchburg, Va. Active in the community, she is a member of the North Carolina Chaplaincy Association and a member of the Salisbury Interdenominational Minister’s Fellowship (IMF). A former member of the Salisbury Human Relation Commission, Dr. Starks also served on the board of directors for the One Church One Child Program which partners with the Rowan County Department of Social Services. She also is the former chairman of the Program Services Committee for the New Tomorrows program sponsored through Rowan Helping Ministries. She served for 10 years as an associate chaplain at Rowan Regional Medical Center.

She is married to Elder Clinton Starks and they are the parents of three children and four grandchildren.

The mission of the Human Relations Commission is to create an environment of hospitality, inclusiveness, acceptance, and appreciation of the diversity of all people. The Human Relations Commission membership is appointed by the City Council. For more information about HRC, visit salisburync.gov/hrc. 

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