Jill Burch, the late Paul Fisher and Matthew Marsh have been named winners of the 2021 Elizabeth Duncan Koontz Humanitarian Award. The trio will be honored during a virtual presentation today, Thursday, April 8, at 5:30 p.m. via the Salisbury Human Relations Council Facebook page and on WSRG-TV -- Fision Channel 394 and Spectrum Channel 16.
Burch has worked tirelessly for more than 25 years in the non-profit industry assisting minority businesses with securing grants and education opportunities. Nominated by her daughter Keya Ruston, Burch was given the 2009 NC Housing Counselor of the year award “for her hard work in promoting homeownership among low income families.” Burch currently serves as Chairman of the Board for East Spencer Housing Authority, “encouraging families towards self-sufficiency and homeownership.
Fisher’s death in October 2020 was a tragic loss for the entire Rowan County community. He was a notable businessman and humanitarian who generously gave his time to a number of non-profit organizations and community projects to benefit the greater good. Said Kelli Bostian in her nomination form, “The late Paul E Fisher has done so very much for our community. When he was living he was the picture in the dictionary for humanitarian.”
Marsh is the co-owner of The Forum Fitness Center and SoFul Yoga and Wellness. He gives back to the community through his board service with Rowan Helping Ministries and Prevent Child Abuse Rowan, and through sponsorships and fundraising events for other local non-profits. According to his nomination form submitted by Lynn Marsh, his mother, “Matt can be best described as a servant leader in his community. To him, much like the lady this award is named and given in honor of, Matt leads by being a humble servant...”
The Elizabeth Duncan Koontz Humanitarian awards recognize a person(s) from the Salisbury-Rowan community who exemplify the ideals of Elizabeth Duncan Koontz and who has made an important contribution to improving human relations in the areas of education, employment, housing, industry, business, civic, church and or community endeavors. These awards are named in memory of Elizabeth Duncan Koontz who was one of the organizers who re-established the Human Relations Council (formerly the Salisbury-Rowan Human Relations Council) in 1985.