A North Surry student’s senior project earned $3,500 to support the work of children’s hospitals and her efforts have also been recognized by a Shrine Club Potentate.
“I’ve been thinking of this project since I was a freshman,” said Madison Vernon. “I wanted to give back, to help people.”
The idea fell in place for her as she was completing a five-page paper on social work, a topic she chose for the senior project. She remembered growing up and seeing her grandfather, Terry Scott, set an example of service to others as part of his Surry Shrine Club work to support a total of 22 children’s hospitals in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Vernon approached Scott about using the local Red Fez Club building for a benefit bingo event. He wholeheartedly agreed. Vernon’s mother, Tara, also pitched in to help. Madison Vernon said she was mentored on the fundraiser by Sheree Gough, who was her source for Longaberberger Baskets for the benefit bingo. Vernon also went out in the community and solicited door prizes for the event.
Her uncle, Earnie Johnson, made two custom Shrine-themed corn hole boards which were also raffled off. Vernon said she sold 1,000 tickets for the corn hole set. On the night of the bingo, Vernon drew the name of the winner and it was Johnson. He immediately donated the set back to the cause and it was auctioned off for additional funds.
“This was my first time going out and asking for support for something like this,” said Vernon. “I was nervous but my family pitched in and helped to make this possible.” She said she had previously worked on Special Olympics through North Surry.
“This was my first opportunity to really pay it forward,” added Vernon. “Special Olympics opened my eyes on what I could do. This project was the real deal.”
Vernon, who is also a National Honor Society member, plans to attend either Appalachian State or The University of North Carolina in Charlotte and would like to major in human services.
“This was great. I feel like I made the biggest impact I could ever have made with this. It warms my heart,” said Vernon.
Shrine Potentate Mike Cooke traveled to Mount Airy for the check presentation ceremony on Wednesday.
“This young lady has proved that working together can accomplish so much,” said Cooke. “The motto of caring, loving, laughing and sharing when we do things makes it all worthwhile. When I meet a young lady like you I know there are people who care.”
Cooke praised the members present that are grandfathers which set an example of community service through the Shrine Club for their families. He said the donation was enabled by Scott’s enthusiasm and told the group to keep encouraging nephews and others.
“You (Madison Vernon) wouldn’t have done this if it wasn’t important to him (Terri Scott),” continued Cooke. “The Shriners have 22 children’s hospitals with a budget of more than $734 million that treat patients even if they do not have the ability to pay. Without people like Madison we couldn’t do this.”
He told Vernon her work would touch lives that she would never know.
“We (Shriners) are a family and we can do things together. We have clubs that don’t raise this much in a year,” joked Cooke. “This accomplishment is huge.”
Reach David Broyles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1952.