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Reverend Richard Joyner named top ten CNN Hometown Hero of 2015

October 09, 2015 by Rachel Gorman

ROCKY MOUNT, North Carolina (October 8, 2015) – Nash Health Care, along with the Conetoe Family Life Center and Vidant Health, is pleased to commend Reverend Richard Joyner on being selected one of the top ten CNN Hometown Heroes of 2015. Announced by Anderson Cooper on the network at 8:00am this morning, the honor comes with a $10,000 prize for the Conetoe Family Life Center and signals that Reverend Joyner is now eligible to be voted by viewers to become the 2015 CNN Hero of the Year.
Viewers can watch Reverend Joyner’s CNN segment and vote for him to become the 2015 CNN Hero of the Year by visiting the CNN website at www.cnnheroes.com. They can vote every day through November 15, 2015. The winner will be announced in December. If Reverend Joyner is named the 2015 CNN Hero of the Year, the Conetoe Family Life Center will receive an additional $100,000 to support their work.


“This is a wonderful day for the Conetoe Family Life Center and the community in which we work,” said Garrie Moore, Executive Director, Conetoe Family Life. “We are so thrilled and grateful for the support that we have received – not only from CNN, but from folks in and around our community, our state, and beyond. We are committed to encouraging healthier, more vibrant lives for our children and families. This award, and the support we’ve received, gets us one step closer to that goal.”
Reverend Joyner is the Director of the Chaplain program at Nash Health Care Systems and is charged in that capacity with creating innovative programs to improve population health in the area. In 2005, he enlisted the help of Wick Baker at Vidant Edgecombe Hospital to commission a health assessment, and it showed more than 65 percent of Reverend Joyner’s church members suffered from diabetes and high blood pressure. In response, and with the help of the Vidant Health Foundation, he started a community garden and enlisted local children to help him care for it. Since that time, the Vidant Health Foundation has funded his program every year with grants totaling more than $125,000.


Reverend Joyner was first recognized by CNN earlier this month, when they traveled to Conetoe to film his work with the Conetoe Family Life Center, combating hunger, poverty, and chronic disease through community farming efforts and children’s education programs. The program has been praised for encouraging healthier eating, cooking, and lifestyle habits through their community gardening initiatives. Students participating at the Conetoe Family Life Center develop leadership abilities, social skills, science, math, business acumen, environmental stewardship, and a sense of community responsibility.


“Reverend Joyner’s efforts are incredibly commendable. He has worked for over a decade, impacting the lives of some of our regions most disadvantaged and chronically ill residents. We are so glad that he is receiving recognition for his efforts – he deserves it! Now let’s all make sure to vote for him to become the 2015 CNN Hero of the Year!” said Larry Chewning, President and CEO, Nash Health Care Systems.
“Reverend Joyner’s vision and dedication are transforming communities and proving that positive change does make a difference,” said Joel Butler, president, Vidant Health Foundation. “He is encouraging others to channel their passion and focus on improving the health and economic vitality of Conetoe.”

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