According to Dr. Kevin James Sr., the lead Pastor at Palm Coast United Methodist Church, one of the key things about the church is its diversity. That commitment to continuity and community can be found in three members of the congregation, Howard Holley and Gordon & Beverly Patrick. Who are named as 2024 honorees of the Wanda and Janice Wilson Foundation.
The Wilson Foundation emerged from a pursuit to inspire and support the community and a desire for actions to speak louder than words. Each year, the group recognizes individuals who dedicate their time to making a positive impact in their community. The 2024 honorees were voted on and approved unanimously by the foundation’s thirteen-member board.
“Both Howard Holley and the Patrick’s are outstanding leaders and faithful Christians who continue to make a difference in the community,” said James, who also serves on the Foundation board. “They especially recognize the importance of continually giving back to positively impact students who are furthering their education.”
Howard Holley was selected as a 2024 honoree for his accomplishments as a trailblazing business and community leader.
“Howard is a mover and shaker and has been very instrumental in advancing communication about the foundation,” said James. “He’s on the front lines, dedicated to giving back to the community, often working behind the scenes, not for the recognition but to make an impact.”
“My wife, Barbara Holley and I are passionate supporters of youth and education”, Holley said. “We believe in the power of education, and this foundation supports our commitment to ensuring that all students have the opportunities they need to succeed. As a community servant, my focus has always been on making a lasting impact, not for personal recognition but to advance our community and our youth”.
Gordon and Beverley Patrick are recognized as community servants. In addition to their active involvement, Beverly is also a former Wilson Foundation board member.
After taking one college course at Bethune Cookman University’s College of Religion in 2014, Beverly Patrick was hooked and continued taking courses for six years until the pandemic caused the shutdown of campuses.
“It was a wonderful experience,” says Patrick. “All of the students were nice and helpful, and the professors were great.”
After seeing Beverly benefit from that first semester, her husband suggested making a difference for others as well.
“My husband told me, ‘This has been such a great thing for your life, why don’t we donate to help others?’” said Beverly. “We learned about the Wanda and Janice Wilson Foundation; Rufus Wilson impressed me. I attended some of the functions, and the Wilson students impressed me. We felt it was a good cause and wanted to support it.”
“We felt it important to recognize the Patrick’s as community servants at this year’s event,” said Wanda and Janice Wilson Foundation Founder and CEO Rufus L. Wilson. “They’ve played an active role in the foundation and are large funders for our efforts.”
“We’re working to make the Wilson Foundation the largest in the country. We’ve given out over 250 scholarships and raised almost $1.5 million since it began,” said Wilson. “Someone helped me along the way, and now we’re helping others. That’s how the legacy keeps going and growing. You reach out and reach back to help people, and you reach forward to get help from people as well. And that’s the example our 2024 honorees are setting each day.”