We could not have been more pleased with the Zebulon Chamber of Commerce’s selection for Citizen of the Year.
When Leona Doner’s name was announced at Monday night’s banquet, the award seemed made just for her.
Doner is the founder and director of Shepherd’s Care, a free medical clinic in Zebulon which serves people who have no insurance but face chronic illnesses.
When Doner started floating the idea of a free medical clinic in eastern Wake County, many cheered the idea, but, we suspect, many of those same people saw it as something destined to fail despite all the good intentions.
Though the idea was noble, the business model - providing an expensive service at no charge - didn’t seem tenable.
But business models don’t have room for character and passion.
Doner has both those attributes in spades. She has, in many ways, willed this clinic to become successful through sheer force of personality. Her willingness to sacrifice time, money and a wealth of personal skills has been a great contribution, not only to the town of Zebulon, but to the greater Five-County area.
Citizens of the Year regularly give of their time and they all have an abiding love for the community they serve. Invariably, they make that community a better place.
But few have served in such a way that truly impacts quality of life the way Doner has.
Anyone who has crossed paths with Doner knows about the passion she has put into this effort. They know how hard she has worked all without any expectation of tangible reward or financial compensation.
And so it’s especially good that the town has given her this tangible recognition that her work and sacrifice is appreciated.