Lisa Bullard said her mother, Faye Gardner, did not expect recognition.
In fact she usually avoided it.
Gardner a long time resident of Garner, was posthumously awarded the YMCA of Garner’s Community Impact Award on Thursday for her committment to the YMCA and the Garner community. Bullard accepted the award in her honor. This is the first year for the award and going forward it be called the “Faye Gardner Community Impact Award.”
“As I tell my daughter Meredith, if you’re unsure of what decision to make, just ask yourself, ‘WWGD,’ or ‘What would Grandma do?’ Bullard said. “Her motivation was not to be just a nice person, to make people like her, to get something in return.”
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She said it was her faith in God and the heritage of a giving family.
Bullard joked that Gardner never learned how to swim but made sure Bullard learned how to swim as a child. And when the YMCA was to be built, she’d sign her adult daughter up for swim classes.
Gardner died last year following a battle with cancer. She was 73.
Gardner was born in the Johnston County town of Pine Level, where she spent her early life on a farm, but then moved into town when her father took a job.
She met and married her husband in Pine Level, and the couple moved to Garner in the 1970s to be closer to their jobs in Raleigh.
She worked for Wachovia (now Wells Fargo) for 35 years before retiring 15 years ago.
And for the last eight years prior to her death, she had served as the vice president of operations at the chamber of commerce here. She worked part-time during her struggle with cancer. She put on the Veteran’s Day ceremony, each year. She also led the way in helping to raise $500,000 for Garner Veteran’s Memorial at Lake Benson Park.
It is among the largest memorials in the region. And she helped raise money to get a YMCA built in Garner.
But she didn’t take credit for it.
As Town Council member Buck Kennedy read a long list of her accomplishments to the nearly 100 in attendance at the ceremony, he prefaced it by saying: “If she were here, I’d be ushered out of the door at this time.”