Town Manager Roger Stancil has selected John French, Resident Services coordinator for the Town of Chapel Hill, as the 2016 W. Calvin Horton Service Award winner.
The award is one of the highest honors the Town of Chapel Hill bestows upon an employee, who receives an inscribed glass plaque and $1,000 cash award.
French has served as the coordinator for 13 years. His position has been in the Police Department and is currently assigned to the Housing and Community Department. Executive Director Loryn Clark, his nominator, referred to his unofficial titles as “friend, teacher, social worker, mediator, peace keeper, driver and coach to the community.”
French created the Visions Program designed to mentor young African American men and supervises the Summer Youth Employment program where interns are placed in various departments within the town and community. He often spends his Friday nights running a basketball league at Hargraves and has been engaged in a number of other community outreach programs.
“John recognizes the trust that parents have bestowed upon him, and he fiercely protects all of the young people he works with and provides them with experiences they might not have had under normal circumstances,” Clark said.
The W. Calvin Horton Service Award was initiated in 2007 when funds were raised by the community through the Foundation for a Sustainable Community Inc., a not-for-profit charitable corporation under the auspices of the Chapel Hill–Carrboro Chamber of Commerce. The community raised the funds to honor the 16 years of service of former Town Manager Cal Horton. It was Horton’s request that the funds raised be used to award Town employees for distinguished service, of at least 10 years. The fund supports the cash stipend associated with the award.
Past award recipients are Amy Harvey (2015), Coco Hall (2014, posthumous winner), Colleen Lanigan (2012), Nate Davis (2011), Maggie Burnett (2010), Jim Huegerich (2009) and Larry Stroud (2008).