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Six Associates Named Winners of 2010 Belk Award of Excellence

In Recognition of Outstanding Community Service

Nov 2, 2010

CHARLOTTE, N.C., November 2, 2010 –Six Belk associates have been named winners of the 2010 Belk Award of Excellence. Each received a $500 cash prize and the Award of Excellence trophy at a recent luncheon hosted by the Belk family and top management in Charlotte.
“We salute the winners for their outstanding community achievements and spirit of giving,” said Tim Belk, chairman and CEO, Belk, Inc. “This award was established 31 years ago to recognize outstanding community service which remains a cornerstone of our company’s values. We are inspired by each winner’s story and their compassion and dedication to helping others.”
The annual award is the highest honor given to Belk associates for outstanding community service. It is designed to acknowledge and promote the spirit of service that is a hallmark of Belk stores. In addition to the cash prize and trophy, Belk donated $500 to each winner’s charity of choice in his or her community.
The 2010 Award of Excellence winners, who were selected by a panel of fellow associates from among 122 nominees, are:

  • Terry Casper, Winder, Ga.
  • Dena Cohen, Corporate Office, Charlotte, N.C.
  • Vivian Conley, Asheville, N.C., Asheville Mall
  • Stephen Crosby, Belk Southern Division, Atlanta, Ga.
  • Amy Lewis, Corporate Office, Charlotte, N.C.
  • Ethel Morris, Natchez, Miss.

Each of the winners was recognized at the awards ceremony for exemplary community service or an exceptional act during the past year that made a positive difference in the lives of others. Summaries of the winners’ achievements or actions that earned them this year’s Belk Award of Excellence are included at the end of this press release.

About Belk, Inc.
Charlotte, N.C.-based Belk, Inc. ( is the nation’s largest privately owned mainline department store company with 305 Belk stores located in 16 Southern states. The company was founded in 1888 by William Henry Belk in Monroe, N.C., and is in the third generation of Belk family leadership. Its Web site offers a wide assortment of fashion apparel, shoes and accessories for the entire family along with top name cosmetics, a wedding registry and a large selection of quality merchandise for the home.

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Belk seeks to satisfy the modern Southern lifestyle like no one else, so that our customers get the fashion they desire and the value they deserve. Our vision is for the modern Southern woman to count on Belk first – for her, for her family, for life.

Human Resources, Winder, Ga.
Terry Casper hails from Barrow County, Ga. and is known as a “pillar” of her community, with a long family history in her area, and a legacy of civic, business, and charitable involvement.
Growing up in a small town where everyone knows everyone suited Casper, whose people skills helped launch her early career in sales for Peachtree Software. After 18 successful years, Casper migrated into commercial lending and real estate. Casper joined Belk as special events coordinator for the opening of Belk’s Winder store in February of 2009. When the store opening events were a huge success, Casper realized that she enthe access to the community afforded by a position in retail. She decided to join Belk full-time,beginning in the Home department and eventually moving into human resources.
As a third-generation Barrow County native, Casper has seen much growth and positive change in her community. She adds to it through Belk. She has established Belk as a “Partner in Education” with four area schools and as a “Friend” of all Barrow County schools. She is a Founding Board Member of the Barrow Community Foundation, and serves on the boards of the March of Dimes, United Way and Boys & Girls Club of Barrow County. She is an Ambassador for the Chamber of Commerce and serves on the Relay for Life committee. She is a member of the Touchdown and Cheerleader Booster Clubs, and also supports the Lion’s Club, the community concert band and theater, Habitat for Humanity, the Adult Learning Center and several other area charities.
Casper says no matter your position in life, there is always someone less fortunate who needs help. This is especially true for children, many of whom do not enjoy the loving and secure family life that shaped Casper. As a result, Casper focuses much of her involvement on organizations benefiting children and young adults. One such organization is Tree House, an advocacy center for children who are abused. Casper has served on the Tree House Board for seven years.
Casper also passionately supports “Food 2 Kids”, an organization that provides sacks of food to elementary school children at risk of going hungry over the weekend. The backpacks full of fruit, cereal bars, and other staples nourish children whose parents have cannot provide for them. “I am excited and honored to be recognized with an Award of Excellence,” said Casper. “I encourage everyone to their time to help others. It costs you nothing, but pays in so many ways.”

Merchandise Assistant, Moderate Sportswear & Swim, Corporate Office, Charlotte, NC
Dena Cohen, has turned her lifelong love of animals into a wide-ranging effort to protect them from harm. As a girl, Cohen countered her only-child status by creating an extended family of stray cats andinjured animals rescued in her Jacksonville, Fla. neighborhoovolunteered at a variety of animal shelters, including a sanctuary where animals are rehabilitated and released back into the wild. In college, she helped with animal adoption events and raised over $40,000 for the Tallahassee Animal Shelter. But even as Cohen dug in to rescue one animal after another, she was gradually realizing that her effort and dedication might be put to more effective use on the larger stage.

After attending a Humane Society rally at the state capital, Cohen saw the wisdom of parlaying her passion for animal protection into skillful advocacy at the state level. She gave up volunteering for the many groups she loved in order to found “PAW” – People Promoting Animal Welfare -- an organization dedicated to improving the lives of animals. PAW seeks to raise awareness about animal welfare issues through effective lobbying, and to inspire communities to live conscious lifestyles with regard to animals. As the organization’s Director, Cohen spreads the word about upcoming animal welfare legislation via press release, Facebook, personal appearances, and the PAW website ( She teaches less experienced advocates how to locate and contact the representatives who will be voting on important bills, and offers a crash course in respectful, positive lobbying.
One of Cohen’s “pet” causes is the elimination of puppy mills. To fight the mass breeding of puppies, Cohen has blogged, given speeches, and asked legislators face-to-face for their “yes” vote on pending legislation. PAW is currently organizing the state’s first fundraiser to support lawmakers friendly to the animal movement. Cohen also advocates ending factory farming and outlaw wildlife penning, a practice which allows injured foxes and coyotes to be used as live bait in dog competitions. With each campaign, PAW hopes to shed light on how every day decisions impact animals – from where you find a pet, to the food we eat, to the laws that govern animal welfare.

Certified Fitter, Intimate Apparel, Asheville, N.C. (Asheville Mall)
Vivian Conley grew up in the Burton Street community of Asheville, N.C., where she continues to live today. Her parents set an example of working vigorously for one’s community, and raised five children under the banner of equal rights for all. In high school, their belief in non-violent activism inspired Vivian to march on Washington for civil rights, where she was fortunate to witness Martin Luther King deliver his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
Conley joined Belk in Asheville 21 years ago. She is a certified bra fitter in the intimate department, a top sales producer, and Wacoal specialist. Her fellow associates describe Conley as someone who is always thinking about others and looking for ways to make their lives a little easier. For example, Conley continued fitting breast cancer survivors for prosthetics on referral long after Belk stopped carrying them. Her involvement with survivors has inspired her to spread the message of early detection, particularly for women of color, through the American Cancer Society, the Relay for Life, and at area churches.
Conley is an active member of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, and over the years has served as choir director, mission president, secretary and treasurer, Sunday school teacher and worship leader. She was the first female treasurer of the local Baptist Association, and has also worked at the state and national Baptist Conventions. She teaches the youth from her church about proper table etiquette and her beautiful voice can be heard whenever there is a wedding to celebrate or passing to mourn.
As a leader in her historic neighborhood, her efforts touch almost every demographic in the community. For instance, she worked diligently with neighbors to free their streets from the stranglehold of drugs. She is part of the federal Weed and Seed program for troubled youth, establishing “Go Green” community gardens and providing training for jobs. Conley also helps seniors fill out paperwork to ensure they are getting all the benefits they are entitled to receive.
While Conley is taking care of others, she is grateful for the three children and seven grandchildren who take care of her. In her free time, she enjoys being a grandmother, cooking and entertaining, traveling, and listening to gospel music. “I thank my co-workers for their recognition, and want them to know the sense of joy and peace she I feel when serving others,” said Conley.

Human Resources Coordinator, Belk Southern Division, Atlanta, Ga.
Stephen Crosby grew up on a farm near Statesboro, Ga., and credits his close-knit family for lessons that have allowed him to succeed in life – practicing his Christian values, working hard, caring for others, being grateful and staying true. These lessons fostered in Crosby a genuine desire to give back and to develop any resource or talent that could be used in support of others.
He attributes his love and respect for God, country, and the great outdoors to the years he spent in scouting. After earning the rank of Eagle Scout in 1998, he has spent countless hours helping other scouts complete service projects, serving on Scout review boards and honor courts, and leading groups on high adventure trips.
For the past two years Crosby has served as a director of Camp Hillview, the camp that he attended each summer during his entire childhood. Directing the week-long camp with his sister requires months of advance preparation, travel and programming for activities such as Bible curriculum, music, crafts, team-building, praise and worship.
Crosby consistently steps up first to help when special needs arise, whether it’s for Belk or a worthy cause. Over the past five years, he has volunteered with the Georgia chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to support its Bike MS and Walk MS events. As a result of his efforts and those of his fellow volunteers more than $8 million has been raised to fund MS research and programs. Last year, after relocating to the Atlanta area, Stephen was asked to increase his involvement and become a member of the Bike MS Board. In spite of the extra duties and responsibilities, he saw this as a fantastic opportunity to use his work skills to raise awareness, manage a team of volunteers, and coordinate two major cycling fundraisers a year. Stephen coordinates all aspects of the events from beginning to end.
Crosby is also small group leader at his church and for the past ten years has served as an advisor and program volunteer for state and district conferences of the Y-Clubs of Georgia, a Christian service organization for young people.
“I know from personal experience that even the smallest gift of time and effort can make a huge difference in someone’s life,” said Crosby. ”I encourage everyone to get involved in the community any way they can.” Outside of his Belk job and volunteer work, Stephen enjoys hiking, camping, backpacking and water sports.

Program Manager, Training & Development, Corporate Office, Charlotte, NC
If you want to understand the positive power of parents’ love for their children, consider the life of Amy Lewis. Amy grew up with an exceptional mother and father whose wisdom and goodness live on through her as she raises daughters of her own.
Surrounded by five siblings in a close, loving family, Lewis was a natural leader in her hometown of Matthews. From the age of 12, she worked at her family’s hardware store. When nuts and bolts gave way to dreams of evening gowns, Amy took a job as a sales associate at Belk where she had shopped throughout her childhood with her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. After college graduation, Amy joined Belk full time.
Lewis’ mother, who was a nurse for 30 years, taught her that “it is nice to be important, but more important to be nice!” Lewis took this advice to heart. She lost her mother in a tragic car accident 15 years ago but her legacy lives on through Amy who says her mother’s inspiration and guidance continue to inspire and motivate her to care for others.
Lewis is a third-generation member of Philadelphia Presbyterian Church where she serves as a deacon and is involved in many of its ministries. This spring, Amy and her family helped build a Habitat for Humanity house for a refugee family of seven from Sudan. When Lewis learned that the family had lost virtually all of their possessions, she reached out to the Charlotte Good Neighbor Fund, a charity she has supported as a volunteer for 13 years, to help.
Lewis has a true affinity for Birthday Blessings, a local non-profit that provides birthday parties for homeless children and gift baskets for the moms of homeless newborns. Amy has been a volunteer for many years, helping to raise money, hosting parties at women’s shelters and donating numerous gift baskets.
Amy has been a strong role model for her 12- and 13-year-old daughters who often work along side of her in her volunteer and ministry work. Each year, Amy’s family serves meals to thousands of people at the annual Thanksgiving lunch at the Charlotte Convention Center, and throughout the year at the local homeless shelter.
Her daughters also played important roles in helping the family of an afterschool teacher who was about to be evicted from her apartment. They enlisted the help of the Charlotte Good Neighbor Fund to help pay rent and utilities and provide other basic household needs.
Each Christmas as a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Lewis hosts a holiday luncheon and craft auction to benefit hospitalized soldiers and veterans and two area orphanages. She is also a seven-year member of the PTA Board, and recently became a volunteer and fundraiser for the Charlotte Children’s Choir.

Sales Associate, Kids, Natchez, Miss.
Ethel Morris refers to herself as “the backbone of her family.” She has held multiple part-time jobs for over the decades to support her son, elderly parents, and four grandchildren who she has helped raise from birth. At every job she performs, Morris is consistently described as a generous and dependable.
As an associate in the kids department, her enthusiasm and passion for children extends far beyond the sales floor. For 28 years, Morris has served as Student Attendance Clerk and Secretary for the Natchez-Adams School District in Mississippi. She applies her computer skills and knowledge to ensure that both the school district and her state get accurate daily attendance figures so that the maximum education funding is attained for the children in her community.
Morris is one of the founders of Family Fun Day at Morgantown Elementary, Belk’s local “Partner in Education” school. Each year, she organizes volunteers and gathers donations of food, money, gift cards, and other prizes so that thousands of students, parents, and community members can interact with the school in a positive way. She also leads the way in our store in promoting Education Appreciation Days and the Charity Sales.
Morris became more active in volunteer work after she lost her closest childhood friend to cancer in 1988. “Life challenges such as this touch the heart and should encourage us to lend a helping hand to others in need,” she said. During Hurricanes Katrina, Ike, and Rita, Morris served food and helped with other duties at the American Red Cross emergency shelter. For the past five years, she has worked at the concession stands to help raise money for the annual Relay for Life event sponsored by the local sheriff’s department.
When a beloved Belk co-worker lost her home to fire last year, Morris rallied the associates in her store to help out – and they assisted the family with food, clothing, and shelter.
After this same friend was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease and had to leave her job, Morris organized a church benefit and a school district fundraiser which generated $8,000 to help the family pay medical bills and other expenses.
Morris is a member of Shiloh Baptist Church, which she calls “my family’s church”. Her great-great-grandfather was the founding pastor at Shiloh, and her father was the oldest deacon until he passed away at age 97. Church is where Ethel’s Christian values were instilled, including her belief that it is better to give than to receive. Her many volunteer efforts have helped feed, clothe, encourage, and nourish the lives of countless people in and around the Natchez Community.
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