Honor Someone You Know … Service Award at CU, Submissions Due Friday, April 27
Athens, W.Va. – Concord University is asking for your help! There are those in our communities who work in a tireless, selfless and caring fashion for organizations that benefit the disadvantaged. You may know of someone who fits this description, and Concord University would like to recognize him or her with an award at this year’s Concord University Alumni Association banquet. Submissions are due Friday, April 27; and a submission form is available on the Concord University web site. Go to www.concord.edu, click on “About Concord,” then “Awards.” The nominee does not have to be a graduate of Concord University.
The Linda Fink Service Award honors the memory of a Concord University graduate who died tragically while serving in the Peace Corps. While there is no monetary attachment to the award, it does serve to honor and bring recognition to someone who fosters the ideals demonstrated by her brief life. Some past recipients include: Ms. Barbara Hawkins, Dr. Kathy Wides, Ms. Anne O'Sullivan ’75, Mr. Gilbert “Gene” Bailey ’57, Mr. Homer Ball ’48, Dr. April Puzzuoli, and Mr. Greg Puckett ’93.
A brief biography of Linda Fink, which provides inspiration for potential nominees, follows: In 1972, Linda L. Fink, a Flat Top, W.Va., native and 1971 graduate of Concord College, felt a calling that she described in her own words as, “The world is big and life is short. I want to live, work, play, share, teach, learn and help as much as I possibly can.” For Linda, those words were all too true. Ms. Fink, who translated her calling into a Peace Corps assignment, died tragically while in Zaire, Africa, while serving in the Corps.
Although Linda’s life was short, she had accomplished much and had proven herself as a caring and dedicated young person, concerned with making the world a better place. She was valedictorian of the Spanishburg High School class of 1968. She went on to Concord where she was an active and popular student. She was listed in “Who’s Who Among American Colleges,” president of Cardinal Key Honor Society and served as vice president and secretary of Gamma Beta Phi service organization. She was named “Miss Congeniality” in the Miss Concord pageant and was a member of the Concord College Bible Club. Linda graduated with honors in only three years.
After leaving Concord, she taught at Ansted High School for one year before joining the Peace Corps in the summer of 1972. In her application for the Corps she stated, “There are people who need help through love and encouragement and positive thinking and understanding, that’s my biggest talent.” It was because of her talent for helping others that she found herself in Africa serving as a teacher and peacemaker among those who needed her.
On January 16, 1972, she disappeared while swimming in a river. The cause of her death remains a mystery, although her family believes that she drowned. Walter C. Howe, acting director of the Peace Corps at the time, described Linda in a letter to her family, printed in the Raleigh Register: “Linda was an extremely idealistic young woman. Throughout her association with the Peace Corps she was always hopeful that her concerns and efforts would help the Zairians obtain a better understanding of the United States. Linda truly exemplified the ideals upon which the Peace Corps was founded.”
The award has been given to an outstanding community member since 1995.
Ms. Kathy Ball, chair for the search committee, urges community leaders to offer submissions. “If your candidate’s name is selected, we ask that you help us honor the nominee by ensuring his or her attendance at the Concord University Alumni Banquet on Friday, May 18. Dinner will be provided for the honoree, his or her spouse or guest, and you and a guest. The recipient will be announced at the banquet, so please help us surprise him or her.”
CONCORD UNIVERSITY NOTES: Persons with disabilities should contact Nancy Ellison, 1-304-384-6086 or 1-800-344-6679, extension 6086 if special assistance or help is required for access to an event scheduled by the University on campus.