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Posted on: February 1, 2024

Fabric of Our Community Awards Recipients Announced

Fabric Awards

The Committee is dedicated to improving civic education and engagement in the county and has voted to induct five persons into the Fabric of Our Community Honors Class of 2024. Click here for additional photos of all the recipients.


Pam Thomas (Posthumously)
PamThomasAtFreedomFountainPam Thomas was a former School Board Chair, longtime educator, and board member for philanthropic efforts. The way Pam lived her life is a testament to her convictions and priorities. Her love for children and their well-being will be her legacy. They were always first.  Community spirit resonated within her soul. Her focus on the impoverished was clear in her tireless efforts with Onslow Community Outreach and other community charities.

She was a dedicated teacher, coach & IT Director during her 35 years in Education. She was also on the Board of Education for 16 years, 11 of those years as Chairwoman. Pam rarely focused on herself, but rather on those who needed assistance. There are countless stories of how she has helped so many in the community. The true nature of her soul shines through in so many posthumous stories of her positive impact on numerous people.

Dr. Gina Francis
Dr Gina FrancisDr. Gina Francis helped to communicate the story of the Montford Point Marines and the need for the now-constructed memorial to who served in the Marines from 1942 to 1949 and were segregated from white Marines. Her sense of community has driven her to work with her sorority to improve the lives of young people and the community.Her journalism career helped prepare her for getting the message out about the previously subdued history of Black Marines during segregated times. Her continued active membership of the Onslow Community while now operating a veterinary practice has continued to allow her to contribute to the fabric of our community.

Major James Capers, Jr, USMC Retired
Major Capers Major Charles Capers Jr USMC Retired-LookingDown returned from Vietnam without many knowing of the heroic actions he took and his service because they were classified as secret. Major Capers persevered through adversity and after 50 classified missions rose to become one of the most decorated Force Recon Marines in history.  Capers and his Recon team, aptly named “Team Broadminded” overcame stereotypes and seemingly impossible missions, changing the course of history. A documentary only recently released has finally told his story so that others know of his heroism and leadership. While his previous service was only recently declassified, Onslow County knows him for his service to the Marines and his service to the Community, helping to encourage young people to achieve their dreams.

Charles and Lea Efird
Charles and Lea EfirdThe Efirds are examples of good people who are truly part of the fabric of our community.  Unexpectedly called on to run his father’s business after his untimely death, Charles prospered and became a model citizen in Jacksonville helping to foster and lead projects and civic efforts including securing the funding for the Sturgeon City Environmental Education Center. His wife Lea was an educator for base schools and hosted the first ‘ropes challenge course’ in the area. Open to civilian and military, including children, the course was a feature of the Chamber Leadership Class and brought out the best in middle and high school students. A signature project of Lea’s was to build a labyrinth at Jacksonville Commons. The funds were donated and the meditation device now hosts many who travel its circular path to quietly consider life choices..

The Presentation of the Honors

The honorees will be remembered at the United Way Golden Rule Lightkeepers and the Fabric of Our Community Luncheon at 11AM, April 25, 2024. The luncheon will be held at the Onslow County Government Center, 234 NW Corridor Blvd, Jacksonville and tickets can be purchased at their website: https://www.uwonslow.org/

The Onslow County Civic Affairs Committee was formed in 1999 and carries on the legacy of the Jacksonville Civic Affairs Committee that was formed in 1990 and dissolved to create the county-wide committee. The Committee serves to advance civic education and provides several observances and commemorations such as the annual Patriot Day – 9/11 Observance, Freedom Fountain Observance, and Juneteenth Educational Observance.

The awards were inspired by the devastation of our community and the tear in the fabric of our community after the huge loss of life associated with the Beirut Bombing of 1983. The Onslow Civic Affairs Committee elected to honor those who had represented the strength of our community and who made significant contributions to what makes our community great.

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