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Monarch’s Lighthouse Club Bell Choir receives the 2013 Governor’s Volunteer Service Award for Currituck County

The Monarch Lighthouse Club Bell Choir in Currituck County is committed to giving back to their community.  The bell choir, comprised of individuals with developmental disabilities, has always engaged in service throughout the community. But when the group learned to play hand bells, they excelled significantly.  The choir now volunteers countless hours performing for community and civic groups, for the elderly and medically frail, including performances for people in two of the area’s Alzheimer’s units. 

Bell choir - web size“The performances by the bell ringers bring happiness to people who are constantly experiencing loss,” said Renate Macchirole, community inclusion specialist at Monarch. “The fact that the bell ringers provide these services not only impacts the people living in the institutional settings, but also to their families.  It is painful for family members to see the decline in their loved ones, but the bell choir brings smiles to their loved ones and provides them with comfort.”

For their volunteer service and commitment of time, accomplishments, community impact and enhancement of the lives of others, the Monarch Lighthouse Club Bell Choir are the recipients of the 2012 Governor’s Volunteer Service Award for Currituck County.

On Monday, Dec. 3, the choir gave an evening performance during the Currituck County Board of Commissioners’ regular meeting, where they were recognized and received their Governor’s Award. Earlier that same day, the choir performed and received a standing ovation during the Dare County Board of Commissioners meeting. Macchirole said the award not only honors the group for their tremendous community efforts, but also helps to debunk myths and educate others about the extraordinary abilities of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“It is important for the community to be aware of the talent and positive effects that people with intellectual disabilities can have on others when provided with the supports needed to succeed,” explained Macchirole. “This award gives recognition not only to the bell ringers, but to the more than 167,000 people living in North Carolina who have developmental disabilities. Everyone needs support from others and we are committed to educating our neighbors that we are more alike than different.”

The Governor's Volunteer Service Award honors the true spirit of volunteerism by recognizing individuals, groups and businesses that make a significant contribution to their community through volunteer service. The proud tradition of volunteerism and community service was first recognized by the Office of the Governor in 1979. Any person, group, or business from the public, non-profit and private sector may be nominated for an award.

Monarch provides support statewide to thousands of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental illness and substance abuse challenges from more than 50 North Carolina counties. Monarch is nationally accredited by The Council on Quality and Leadership and is CABHA certified. The agency is an affiliate chapter of The Arc of North Carolina and The Arc of the United States. To learn more about how Monarch is “Helping Dreams Take Flight” for people living in our communities, please call (800) 230-7525 or visit

Pictured above: The Monarch Lighthouse Bell Choir and staff.

Media contact: Natasha A. Suber, (704) 986-1582 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.





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