Walker Honors Veteran Hank Williams of Graham as Community Hero of the Month
GRAHAM, N.C. – U.S. Representative Mark Walker (R-N.C.) today honored Hank Williams of Graham as the Sixth District Community Hero of the Month for June 2018. The presentation was held at Walker's congressional office in Graham. Graham Mayor Jerry Peterman was also in attendance.
Each month, Rep. Walker awards a constituent, business, or organization in his district for displaying extraordinary acts of service and for making a difference in the lives around them.
Williams is originally from Hickory, N.C. and received a degree in sociology from Lenior-Rhyne University. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1969, serving in Vietnam as a combat engineer. After a long military career, as well as work in the private sector, Williams began work as an employment consultant with the North Carolina Employment Security Commission and was soon after selected for the position of veterans supervisor, a role where he encourages businesses in five counties to hire veterans.
Returning back from a trip, Williams stopped in the USO office at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport and noticed a basket of stars from an American Flag at the desk. He was inspired to use a similar method of showing appreciation to veterans. In his spare time, Williams takes retired U.S. flags that are no longer able to fly, and cuts the stars out, creating patches. He then writes messages for veterans on the back of the patch and hands them out to veterans that he comes across in the community.
Mr. Williams is also the reason that every Tanger Outlet Center across the country has parking spots reserved for veterans. As Williams tells the story:
"The idea behind this was that many Vietnam and Korean War Veterans were "aging out" and may not have the traditional handicap tag required for parking closer to the building. For over a year I heard nothing from their corporate headquarters and decided I would go to the top. I found out Steve Tanger's father was a Veteran so I wrote directly to him asking if he didn't think this would be a fitting way to honor his father. I really didn't know if I would receive an answer but less that two weeks or so later I received an email from Steve Tanger saying that he was looking into doing it in Mebane. Then he said he liked the idea so much he was putting in Veteran only parking in all 44 Tanger locations."
Williams is a member of the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and volunteers at other service organizations.
"Although I am receiving this award, this award belongs to all veterans and the stars say it the best," Williams said."That 'you are not forgotten.'"
"Hank Williams spends every day of his life making others feel loved and cared for," Walker said. "His selfless service to his neighbors – especially our nation's veterans – is truly inspiring. Real heroes know the impact that a simple act of recognition can have on a person's life, and Hank takes that power and multiplies it in ways that makes a difference in hundreds of lives. We are proud to have him represent our community."
Williams was presented with a certificate and a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol in his honor.