The 34th Annual WRAL Azalea Celebration came to a conclusion on Saturday, October 5, 2019, with winning groups picking up their plants from the WRAL Transmitter site in Auburn, NC. Capitol Broadcasting distributed 4,820 azaleas to 114 nonprofit groups from across North Carolina on Saturday, October 5, 2019.
The winners included a mix of public schools, churches, and nonprofit/civic groups from the western part of the state to the coast.
“Each year we receive applications from all parts of NC and so many different types of groups from schools, churches and civic groups,” said Corp Assistant Property Manager Amy Trudo. “I can’t tell you how excited people are when we contact them they have been awarded plants.”
Trudo and Corp Estate Gardener Jack Lamm coordinated and facilitated the event.
“For most of these organizations, budgets are tight and landscaping usually gets cut first, so to have up to 50 Encore Azaleas can really get them a nice start with their projects,” she said. “We have a number of groups who reapply each year and it’s so nice to see how their projects are developing with addition of our plants.”
CBC Property Management selected three winners among the groups who received plants two years ago. The nonprofits were judged on how they incorporated their WRAL azaleas into their landscape and how they have maintained those plants over the past 24 months. Each winning group won additional azaleas, a package of garden tools to help with installing and maintenance, a plaque and a cash prize.
The 2019 A.J. Fletcher Award winners are:
- 1st Place – Vance Charter School – $500.00 and 100 azaleas
- 2nd Place – Statesville Middle School Jr. Beta Club – $250.00 and 50 azaleas
- 3rd Place – Southeastern Wake Adult Day Center – $125.00 and 25 azaleas
WRAL-TV, FOX 50, WRAL-FM MIX 101.5 and WRAL.com all sponsor the WRAL Azalea Celebration along with partner NC Beautiful.
Volunteers from NC Beautiful and a variety of CBC divisions descended on the WRAL Transmitter site on October 5 for the distribution. As groups arrived, volunteers loaded trucks, trailers, vans and SUVs of all sorts with plants for the winning nonprofits.
One church group shared about how they had lost all of their landscaping due to a recent hurricane. They were thrilled that the azaleas would help them start over. Smiles, hugs, handshakes and “thank yous” abounded.
The camaraderie at the distribution poured over to the sites of the nonprofits as the plants arrived. Many of the groups had teams waiting for them after azalea pick up. Fuquay Varina police officers came to help plant the azaleas at Fuquay-Varina Elementary School that same day.
WRAL.com General Manager called the gesture from the officers “a good example of how the azalea program builds all kinds of powerful partnerships.”
“With 34 years of plants being distributed our company has established a legacy which will continue to grow and touch so many people,” said Trudo. “We are excited for our 35th giveaway next year and to continue spreading the beauty of azaleas throughout NC.”
Thanks to Alicia Osborne (daughter of Corp’s Andrea Osborne) for the majority of these capcom photos.