Distinguished Service

During the Kernersville Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards presentations given on Monday, November 16, Mayor Dawn Morgan received the Arnold G. King Community Distinguished Service Award for her service to the community.
Jim Waddell, last year’s award recipient, presented Morgan with this year’s award.
Every year, the Kernersville Chamber of Commerce recognizes an individual for long-term service to the Kernersville area. This award is the Chamber’s lifetime achievement award. The award is a special one, as it was renamed in the memory of the late Arnold G. King.
Morgan was surprised with the award as she arrived at Kernersville Fire Rescue Department Station 42 for the Chamber’s annual meeting.
“Mayor Morgan, on behalf of the Board of Directors at the Chamber, our staff and volunteers, we’d like to recognize you as the Arnold G. King Community Distinguished Service Award winner for 2020,” said Chamber President and CEO Chris Comer, as Waddell stepped up to present the award plaque to Morgan.
“2020 has been an interesting year and it looks like it will spread into 2021, but Kernersville, as usual, has somebody that stepped forward to lead and guide us through the difficult time, and the Chamber feels that Mayor Morgan has done that and done an excellent job in leading us,” said Waddell.
Upon receiving the award, Morgan said she was not only surprised, but also honored to be recognized.
“It’s such a great honor to be recognized. There have been so many incredible people that have been recognized with this particular award that have done incredible things for Kernersville and I’m honored to just be able to do my part in Kernersville’s success over the years,” she said. “It’s an honor to be recognized in this way by the Chamber and the community.”
Morgan said it has been as exciting for her since she was elected as the mayor of Kernersville in 2008 to now.
“It’s been a really exciting time in Kernersville and with the growth in our population,” she said. “There are more opportunities for places to work, expansions of existing businesses, the incredible growth in the medical options in Kernersville with Moses Cone, Novant and the VA hospital.”
Morgan also noted that she has enjoyed being involved with the new library and the different efforts the Town of Kernersville has made for land use planning that has impacted the appearance of the community and economic vibrancy of the community – in downtown Kernersville, urban districts, and the efforts the community has made to offer a mix of different housing options.
“It is really wonderful to be recognized for my involvement in the community and I respect those who have come before me that have been recognized,” she said. “I’m just honored to have played a role in Kernersville’s development and making Kernersville a great place to live and work.”
Morgan said she is thankful not only to be recognized, but also for all the wonderful people she has gotten to work with over the years, including the late Arnold King.
“It’s just been so wonderful to get to know people and work with so many non-profits and churches and to help celebrate important milestones and achievements in the community such as ribbon cuttings, groundbreakings, anniversaries and celebrations,” she said. “I’ve really enjoyed being part of the schools, visiting classrooms and hosting classes at Town Hall – every grade from preschool to high school.”
Morgan added that it has been nice to see how Kernersville has pulled together during the pandemic.
“I think this year has been a very difficult one for the people of Kernersville, but the community really has pulled together to help others,” she said proudly. “When I look at the Kernersville seal with the churches and businesses and rays of light, I like to think the rays of sunlight are shining on Kernersville and that we have good times ahead of us.”
Morgan has been the mayor of Kernersville since 2008. She was elected to the Kernersville Board of Aldermen in 2001, and served on the Kernersville Planning Board from 1997 to 2001.
Morgan has served on many committees in Kernersville and been involved in many planning processes, including the Kernersville Vision 2020 planning, serving on the Infrastructure Committee, the Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan Committee, Kernersville Downtown Preservation and Development Council, the Stormwater Advisory Committee, and the Kernersville Library Advisory Committee. She has been the town’s representative on the NCDOT (Department of Transportation) Transportation Advisory Committee, and the representative of the Town of Kernersville on the Kernersville YMCA Board of Directors and the Aquatics Committee.
Morgan has served on several county-wide efforts, including the Forsyth County Opioid Task Force, NCDOT Division 9 Business 40 Naming Committee, Kernersville Library Public Art Committee, Forsyth County Complete Count Committee for the 2010 Census and the Complete Count Committee for the 2020 Census.
More recently, she serves on the Re-Open Forsyth Committee, as chairman of the Transportation Committee for Onward Kernersville and on the Onward Kernersville Steering Committee.
Morgan has the historical distinction of being the first female to be elected mayor of Kernersville, since the town’s incorporation in 1871. She has presided as mayor in a historic period of growth for Kernersville, with the town’s tax base that now exceeds $3 billion, including the establishment of Novant Health Kernersville Medical Center, the VA Health Care Center, the ribbon cutting of the FedEx Ground Hub, the significant expansions of Deere-Hitachi and Grass America, and the opening of the Amazon Fulfillment Center.
Morgan has been a regular contributor to the Kernersville News since 2001, and to the Kernersville News Magazine since its inception, writing hundreds of columns about the town of Kernersville.
Morgan was recognized by the Kernersville Chamber of Commerce as the Citizen of the Year in 2011 and as the Small Business Advocate of the Year in 2014. She has been recognized by the Mayor’s Council for People with Disabilities as a Most Supportive Partner.
Her first volunteer position with the Chamber was serving on the Business After Hours Committee, where she often took a shift greeting attendees and making nametags at the door.
Morgan is a graduate of Wake Forest University School of Law, graduating second in her class. She is a graduate of the University of Texas, with a Master of Business Administration with concentrations in Finance and Marketing, and a graduate of the University of Virginia, with a Bachelor of Arts in English. Following law school, Morgan was a law clerk for the Honorable N. Carlton Tilley, Jr., a federal district court judge in Greensboro. She then worked as an attorney in the Winston-Salem law office of Womble Carlyle Sandridge and Rice, and left the private practice of law to devote time to raising her children.
Morgan has been an active volunteer with Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, and is a member of First Baptist Church of Kernersville. Morgan and her husband, Judge Eric Morgan, have three children.

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