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Wachovia Helps South Boston, Va Woman Thank Mentor Of 38 Years With A $10,000 Prize


CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Since she was 12, Laurietta Faulkner has relied on Joyce Houser for encouragement, advice and unconditional support. Now 38 years later, Faulkner is saying thanks to her mentor and best friend with a $10,000, prize courtesy of Wachovia.

In her essay, Faulkner thanked Houser of Fort Wayne, Ind., once her teacher, now a retired principal, who reached across racial and economic divides to offer encouragement to an inner city kid who literally hated herself. Initially, Faulkner did not receive Houser well, but Houser persevered.

“She was constantly there,” Faulkner wrote. “It wasn’t so much what she said—it was what she did. Just being there, allowing me to sit for hours without saying a word, and helping me to understand that my circumstances, my demographics didn’t define who I was.”

That perseverance helped Faulkner make it through school and later through college. In fact, Faulkner thought of quitting college after her mother died her freshman year.

“My world stopped, and I was bent on leaving school,” she wrote. “But she was there, every step of the way encouraging me to hang in there. Now, 38 years later, she is still my mentor and best friend. It is because of her influence that I can now pour my life into the lives of others.” Faulkner currently serves as executive director of the Mentor/Role Model Program, Inc. in Halifax, Va.

Randy Koporc, regional president for western Virginia, said, “There is no way to underestimate the importance of a caring mentor or teacher. Wachovia applauds Joyce Houser for her commitment to helping children and adults build a brighter future.”

Ken Thompson, chairman and CEO of Wachovia Corporation, said, “Together with our customers, this contest allowed Wachovia to spread the spirit of gratitude, something we value every day.”

Faulkner, of South Boston, Va., is one of 38 prize winners in Wachovia’s Who Would You Thank? contest conducted as part of 2007 National Customer Service Week. Winners received prizes ranging from $250 to $25,000 for writing a short essay about someone they know who deserved special recognition.


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