Warrens named Heritage Award winnersby Mike Creswell
Mr. and Mrs. Don Warren received the 2012 Heritage Award from the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC), one of the highest honors given by the Convention.
Don and Mary Ann Warren have been active and supportive in North Carolina Baptist life, both in leadership and financial support. They were honored April 24 at the 12th annual North Carolina Baptist Heritage Award luncheon, jointly sponsored by the BSCNC and the North Carolina Baptist Foundation at the Grandover Resort and Conference Center in Greensboro.
The Heritage Awards recognize individuals and couples who represent exemplary service and giving to the Baptist State Convention or organizations associated with the Convention now or in earlier times. Eleven other awards were presented during the luncheon by those organizations, including North Carolina Baptist Men, the Baptist Children's Homes and the North Carolina Baptist Foundation.
Milton A. Hollifield Jr., the Convention's executive director-treasurer, joined M. Clay Warf, executive director of the North Carolina Baptist Foundation, in presiding over the awards luncheon. Also helping present the awards were Mark E. Harris, Convention president, and Michael J. Barrett, president of the Convention's Board of Directors. Harris is pastor of First Baptist Church, Charlotte, and Barrett is pastor of Pleasant Garden Baptist Church, Pleasant Garden.
Looking over those being honored, Hollifield expressed gratitude for their service and said only in eternity would we know the real effects of what they had accomplished for God's Kingdom.
Keynote speaker Edwin Coates told the award recipients that the day was very special, "a day for you to be thanked and a day of recognition for what you have contributed to the glorification of God through these institutions and mission endeavors."
"What you have contributed to the institutions and missions causes cannot be measured in dollars," he told them, adding that North Carolina Baptists are the only Baptist group in the United States who have such an awards program. Coates, 86, helped establish the Heritage Awards program after he became executive director of the North Carolina Baptist Foundation in 1973. That year the Foundation managed $1.6 million. When he left the Foundation 24 years later, the Foundation was managing more than $70 million, Warf said.
Hollifield said he first met Don Warren at a meeting at Hollifield Leadership Center before Hollifield was elected executive director-treasurer. A friend told him "they do not realize what they have in Don Warren." Years later, Hollifield said, "It has been a benefit and a blessing to realize what we have in Don and Mary Ann Warren."
The Warrens are natives of Tallassee, Ala., but have lived in North Carolina for more than 40 years. Don met his future wife while they were still in high school; they have been married for 58 years.
Warren, 78, is chairman of the New Beginnings Capital Campaign of Caraway Conference Center, tasked to raise funds for a major expansion of the conference and retreat facility near Asheboro.
Last year the Warrens gave a major contribution to Caraway to build the Powell/Warren Mountain House, a one-bedroom retreat house for ministers on the Caraway grounds. Hollifield said he has heard from a number of pastors who have been very appreciative for being able to use the retreat home.
Warren also serves as a trustee of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C.
Earlier Warren served as a member and president of the Baptist State Convention's Board of Directors and also served on the Biblical Recorder's Board of Directors. Hollifield said the leader of a board of directors must be able to speak boldly, but also to listen attentively to members of the board and North Carolina Baptists; Warren succeeded at both.
Warren has served on Greater Gaston Baptist Association's finance committee and has served as deacon chairman, elder and Sunday School teacher at Parkwood Baptist Church in Gastonia.
Through his church he has made many mission trips to Honduras and Alaska. Through the Rotary Club, Warren has helped provide clean drinking water in Honduras. Warren has also been active in the Gaston Literacy Council; Gaston Skills, which helps individuals and their families with mental and physical disabilities; and Habitat for Humanity.
Warren began working in a textile mill at age 16, making 50 cents an hour. The last 13 years of his working career he served as president and CEO of a textile company.
Recounting Warren's highly successful career in textiles, Hollifield said Warren is a visionary person who looks for ways to make things happen.
Don and Mary Ann have two married daughters, one of whom was at the luncheon, along with Don's brother, Tom, a physician.