Festival Shines Spotlight on GHW Center

G.H. White
George Henry White (submitted)

Columbus Regional Healthcare (CRH), Novant Heath, and other organizations in Columbus County partnered together on Sept. 17 to bring residents the ‘Fall into Health Festival’ at the George Henry White Memorial Center near Farmers Union.  

The day included food, health information, and a wide range of screenings. Participants had their blood pressure and sugar evaluated, their body mass index (BMI) calculated, and learned how to recognize and get rapid treatment for a stroke.  

Under the direction of Stephanie Miller, Manager of Physician and Community Services at CRH, nursing students from Southeastern Community College performed many of the tests under the supervision of licensed professionals.

“COVID put many people behind on their health,” said Miller. “Necessary annual screenings, such as mammograms, prostate screenings, and colonoscopies have been put off. Our goal is to reach the community where they are, remind them of these important screenings, and how important it is to see their primary healthcare provider.”

Novant Health flew in a medical transport helicopter for the event, and Tabor City provided an ambulance for display. Other organizations tested saliva for HIV and Hepatitis C with 15-minute results, and CRH’s Shauna Treadaway taught CPR throughout the day.  

Lung health, pregnancy and postpartum health, pediatric health, cancer treatment and prevention, preventing sexual violence, and even financial health were covered as part of the festival.   

The history of GHW Center 

The George Henry White Memorial Health and Education Center was founded after Dr. Milton Campbell and Wanda Campbell Clay donated their grandmother’s 100-year-old farmhouse to the Benjamin and Edith Spaulding Descendants Foundation in 2015. The goal was to restore the home and build a community center in honor of White.

White was born in Bladen County in 1852, and he was educated in Whiteville. White distilled turpentine to attend Howard University. He taught school in New Bern, continued to study law, and passed the bar exam in 1879. He practiced law, served as a public prosecutor, and won the office in the state legislature.  

He ran for Congress and won in 1897 becoming the only African American to hold a congressional seat from 1897-2001. He was a fierce proponent of human rights, and he advocated for Indigenous and African American peoples. He introduced a bill making lynching a federal crime. White’s hard work paid off when more than a century later, the bill was finally passed in 2022.

He called for equality in the military and in education, and when the state closed the ballot box to minorities, White left politics to carve out a path in economic development.

He formed a law firm, opened the People’s Bank of Philadelphia, and he founded a town of Whitesboro, N.J., which was named after him. He built a schoolhouse and deeded it for one dollar to ensure that youth would be given a good education.  

Future plans for the Center 

Today, the center offers computer and networking classes, health events, workforce development programs, land use management seminars, and countless other career and self-help initiatives.  

Free courses in Computer Networking for high-paying IT jobs will be held on Saturdays starting this month. The Meals on Wheels program in coordination with seven local churches and the Community Watch, will be preparing and delivery meals from the center. 

Classes including CPR, resilience, stroke symptoms, fitness, diabetes, kidney health, lung health, heart health, and many more are being held at the facility. There’s even a program titled ‘Fine Food and Fitness’ that focuses on nutritious cooking and healthy activity.  

The land use and management seminars help people to make better use of their property to increase responsible financial and environmental choices. 

Plans are even in place for skilled trade job training.  

“We hope to have electrician training,” said media spokesperson Kate Tsubata. “There are more plans, but they are long-term in nature.” 

For more about the GHW center, visit the website at www.ghwmemorialcenter.com.  

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