ELIZABETHTOWN – For several years, Anita Autry, a resident of Elizabethtown, has been trying to find the money to secure an autism service dog for her 10-year-old son, Anton Autry Jr. Her dream is now one step closer to reality, as Autry has been awarded $15,000 as one of the first winners of the “Dream It. Do It.” campaign sponsored by First Bancorp, the parent company of First Bank.
In her contest submission, Autry wrote: “Most of the time, my husband and I take turns with appointments and grocery shopping due to our son’s severe anxiety of people, noises, places and sensitivities to light and sound. He cannot sleep without either one of us being beside him. My dream is to use the funds for the purchase of the service dog. This will provide our child the support and emotional security he truly needs.”
First Bank, the largest community bank based in North Carolina, launched the “Dream It. Do It.” campaign in April to highlight its commitment to serving the people of the Carolinas. As part of the yearlong campaign, First Bank will award $100,000 to deserving individuals to help them realize their dreams.
Every three months, up to $25,000 will be given to winners selected by a committee of First Bank employees in partnership with a nonprofit organization. Mountain BizWorks in Asheville was the nonprofit partner for the first quarter and received a $10,000 donation from First Bank for its participation. Kids Making It in Wilmington is the second quarter partner and will also receive a $10,000 donation from First Bank.
More than 1,000 dreams were submitted in the first quarter, and another 600 have come in during the month of July. For the three months that ended June 30, two winners were selected, Autry and Silverio Herrera of Willow Springs, who will be using his $10,000 prize to start a concrete business.
“The entries for the ‘Dream It. Do It.’ contest have been incredibly moving. So many have shared their hopes, struggles and plans to improve their lives or the lives of the people they love,” said Michael Mayer, president and CEO of First Bank. “The Autry and Herrera families are worthy winners for the first quarter of our contest, and we are excited and honored that we can play a part in helping them fulfill their dreams.”
Of the entries First Bank received during the first quarter of the contest, 26 percent were submitted by people looking to start or support a business or nonprofit, 24 percent were submitted by people who wanted to buy or improve a house and 18 percent were submitted by people wanting to take a vacation or buy a new car. Additionally, 10 percent of people said they would use the money to pay off debt, 9 percent said their dream was to treat a loved one, 8 percent submitted dreams related to continuing their education and 5 percent of people submitted other ideas.
The “Dream It. Do It.” contest is open to all individuals who live in North Carolina or South Carolina, and individuals can either nominate themselves or someone else. For official contest rules or to submit an entry, visit any First Bank location or www.localfirstbank.com/dreamitdoit.