Halifax County May 2022

Population
51,235

County Seat
Halifax

Median Income
$35,502

Population Density Designation
Rural

Our visit to Halifax County began in Littleton, a town of 600-plus residents near Roanoke Rapids and Lake Gaston. Littleton’s interim Mayor and Town Commissioner Stephen Barcelo and Stacy Woodhouse of the Ed Fitts Charitable Foundation greeted us and walked us through downtown Littleton which, according to Barcelo, has seen a renaissance from the combination of Lake Gaston’s growth in recent years and investments from the Fitts Foundation.

We walked through a new coffee shop and art gallery before visiting the Blue Jay Bistro. The Fitts Foundation helps support all three businesses — and Barcelo noted that all three are thriving and help bring both residents and visitors to downtown. Woodhouse pointed out that the town also has free, high-speed internet that blankets main street – providing an opportunity for folks to work, study or create in downtown.

From downtown Littleton, we traveled to Halifax Community College (HCC) in Weldon. Interim HCC president David Forester provided a tour of the college’s work in health care including their dental clinic, nursing program and more. We met nursing students who came from across the region to attend HCC, and we heard about the college’s unique relationship with Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP). NFP engages nurses to visit young, first-time moms-to-be regularly, starting early in the pregnancy and continuing through the child’s second birthday. HCC is the only community college in the country to have an NFP chapter within its walls, allowing students to get real-world experience caring for new moms.

From HCC, we traveled to the tribal center for the Haliwa-Saponi Tribe in Hollister. Blue Cross CEO and President Tunde Sotunde was invited to provide a few remarks at the beginning of our visit.

“You don’t know what you don’t know – which is why it is important that Blue Cross NC travels across the entire state to hear from residents, community leaders, and those on the front lines of building healthier communities,” noted Sotunde. He went on to describe Blue Cross NC’s interest in building relationships and understanding the opportunities in local communities to help improve the health and lives of all North Carolinians.

Members of the Haliwa-Saponi tribal council walked us through the history and legacy of the tribe, the challenges exacerbated by COVID-19, and the opportunities moving forward for the tribe to tap into local assets in an effort to build a culture that will allow tribal members to thrive in Hollister and surrounding communities.

Meet Dr. Algie Gatewood

Dr. Algie Gatewood is only the fourth President to lead Alamance Community College (ACC) since it opened in 1958. During Dr. Gatewood’s tenure at ACC, the college won its largest ever bond referendum – nearly $40 million – in 2018 to fund a number of major capital projects and expansions. The college also secured $16 million in county funding in 2014 to build the Advanced Applied Technology Center. Other notable accomplishments include creating a Biotechnology Center of Excellence, introducing an Early College, facilitating an apprenticeship program, and introducing nearly two dozen new academic programs and articulation agreements with state universities.

U39702, 7/22