Winners

They dreamed. They entered. They won!

Our recent winners all had dreams that were special to them. The stories below show what it's like when dreams come true!

  • Bryan Bennett Bryan Bennett Home for a hero
  • Jamie Adams Jamie Adams Quality of life renovations

My brother is 32 years old and has been a firefighter since he was a junior in high school. He volunteered for 10 years and was then promoted to paid staff, and he’s now Assistant Chief for Howe Springs Fire Department.

His passion for the fire service is apparent. He consistently works a full week, and still runs calls after hours, and on the weekends he helps with events and training. In addition to his responsibilities as a firefighter, he has not just participated, but organized and managed numerous fund raisers and donations for various individuals in need around the Florence community. This past year he organized a golf tournament and a charity ride to benefit injured firefighter/paramedic, Tessie Smith. During Hurricane Matthew he worked 72 hours straight rescuing/evacuating people, and then after the hurricane he gathered donations and delivered the collections to the Nichols community.

My brother works so hard and gives so much to our community, but because of the limited salaries of firefighters and his selfless contributions, he’s found it difficult to save enough money for a down payment on a home. He currently rents, and it’s his dream to marry his fiancé, Brittany, this December and buy a home. So when I saw a brochure in my local First Bank branch, promoting a contest to make dreams happen, I immediately thought of my brother. I would love to see First Bank make the dreams of this firefighter come true. I can assure you there is no one more deserving than this local hometown hero.

- Mandy Simpson on behalf of Bryan Bennett
On a sunny day in Florence, SC, friends and family members waited with balloons, a big check, and smiles to surprise Bryan and Brittany Bennett with the news that they had been chosen as one of the Dream It, Do It winners.
Here John Long, First Bank regional executive, congratulates Bryan during the surprise.
Bryan had been nominated for the prize by his sister, Mandy.
Bryan and Brittany, recently married in early December, will use the funds to help set up their new home, purchased the same week as their wedding.
The very deserving winner, his family, and the local First Bank team.
First Bank is proud to support this hometown hero and his dream.

In 2000, my husband and I moved into our home and it was perfect. The bedrooms were upstairs so the mess and clutter would be hidden and the living space was all downstairs. Fast forward to 2004, and our youngest daughter was born. Around a year old we started to notice that something was not right, she was not hitting milestones like her sister.

A month after her third birthday Jamie was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). SMA involves the loss of nerve cells called motor neurons in the spinal cord, which results in the atrophy in Jamie’s muscles. Jamie has been in a wheelchair since she was 5 years old full time.

Our house has now become Jamie’s biggest obstacle in her independence. Our dream is to add a handicap bathroom and bedroom downstairs for Jamie. Jamie is the most independent kid in the world, but is currently unable to wash her hands in her own home without assistance. We have been able to work through about half the funding, but the remaining has been a struggle.

- Jessica Adams on behalf of Jamie Adams
With some careful planning, the First Bank team surprised Jamie at their home on a mild winter day in Washington, NC.
Jamie and her sister react to the surprise. They initially thought their neighbors were having a party.
Jamie learns that her mom entered the family in the Dream It, Do It contest to make her dream of an accessible home a reality.
The happy First Bank team holds the big check and balloons.
Jamie took the surprise and the news with grace and a good sense of humor.
The winner, her family, and the local First Bank team.
First Bank is proud to support this wonderful family and their dream.

Fall 2017 Winners

Bryan Bennett
Bryan Bennett Home for a hero
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My brother is 32 years old and has been a firefighter since he was a junior in high school. He volunteered for 10 years and was then promoted to paid staff, and he’s now Assistant Chief for Howe Springs Fire Department.

His passion for the fire service is apparent. He consistently works a full week, and still runs calls after hours, and on the weekends he helps with events and training. In addition to his responsibilities as a firefighter, he has not just participated, but organized and managed numerous fund raisers and donations for various individuals in need around the Florence community. This past year he organized a golf tournament and a charity ride to benefit injured firefighter/paramedic, Tessie Smith. During Hurricane Matthew he worked 72 hours straight rescuing/evacuating people, and then after the hurricane he gathered donations and delivered the collections to the Nichols community.

My brother works so hard and gives so much to our community, but because of the limited salaries of firefighters and his selfless contributions, he’s found it difficult to save enough money for a down payment on a home. He currently rents, and it’s his dream to marry his fiancé, Brittany, this December and buy a home. So when I saw a brochure in my local First Bank branch, promoting a contest to make dreams happen, I immediately thought of my brother. I would love to see First Bank make the dreams of this firefighter come true. I can assure you there is no one more deserving than this local hometown hero.

On a sunny day in Florence, SC, friends and family members waited with balloons, a big check, and smiles to surprise Bryan and Brittany Bennett with the news that they had been chosen as one of the Dream It, Do It winners.
Here John Long, First Bank regional executive, congratulates Bryan during the surprise.
Bryan had been nominated for the prize by his sister, Mandy.
Bryan and Brittany, recently married in early December, will use the funds to help set up their new home, purchased the same week as their wedding.
The very deserving winner, his family, and the local First Bank team.
First Bank is proud to support this hometown hero and his dream.
Jamie Adams
Jamie Adams Quality of life renovations
Slideshow IconSee the reveal

In 2000, my husband and I moved into our home and it was perfect. The bedrooms were upstairs so the mess and clutter would be hidden and the living space was all downstairs. Fast forward to 2004, and our youngest daughter was born. Around a year old we started to notice that something was not right, she was not hitting milestones like her sister.

A month after her third birthday Jamie was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). SMA involves the loss of nerve cells called motor neurons in the spinal cord, which results in the atrophy in Jamie’s muscles. Jamie has been in a wheelchair since she was 5 years old full time.

Our house has now become Jamie’s biggest obstacle in her independence. Our dream is to add a handicap bathroom and bedroom downstairs for Jamie. Jamie is the most independent kid in the world, but is currently unable to wash her hands in her own home without assistance. We have been able to work through about half the funding, but the remaining has been a struggle.

With some careful planning, the First Bank team surprised Jamie at their home on a mild winter day in Washington, NC.
Jamie and her sister react to the surprise. They initially thought their neighbors were having a party.
Jamie learns that her mom entered the family in the Dream It, Do It contest to make her dream of an accessible home a reality.
The happy First Bank team holds the big check and balloons.
Jamie took the surprise and the news with grace and a good sense of humor.
The winner, her family, and the local First Bank team.
First Bank is proud to support this wonderful family and their dream.

Summer 2017 Winners

Anita Autry
Anita Autry A Canine Helper for My Son
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We are a small family of 3 which contains a special child, our son, Anton Jr. The county we currently reside in is Bladen County. Bladen County does not offer any assistance for individuals with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). Our son was diagnosed with ASD in September 2013, not to mention other disorders he has.

Anton Jr. is 10 years old and is very intelligent with technology devices. He communicates with others by typing but when talking to us he whispers quietly. Public outings are not good; every day is a challenge. 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 (light/sound). He cannot sleep without either one of us being beside him.

My dream is to use the funds for the purchase of a service dog. They will provide our child the support and emotional security he truly needs. An Autism Service Dog will provide substantial support for everyday living. The service dog will offer comfort from the anxiety and coping with life issues that affects him significantly.

The gift of receiving these funds for our son will mean so much to our him (Anton Autry, Jr.) and us. Words cannot fully express our gratitude in being able to obtain a godly act of kindness. Thank you for providing the possibility of making this dream a reality.

Silverio Herrera
Silverio Herrera Achieving the American Dream
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My husband is the hardest worker I know. Originally from Mexico, he has worked hard to learn the skill of laying concrete for the last 11 years. He works 70-80 hours a week in the hot sun, often without a lunch break as he is so busy. After getting his residency several years back, his dream was to own his own concrete company. We were on the way to making that dream a reality when our then 20‑month old son was diagnosed with cancer.

Through 3 1/2 years of treatment, and now 2 years after treatment, my husband has worked tirelessly to pay for medical bills, traveling to specialists and supporting our family. He has obtained insurance for business and does side work for homeowners on the side on the weekend just so I can stay home and take my son to the myriad of medical appointments he has as he now has severe Intractable Epilepsy from his chemo treatments.

Slowly my husband has started saving again to launch his own company. He wants to be his own boss and bring in more income so he can make sure that we are always secure and I can continue to stay home with our 6 year old son and 5 year old daughter to just concentrate on them and their health. The biggest obstacle he faces is buying heavy equipment to be able to contract out his services. Specifically a Skid Steer. We have some money saved, yet in need of more to be able to buy a quality used Skid Steer which is pertinent to a business in concrete. A grant of 10K to help be able to purchase a Skid Steer would ensure that he could finally begin to contract out his services, make a higher income, and ultimately spend more time with his family.

He came here for the American Dream so many years ago, and he is determined to obtain that dream, along with the dream of getting his Citizenship soon. He is proud to be able to pursue that dream with hard work and optimism, and show our children, especially our son, that no matter what happens in life, if you work hard you will prosper. Thank you for the opportunity to help my husband make his dream...OUR dream a reality!