More than a volunteer, Pryor is a driving force at the Frankie Lemmon School and Foundation
by Catherine Currin | photography by Eamon Queeney
Lee Pryor is more than just a volunteer. He’s been involved with the Frankie Lemmon School and Foundation, a Raleigh nonprofit supporting children with special needs, for over two decades. His interest began when he attended the first Triangle Wine Experience in 1996. TWE is Frankie Lemmon’s main fundraising event each year, complete with wine dinners throughout town and an auction gala. Last year alone, TWE raised $2 million dollars in just one weekend. “I’ve been involved ever since,” says Pryor. “A few neighbors and I decided to start volunteering and our involvement has accelerated over the years.” From taking over the auction inventory to joining the board of directors in 2016, Pryor has made it his mission for the foundation and the school to succeed. “I can see where my effort and money is going in front of my eyes,” he says.
Pryor is an immeasurable asset to the team of dedicated volunteers at Frankie Lemmon. Director of marketing Mary Carey says that Pryor and his team make TWE happen. “Lee and his group are here every day, including weekends, from December 1 until the gala February 2. They have been with us for decades and are passionate, smart, dedicated, and every other positive word you can think of. I know the story of their work will inspire others to become tireless advocates for important causes.”
As Pryor gears up for the 2019 auction and gala, he says that the families are the driving force behind his devotion to the cause. “Frankie Lemmon is not just about helping the children, but the parents that have been blessed with a child with special needs. I can see my time and effort in the smiles of the children that we’re helping, and the parents.” Pryor also volunteered his time and skills from his contracting background to facilitate the renovation of the new school on New Bern Avenue. Since relocating from Hayes Barton Baptist Church in Five Points, the school has almost tripled its student body. His hard work and evident affection for the organization certainly does not go unnoticed. Frankie Lemmon chief friendship officer Lenora Evans says there’s never a task too daunting for Pryor. “If we didn’t know Lee was a Colonel, we’d guess. So, he’s a big deal to our country and he’s a real big deal to us, especially the staff, children, and families of Frankie Lemmon School. There is NO job he refuses to do, nor any ask he will not make. If the children need it, it will be done. Lee Pryor is our American Hero!”