Raleigh man gets national volunteer award

Posted April 22, 2012
Updated April 23, 2012

— A Raleigh man who helped rebuild a tornado-shattered neighborhood last year and has assisted in the searches of two missing local women since 2006 will receive a national award for his volunteer work next month.

Al Mignacci, a 74-year-old IBM retiree, will be awarded the 2012 Phoenix Award for Outstanding Contributions to Disaster Recovery by a Volunteer by the U.S. Small Business Administration on May 21 in Washington, D.C.

When a tornado plowed through a mobile home park in Raleigh last April, Mignacci helped to pick up the pieces.

"That little old guy, he started to move around so swiftly, so fast," said tornado victim Larry Omeir. "He's a hero."

Mignacci said he is motivated simply to help people in need, no matter what the circumstances.

"Whether it's searching for a missing person or helping someone along the side of the road with a broken tire, it doesn't matter to me," Mignacci said.

Al Mignacci Raleigh volunteer honored for tornado recovery

He coordinated many of the volunteer search efforts in 2008 for Kelly Morris, a mother of two who went missing in Granville County. Morris' remains were later found and her husband was charged with her murder.

Two years earlier, he helped authorities during a 10-month search for Michelle Bullard, who was kidnapped at gunpoint from a Broadway home. Her remains were eventually found in Cumberland County.

Even though he didn't know either woman or their families, Mignacci said he felt drawn to help their loved ones find closure.

Receiving the Phoenix Award, he said, is an honor.

"To be recognized like that, it's unbelievable," he said.


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  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Apr 23, 2012

    Congratulation to him and God bless him continually.

  • therealsillyauntdi Apr 23, 2012

    Congrats to you Al! What a great example of the volunteer spirit :) Sending a virtual standing ovation.

  • Mom on Call Apr 23, 2012

    Way to go Al! you are a true inspiration to us all. THANK YOU for all that you have done and all that you will do. I know you will never stop doing good.

  • puzzled Apr 23, 2012

    Good man! Great story WRAL. I wish all news could be like this. If we all strived to be the good person that he is there would be no bad news. Thank you Al for all your efforts and what a blessing you must have been to so many people. May you continue to be blessed with good health and the ability to keep on keeping on!

  • tiredofgovtwaste Apr 23, 2012

    "THANK YOU" AL - if we could only get others to follow your example. What an inspiration!!

  • Dadof4girls Apr 23, 2012

    Fantastic. Thank you!

    We need more people like Al and less people shooting, stealing and abusing their power

  • Just the facts mam Apr 23, 2012

    Great story! Congratulations to him on his award!!!