Blowing Rock, NC, USA
Blowing Rock History 1947-2006
Blowing Rock is a small resort village in the northern mountains of North Carolina. Like a tiny gem set in the hillside, it is beautiful and precious. The Rotary Club of Blowing Rock has acted like a diamond cutter accentuating the best characteristics of the village so that it reflects the richness of its natural beauty. Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2006, the Rotary Club of Blowing Rock has impacted local life and times and improved the lives of people worldwide through its contributions to the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International. The club was organized on August 30, 1946, with the permanent charter granted on September 28, 1946. Rotary District Governor Holt McPherson presented the charter at the Inaugural Dinner on Friday, November 8, 1946, at the Wagon Wheel Restaurant. W. B. (Bill) Austin, President of the sponsoring Rotary Club of West Jefferson, was Master of Ceremonies that evening, while the Reverend Walter K. Keys, President of the newly formed club, accepted the charter. Below is a listing of organizations that have benefited from the time and talents of Rotary members.
American Legion Post 256 Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show Hospitality House Hunger Coalition Blowing Rock Community Arts Center International Quest for Peace Blowing Rock Fire Department International Student Exchange Blowing Rock Hospital Kiwanis Food Bank Blowing Rock Little League Blowing Rock Police Department Landship House Lewis Rathburn Wellness Center Blowing Rock Rescue Squad Little Samaritan Mission Orphanage, Blowing Rock School Chishinau, Republic of Moldova Blowing Rock Stage Company OASIS Battered Women’s Shelter Boy Scouts of America Rotary International Foundation Bryan Ayers Memorial Art Show Rotary World-Wide Polio-Plus Camp Sky Ranch Rotary Youth Leadership Camp Chan Gordon Scholarship Fund Coins for Alzheimer’s Research Trust Eastern North Carolina Flood Relief ShelterBox USA Watauga Bar Association/Blowing Rock Rotary Scholarship Girl Scouts of America Glen-Burnie Trail Watauga Education Foundation Watauga Heart Fund Grandfather Home for Children Gulf Coast Hurricane Relief Watauga High School High Country United Way Habitat for Humanity High Country Conservancy Western Carolina Center The Wheelchair Foundation
Three significant projects reflect Rotary influence:
A Village Tapestry-The History of Blowing Rock
This project began in early 1987 when the groundwork was laid for a fundraising effort to produce a book depicting the history of the village of Blowing Rock. The village was approaching its centennial and the book would serve as a lasting tribute to those pioneer families who contributed to the town’s growth and development for its first 100 years. A Village Tapestry, written by Dr. Harry Buxton, was officially released on March 11,1989, 100 years to the day after the community was actually chartered by the North Carolina Legislature. Continuing sales of the book provide funds for park maintenance.
Broyhill Park & Annie Cannon Memorial Park
The second project was tied to the first in that the proceeds from the sale of A Village Tapestry would provide financing to improve a swampy area known as Mayview Lake. The area held potential to be a lovely place in the heart of the village. The project expanded significantly as members of Rotary and other key individuals pledged their support and set out to acquire additional funding. Through donations from the Broyhill Family Foundation, the Forsyth-Reynolds Foundation, local and summer residents, and friends of the community, the original goal of $10,000 expanded until over one-half million dollars was raised by the committee headed by Bob Gibson. Engineers were called in not just to clean up the swamp, but also to plan a series of parks. Residents and visitors stroll in the public spaces and attend concerts and special events there.
The Rotary Pavilion
The third project began five years after the completion of the first two, as the Rotary Club of Blowing Rock set out to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Rotary entered into an agreement with the town to accomplish a goal that was an extension of the first and second projects. Members of Rotary saw the need to provide a covered picnic shelter at the local ball field to accommodate approximately 100 people. Fundraising began, and a dedication ceremony for the completed structure was held in August 1996 at the Rotary Pavilion, located next to the Davant Athletic Field. The Rotary Club of Blowing Rock continues to extend the landscaping near the pavilion.
An award was given by the club for outstanding volunteer work on the Rotary Pavilion. Receiving this award in 1997 were
Robert B. (Bob) Gibson Fundraising Chairman Derald West Project Architect
To mark the Centennial Celebration of Rotary International, the Rotary Club of Blowing Rock built a performance arts stage in the Annie Cannon Memorial Park to be used by young performers, musicians, actors, dancers, etc. to put on performing arts events in the park during the summer.
To help provide relief for the Gulf Coast hit hard by two hurricanes in late 2005, the club provided over $8,000 in relief cash, supplies, and in support of several groups of local citizens and Rotarians who went to the disaster site to provide clean up and rebuilding support for the hard-pressed residents. Additionally, the club purchased three ShelterBoxes, which are 20 person tents with associated cooking and sleeping gear. Two of these ShelterBoxes were provided to the Gulf Coast and one was sent to Afghanistan to provide emergency shelter for the victims of the earthquake of November 2005.
The club collected 215 boxes of used computers, printers, keyboards, monitors, and mice, packed the electronic items and shipped them to Uruguay to be provided to the school systems within Uruguay.
Using club, Rotary District, and Rotary International Grant funding, the club provided a fully equipped diesel powered ambulance to support a charity hospital in Uruguay.
The club is currently providing funding and support to a charity dental clinic in Belize City, Belize. The club members have purchased dental equipment including new chairs, sterilizers, dental instruments, and specialized lighting for the clinic. In November 2006, volunteer Rotarians will go to Belize and perform repairs and improvements on the physical facilities of the clinic with the help and cooperation of the Belize City Rotary Club members.
Members of the Rotary Club of Blowing Rock are heavily involved in local projects. They conduct and donate in two annual blood drives with the American Red Cross. They are seen along highways and streets of the community each year in orange vests, picking up trash and debris in support of the village “Cleanup Day”. In red aprons, they are seen ringing a bell for the Salvation Army’s Christmas collection kettle. They are part of the charm of our small village as they march in the Fourth of July and the Christmas parades. They have been seen driving nails and applying paint on new houses for Habitat for Humanity. They donate used cell phones, food, and funds far beyond the amount budgeted by the club to aid the homeless shelter, the battered women’s shelter, and the Hunger Coalition food warehouse. They collect used eyeglasses for the LensCrafters Foundation where the glasses are cleaned, repaired, and then delivered to third world countries where the poor citizens get free eye exams and then are provided with free eyeglasses. Local Rotarians tutor in the elementary school, serve local theater arts, town planning and zoning boards, and Town Council. The Town Manager is a Rotarian, as are the present and former mayors.
During the Rotary Year 2005-2006, the Rotary Club was selected by District 7670 to receive the Outstanding Medium-sized Club in the District. This award represented a significant achievement for the club to be named one out of 49 clubs. The award was presented to recognize the hard work and extraordinary efforts put forth by the members of the club in the four avenues of service, Club Service; Community Service; Vocational Service; and International Service.
The Rotary Club of Blowing Rock is a tight-knit, dynamic, friendly, successful, and dedicated club and a real asset to the community, the area, and to the world in its charity work in these areas. The members have fun, enjoy the social activities of the club, and also, work very hard in charitable endeavors that have a significant impact well beyond the community.
In the early years of the club until the 1970’s, meetings were held in the evenings at various restaurants, many of which were open only during the summer months. For a number of years Rotary met at the historic Green Park Inn. Currently the club meets Monday at noon at Chetola Resort and Conference Center.
Rotary Roster Currently the Rotary Club of Blowing Rock includes 82 active and 6 honorary Rotarians. During the summer months weekly attendance can increase as much as 50% with the arrival of summer residents and visitors enjoying make-up meetings. Generous summer residents support and participate in seasonal activities of the Blowing Rock club.
ROTARY INTERNATIONAL AND DISTRICT OFFICERS
Blowing Rock Rotarians who have served Rotary at District levels above the local club include:
William Burke - District Governor, District 699 (Ft. Lauderdale), 1966-67 James D. West - Lt./Assist. Governor, Area VI, District 7670, 2000-2003 Jonathan M. Jones - Assist. Governor, District 6890 (Sebring FL) 1999-2000 William F. Leahey - Assist. Governor, Area VI, District 7670, 2003-04 Al Wheeler – Assist. Governor, Area VI, District 7670, 2006-2007
A list of Presidents of the Rotary Club of Blowing Rock since 1946 reads like a “Who’s Who” of outstanding individuals in the community life of Blowing Rock:
1946-47 Rev. Walter Keys 1977-78 John Mallory 1947-48 Rev. Walter Keys 1978-79 George Kinnard 1948-49 Grover Robbins. Sr. 1979-80 Lewington Ponder 1949-50 John Lyon 1980-81 Roland Pruess 1950-51 Orren Stone 1981-82 H. Lisle Snyder 1951-52 Robert Hardin 1982-83 Edward Curtis 1952-53 William Fulton 1983-84 Samuel T. Morgan 1953-54 Charles Williams 1984-85 Rev. Kenneth Clapp 1954-55 Rathmell Wilson 1985-86 James White 1955-56 Rev. Walter Keys 1986-87 William Burke 1956-57 Howard Holshouser, Jr. 1987-88 Robert Gibson 1957-58 John Goodwin 1988-89 Robert Whatley 1958-59 Harry Robbins 1989-90 Christopher May 1959-60 Joel McCurry 1990-91 David Greene 1960-61 Everett Widener, Jr. 1991-92 Francis Slattery 1961-62 Tom Shelton 1992-93 Derald M. West 1962-63 Council Cooke 1993-94 Eric W. Johnson 1963-64 Rev. Blake Brinkerhoff 1994-95 Cobb Milner, Jr. 1964-65 John Goodwin 1995-96 Louis Weischedel 1965-66 Merlin Clubine 1996-97 James D. West 1966-67 Rev. George Hyler, Sr. 1997-98 Rodney Clark 1967-68 Walton Allen 1998-99 Dorothy Durand 1968-69 Leon Stacks 1999-2000 Orian Carter 1969-70 Alvin R. Keppel 2000-01 Frank Fary, Jr. 1970-71 Joel McCurry 2001-02 Bill Leahey 1971-72 William E. Cox 2002-03 Kim Rogers 1972-73 Hovey Scoggins 2003-04 Virginia Vanstory 1973-74 Rufus E. Hallmark 2004-05 Al Wheeler 1974-75 James Marsh, Jr. 2005-06 Bill Parker 1975-76 Reggie High 2006-07 John Calvin 1976-77 John Troxler
COMMUNITY AND CLUB AWARDS Over the years, the Rotary Club of Blowing Rock has presented distinctive community and club awards to outstanding individuals who were recognized for meritorious service. Citizen of the Year Rotarian of the Year Employee of the Year 1975 Francis Alfele 1976 Lena Reeves 1977 Charles Tarr 1978 William Craig 1979 Muriel Kiser 1980 Betty Pitts 1981 William Koerschner 1982 Carol Rapp Hovey Scoggins 1983 Walton Allen Charles Tarr 1984 Hayden Pitts Charles Marcotte 1985 Jerry Burns John Faubion 1986 Sidney Greene Robert Olson 1987 Caroline Abernethy Lisle Snyder 1988 Charles Davant, Jr. Sanford Lee Judith Burns 1989 Hovey Scoggins Robert Gibson 1990 Robert Gibson William J. Burke Mary Smith 1991 Douglas Townsend Derald West Timothy Knight 1992 Larry Hampton Robert Gibson Tim Gregg 1993 William J. Burke Charles Sizer, Sr. John Lentz & Robert Lopel 1994 Joyce Alexander Louis Weischedel & Frank Slattery 1995 Roachel Laney James D. West 1996 Susie Greene Eric Johnson 1997 Margaret Morris Rotarians for past 50 yrs. 1998 J. B. Lawrence Lisle Snyder Mary Lentz 1999 Paul Peterson Rodney Clark 2000 2001 Kim Johnson Ginny Stevens James D. West Virginia Vanstory 2002 2003 Ron Oberle Bill Parker Mark Klein David Rogers 2004 2005 Betty Howe Lois Young John Calvin Bill Leahey 2006 Dr Lynn George Ann K Williams
As we look back to the great men and women who have shaped the history of our world through Rotary, we affirm our commitment to the future of our community, to Watauga County, to our Rotary district and the world. “Service Above Self” is not just a motto but also an attitude that continues to have far-reaching effects.
Written by Bob Gibson, Jim West, Bill Parker, Alice Salthouse, Virginia Vanstory 2003 Centennial History Project Chairman-- Alice Salthouse