Hal Hyde Receives Cornerstone Award
The Rev. Hal Hyde Jr. received the Cornerstone Award, the United Way of Moore County's highest distinction, along with some friendly teasing Thursday night.
Hyde served as pastor at Brownson Memorial Presbyter-ian Church in Southern Pines for 20 years until his retirement in 1993. He has remained very active with a long list of nonprofit organizations, including the United Way.
Linda Pearson, executive director of the United Way of Moore County, presented the award to Hyde during the toast-and-roast banquet at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club.
"The United Way of Moore County designated Harold 'Hal' Hyde as the cornerstone of the community for his commitment to community service, leadership, creativity, inspiration, and impact on others in the community," she said.
Hyde was quick to share the credit, insisting he was accepting the award on behalf of the rest of the community.
"I accept this award graciously and humbly on behalf of those in this audience who with heart, hand and voice have joined me in making Southern Pines a better community and a safer place for all people," he said. "We still have a lot to do. It's a challenge. I will certainly cherish this all my life."
Hyde said he could not have done all of the work by himself. He told members of the audience that he has always had his wife of 47 years, Betsy, at his side. He praised his four children, who he said were "four of the most wonderful kids anyone could ever have."
He also challenged members of the audience to keep up the important work they have been doing in the community.
"I pray that you will continue to do what needs to be done in this community to make it a better place for all people to live and enjoy life and reach their human potential," he said.
As is customary at the Cornerstone banquet, the honoree must endure some good-natured ribbing.
Former Southern Pines Mayor Mike Fields served as the emcee, and roasters included Dr. David Bruton and Peggy Kirk Bell, Pine Needles owner and women's golfing legend who is a previous Cornerstone recipient.
Hyde's golf game was a popular target.
"[Hyde] used to hit the ball so long and wide and everywhere," Bell said, "that he'd just stay out there and grip it tighter and hit it worse and stay and hit it again and hit it again.
"He practically wore the range out. And didn't really get any better."
Fields joked that Hyde was one of Bell's "failures" as a golf instructor.
"For those of you who may not know, Mrs. Bell is one of the Top 50 instructors in the world," he said. "And I'm just wondering if she only keeps that ranking because she's never let anyone interview Hal."
Two of Hyde's children, daughter Sally Hyde Mueller and son Ted, spoke about their father. Mueller and her three children gave a presentation on Hyde's life and presented him with a key.
"Many people being honored get keys to the city, but our friend, husband, dad, and 'papa' deserves a key to all our hearts," Mueller said
Ted Hyde spoke about seven "leadership ingredients" that his father possessed and how he tried to instill those values in the countless people he has touched.
"Hal Hyde, my dad, has been an outstanding and awesome steward of executing and teaching these leadership principles with anyone he comes in contact with, including myself," he said.
The United Way presents the Cornerstone of the Community Award annually to an individual "who has demonstrated extraordinary commitment, creativity, leadership, volunteerism, inspiration and sustained service with broad scope of impact on the quality of life in the community," according to a press release.
Hyde is the sixth recipient of the Cornerstone Award. Past winners include Dr. John Dempsey, president of Sandhills Community College; Bell; Felton Capel, businessman and entrepreneur; Charles Frock, CEO of FirstHealth of the Carolinas; and David Woronoff, publisher of The Pilot.
Hyde said that he has no plans of slowing down any time soon.
"My daddy always said don't ever retire to nothing, but retire to something," he said. "But I tell you I'm retiring to continue to do the work of this community."
Contact John Krahnert III at 693-2473 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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