Carthage Rotarians celebrated three “Citizens of the Year” Monday at a banquet in their honor. Guests enjoyed entertainment and dinner from Jordan’s Barbecue, while proceeds from the $20 admission went to scholarships for this year’s graduates at Union Pines and North Moore high schools. Music was provided by the Union Pines Jazz Band.
The Citizens of the Year Scholarship Banquet in the Moore County Agricultural Building is part of the club’s longstanding tradition of recognizing members of the community who give of their time and abilities to help others. For many years the county seat’s club has used this annual awards banquet to raise scholarship money for students at two upper county high schools: North Moore and Union Pines. A walnut plaque hanging on a wall at the McDonald Building where club and town commissioners hold their regular meetings is nearly filled with gold plates bearing the names of people the club has honored over the years.
“This event is one of our most prestigious events and it is a highlight for our club,” said Rotary’s Rose Cooper — formerly principal of Carthage Elementary and now principal of Crain’s Creek — as she welcomed those attending. “We put our name on the event to recognize local citizens who give back to the community and live up to our motto ‘Service Above Self.’ It helps us raise money for our scholarship fund.”
The club will award five scholarships this year, three to graduates of Union Pines and two to North Moore High School graduates.
After Union Pines JROTC cadets posted the colors, Cooper’s daughter Summer Hennings sang “The Star-spangled Banner.” Club president Junior Ward offered the invocation. Mary Rush, music director of Cameron Presbyterian Church then accompanied Hennings as she offered a number of songs including “Try to Remember” and “Edelweiss” ending with a surprise selection she asked everyone to join in singing.
“Today is my mother’s birthday,” she said, and everybody sang the traditional “Happy Birthday” for Cooper.
The Annual Citizens of the Year Banquet honors community members who have exemplified the Rotary motto through their dedication, time, and lifetime support of members of their community. The 2011 recipients were Portia Cummings of Vass, Arthur Harold “Rocky” Davis, Jr. of Robbins, and George H. Wilson, Jr. of Carthage.
Friends of the three Citizens of the Year paid tribute to those being honored as each was introduced and given a plaque.
The first recipient, Cummings, is a charter member and current vice-chairman of the Vass Area Library Board, president of the Vass Rescue Auxiliary, member of The Woodlake Woman’s Club, the Moore County Chamber of Commerce, the Lions Club, and an active member of New Home Baptist Church as well as a dedicated wife, mother and grandmother. Her two daughters, Angela Thompson and Crystal Martin presented her.
Next came Davis, presented by Bobby Teague who told of wondering how this man had managed to do all the things he’d done in so short a time. They’d met when the town of Southern Pines hired him several years ago. Davis holds a master’s degree in public administration and is presently a commissioner on the town board of Robbins and works as Public Works Administrator of the Town of Carthage.
“The Carthage Rotary Club has chosen Hal ‘Rocky’ Davis as our Citizen of the Year for Northern Moore County for his service/career in the military, his career as a fire fighter, for his service on the Robbins Town Board of Commissioners, and for his involvement in the local community,” said Vice-President Neil Wolfe. “Rocky was a little taken back by the nomination and was not that excited about the recognition, but he was willing to accept it in order to help raise money for college scholarships.”
The town board of Robbins changed its advertised public hearing on water and sewer proposals to the following day, May 24, in order for commissioners to be able to attend the banquet honoring one of their own.
Wilson, retired from the U.S. Air Force, is a former Pilot single-copy sales manager now in the insurance business who works with students as well. Wilson served as chair of the Moore County Democratic Party, served in many public service areas in the county, and for years has been an active leader in Carthage’s John Hall Presbyterian Church.
Longtime friend Clifton H. Frye presented Wilson and entertained the assembly with anecdotes of their half century of friendship.
Cooper hopes people realize the purpose served by the banquet and that many will attend every year.
“If we want to continue to ask our community to support us, we need to be frontrunners in the community making a difference with our actions,” Cooper said. “This effort supports our local students who are going to college.”
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