Franke Awarded Elite Kiwanis Award
An evening of humor and good will characterized the annual Kiwanis Club of the Sandhills' Builders Cup awards dinner this week when the long-running group met to honor a local community motivator.
Joyce Franke of Pinehurst was the honoree for this year's award, held Monday evening at Belle Meade.
The award is presented each year to an individual in honor of their work at building community in the Sandhills. The Builders Cup is considered the club's most prestigious award.
Sandhills Community College President John Dempsey was the club's 2012 recipient.
Franke has served on various boards, including the Pinehurst Community Foundation, the Sandhills Hospice Foundation, the FirstHealth Board of Directors, and the Pinehurst Historic Preser-vation Foundation. She founded the Pinehurst Historic Preservation Found-ation and the Heritage Foundation, and "she originated the idea" of the Village Arboretum, Bruton said.
Using his trademark humor, Kiwanis Club member David Bruton made the presentation to award Franke.
"Our honoree came to the area in 1978, and in the ensuing 35 years she has participated in, and most times led, virtually all the good things that have happened in Pinehurst," Bruton said. "For you rich folks out there, I am warning you right now to stay clear of this woman. She will take your money."
Bruton said he was "following the traditional process" of not revealing the name of the Builders Cup winner until the last sentence of the presentation.
"It is a lot of fun watching the audience as they guess the one being honored by the facts being revealed," Bruton said. "This year that process will be very difficult because our recipient is so well-known and her accomplishments are so important for our community's future."
Bruton began the presentation by teasing his colleague and friend Norris Hodgkins, who was originally scheduled to make the presentation to honor Franke.
"Norrie Hodgkins was supposed to make tonight's Builders Cup presentation, but he declined, citing that he had a hot date that required his full attention," Bruton said to laughter from the assembly. Hodgkins, who sat with Franke and another Kiwanis member at the event, laughed as well.
"It is hard to determine where to begin the story (and) for that reason I am going to skip around," he said. "In 2002, inspired by Fredrick Law Olmsted's original plan for the heart of the village, our honoree led the transformation of the village dumping ground into a beautiful grass meadow. She 'conned' Larry Best of LandDesign Inc. into a pro bono design and project leadership creating the gardens. They moved more than 15,000 cubic yards of dirt to make a ridge, and they planted more than 130 native hardwoods and 2,500 longleaf seedlings along with 100 large shrubs and more than 500 large bulbs in the 35-acre complex.
"The North Carolina Symphony in 2006 performed in the meadow, and in 2010 more than 6,000 gathered in the gardens to hear Vince Gill in a live concert."
Bruton listed more of Franke's accomplishments, including the direction of a $2 million renovation of the Fair Barn "almost entirely with private money."
She also "teamed with our own John May," Bruton said, to co-chair the "Great Expectations" fundraising campaign to expand the Given Memorial Library and Tufts Archives with a goal of $8 million. The drive will begin in April.
In a previous interview Franke called the expansion project "the most exciting, most creative concept" proposed since she first moved to the area.
"It is a beautiful piece of architecture ... that will light up the whole village," she said.
Bruton introduced Franke to the audience as "Norrie Hodgkins' other hot date."
"I am extremely honored to be the Kiwanis Club Builders Cup winner for 2013," Franke said after the program. "This came as quite a surprise, and I am flattered to have been appreciated in this manner by such a fine group."
Franke said her motivation to get things accomplished comes from a love of the Pinehurst community combined with personal interests.
"I think it is always better to leave a place in better condition than when you arrived," she said. "My love of architecture and landscaping is the reason for much of my motivation, and I consider the reasons behind the 'Great Expectations' fundraiser to be among the most important things we can do for Pinehurst.
"A good library is the heart and soul of a community, and we need to come into the 21st century," she said. "Renovations to the library and the planned enhancements to the Village Green will really open up the center of town."
Bruton related one of what he called Franke's "guiding principles" for success.
"'You should only have what you are willing to pay for,'" he read. "Don't we all wish our government understood that basic fact? If the president and Congress would follow (that rule), we might accomplish things for our country like our Builders Cup recipient has for our community."
Bruton read Sam Ragan's poem "We Build," which he said "fit this occasion to a 'T'."
Contact John Lentz at (910) 693-2479 or jlentz@the pilot.com.
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