People and Places: Lions present awards

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 12, 2007

The Salisbury Lions Club held its 64th annual Man/Woman/Lion of the Year Awards Banquet at the Holiday Inn on Jan. 11. This annual ceremony recognizes a member of the club who has contributed significantly to the club’s motto of “We Serve,” and a man or woman of the community who has made a lasting impact upon the betterment of fellow citizens.

Guest speaker was Harvey F. Whitley, past president of the North Carolina Lions Foundation. Don Conner, previous Lion of the Year, introduced his successor, Lion Richard Smith.

A native of Youngstown, Ohio, he attended Springfield High School, where he was an outstanding athlete in football, basketball and track. He was voted “Mr. Springfield” his senior year by his classmates.

In 2006, he was inducted into his high school’s inaugural sports Hall of Fame. After high school, he attended college at Western Reserve in Cleveland on a football scholarship. His career took him from Ohio to North Carolina to Arkansas and then back to North Carolina.

In all of these places, he was actively involved in community projects. He joined the Salisbury Lions Club in November 2003. He has twice served on the club’s Man/Woman/Lion of the Year committee, chaired the programs committee and subcommittees, chaired the Camp Dogwood committee, which raises funds to support the North Carolina Lions Foundation camp for the blind and visually impaired, and chaired the club’s Visually Impaired Persons committee.

He has been an avid supporter of the local chapter of the American Red Cross and has been actively involved with Red Cross teams sent to natural disaster areas. He was married to the late Jean Kurbin from 1963 until her death in 2005. They had two sons, David and Brent, and four grandchildren.

Wilson L. Smith, last year’s recipient of the Man of the Year award, introduced the Man of the Year, Jim B. Foltz. Foltz retired Nov. 30, having served as the Director of Rowan County Parks and Recreation since its inception in 1970. He was instrumental in developing Dan Nicholas Park, Ellis Park, Sloan Park, Bakers Creek Park, Eagle Point and the newly established Dunn’s Mountain Nature and History Preserve, which are among the finest parks in North Carolina.

His unique style in fundraising and a vision for parks marked him as a true parks and recreational professional and earned him the nickname of “Gimmie Jimmie.” His vision, salesmanship and dedication generated, through budgeted funds and private donations, money to enable the acquisition of three miniature trains, the Hurley Station and Hurley Carousel, gem mine, picnic shelters, playgrounds, a splash pad, aquarium, historic tree trail, wildfire adventures, a calliope and the replacing of the petting barn that burned in March 2006. His 36 years of service have been devoted to improving the quality of recreation for residents of Rowan County.

His community service has resulted in his receiving the Spencer Jaycees Distinguished Service Award, the Franklin Ellis Lions Club Man of the Year Award, the Region VII Parks and Recreation Special Services Award, and the North Carolina Recreation & Park Society Meritorious Service award (twice). He has been recognized by the Salisbury Rowan Chamber of Commerce for his service and has been a member of the N.C. Athletic Officials Association for basketball and football, the Spencer Recreation Commission and the Rowan Salisbury Merchants Association. He organized, established and coached Little League basketball and baseball teams, had eight sponsored basketball teams, is a lifetime member of the Spencer Jaycees and a board member of the Rowan County Fair Association.

A graduate of Spencer High School, he attended Catawba College and served in the Navy during the Korean War. He worked 15 years as a printer at the Salisbury Post, and is a member of Central Methodist Church in Spencer. He is married to Gail Mullis Foltz, has three daughters, Cheryl Grubb, Tammy Brown, and Wendy Peeler; a stepdaughter, Sherry; a stepson, Todd Shuping; and eight grandchildren.

Holiday fundraiser

The third-annual Holiday Wine Tasting was held Dec. 21 at the King George Pub. The event is hosted by Lee Piper, King George owner, and Daryl and Tammie Casper, longtime Salisbury residents, and is held each year to benefit a nonprofit organization. Recipients have included The Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and Rowan Helping Ministries. This year’s recipient was Salisbury/ Rowan PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays).

The event is getting bigger each year, with about 75-80 people attending this year. This comedic “spoof” on wine tasting is done using inexpensive wines with names that fit the theme and trays of hors d’oeuvres, like Spam and Cheese Doodles. This year’s theme was “Have a Happy Elvis Christmas.” Casper dressed as an awful Elvis and served wines with names like “Blue Hawaii” and “Hound Dog” and “Fat Boy.”

PFLAG chapter president Mike Clawson thanked the Caspers and the attendees for their generosity. The nearly $1,000 raised would be used for education and advocacy opportunities in the community.

David Garling, PFLAG social events coordinator, introduced the acting troupe RoBoJo, which performed several Christmas skits.