By David Rogers. June 25, 2018. BLOWING ROCK, NC — No one was surprised when the 2018 Blowing Rock “Citizen of the Year” was announced by The Rotary Club of Blowing Rock 2017-18 club president, Chuck Canady. Nobody, that is, except the winner — and that in itself was fitting.
An understated gentleman who quietly goes about his business in every one of the many things and organizations he touches, Jim Clabough told Blowing Rock News, “I really was surprised. I had no idea.”
Canady began his introduction by saying that the person recognized was a former Blowing Rock Rotary club president. Well, that narrowed it down to about 15 of the estimated 110 people in the Evergreen Room at Chetola Mountain Resort, Monday evening’s host for the Rotary Annual Banquet, as numerous past presidents were in attendance.
And that was about the limit of Canady’s suspense.
“It became clear to me,” Clabough explained to Blowing Rock News later about the moment when realization set in, “as soon as Chuck started naming some of my current roles with various organizations.”
Some of those roles include:
- serving as a key catalyst in the redevelopment of the Memorial Park Gazebo, which hosts several events each year including Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies, as well as various musical concerts
- current president of the Blowing Rock Village Foundation, including a proactive role in the construction of the Mayview beautification project connecting Laurel Lane from Wallingford St. to Main St
- serving as board member of the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show Foundation, an estimated $8 million economic driver each year to Blowing Rock and the High Country
- active in the lay leadership of Blowing Rock’s Rumple Memorial Presbyterian Church
- the current treasurer of the Blowing Rock Historical Society
- serving as host to the Rotary club’s International Exchange Students for several years
Among other awards and recognitions during an evening that celebrated Blowing Rock Rotary’s many accomplishments and service to the community, highlights included:
- Greg Davis was named Rotarian of the Year, having served as club secretary, been very active in all aspects of the club and its programming, and newly elected Vice President.
- Former club president, as well as former Rotarian of the Year John Calvin received a Distinguished Service Award for his leadership of the Rotary Charity Auction, which last year raised a record $32,000+ for the club’s charitable causes, including college scholarships.
- A President’s Award to Joe Dyer, who serves as chair for the Vocational “Avenue of Service.” In that role, Dyer leads the club’s efforts in such things at “Career Day,” which brings all Watauga County 7th graders to the Holmes Center to learn about vocational opportunities that might not require a college degree, and The Dictionary Project, which puts a dictionary or thesaurus into the hands of all Watauga County public school students at specific grade levels
The Rotary Club of Blowing Rock is part of Rotary International District 7670. Past club president, as well as past District Governor Bill Parker was on hand to install incoming club president Ken Wehrmann. Parker pointed out to the Rotarians and their guests that the best thing about Rotary is that everyone is a volunteer. Nobody gets paid. Then he asked, rhetorically, “And what is the worst thing about Rotary? Well, nobody gets paid. Everyone is a volunteer.”
Putting volunteerism into perspective, just before swearing in Wehrmann as the new club president, Parker explained to the crowd that the club leadership needs to be “amazing” and “inspiring” in order for the club to succeed, especially a club with the expansive agenda of service activities pursued by the Blowing Rock club.
For his part, Wehrmann acknowledged the many in the audience who had gone before him as club president, implying that they left big shoes to fill. “With this club, I know I am not alone because this is a club full of leaders.”
Before the award presentations, Canady thanked the many club members who had assumed leadership roles, heading specific Avenues of Service or chaired committees.