Meeting Report: August 8, 2016



Rob Mendell

Rob Mendell became a member of our club on July 6, 2015. Rob was sponsored by Jim Clabough. Rob and his wife Roey live in Blowing Rock, NC. Before retiring Rob was a Clinical Social Worker in Rochester, New York. Since retirement and moving to Blowing Rock Rob has been very busy. Beside serving as Sergeant at- Arms for our club, he volunteers at BRAHM, the Historical Society, the Library & the Middle Fork Greenway Task Force. When not volunteering Rob manages to slip in some time to play tennis, cycle, hike and snowshoe.




Jon C. Werner became a member of our club on April 4, 2016. Jon was sponsored by Chuck Canady. Jon grew up in Toledo, Ohio, and spent many hours on the Maumee River that runs through that area. Jon’s present wife, Lee, was a bridesmaid at his first wedding. After his first wife died in 2004, Jon had a business trip to where Lee lived and decided to contact her just to renew an acquaintance. She was available and they both decided they should partner together and they married and now live at 150 High Wray in Boone, NC. John retired after 44 years in the fabrication industry at Owens Corning Fiberglass. Jon is a certified instructor in the U.S. Rowing Club, enjoys golfing, fly fishing, building fly rods, reading and rowing. Jon majored in music at Kent State University. Jon was the 1st chair, French Horn player, in the Toledo Symphony orchestra and the Toledo Youth orchestra. He also likes to hunt for pheasants and is a Civil War history buff. Building fly rods is also a hobby & an enterprise. He is donating two rods to our auction.

Meeting Report: August 1, 2016



District Governor Gary Dills made his “official “ visit to our club this past Monday. During his remarks he praised our club for being generous in our contributions. Unlike some clubs he noted, our club fulfills the Foundation’s 100% per capita challenge every year. Founded in 1917, 100 years ago, by Arch C. Klumph with his contribution of $26.50, it has grown to over One Billion Dollars and during its’ 100 year span has contributed over 3 billion dollars to achieve world understanding and peace through international humanitarian, educational, and cultural exchange programs.

Grants fro the District are available. He encourage our club to apply for a grant which could amount to as much as $1,500.00.

He spoke of attendance and stated that while attendance is important, it is not nearly as important, in his opinion, as participation. Fellowship with other club members provides a wonderful avenue to grow our club. He mentioned a person in Illinois who had gone to a local club meeting and found it to be dull and meaningless and he wanted nothing to do with Rotary. Several years later this same person, encouraged by his boss to go to another meeting found them to be fun and challenging and three years after joining that club became their President. He noted parenthetically that Blowing Rock Rotary clearly is a fun loving club with participation by its members.

Governor Dills challenged our club to recognize various people who help in some way or another throughout the year by issuing them a certificate of appreciation. It might be the person at the office supply who does printing of certificates or a member of the waitstaff that does an outstanding job. These are opportunities to grow our club.

Get Rotaract involved with your club. Invite members of Rotaract to your board meetings.
The Young Leaders and District Conference will be held in Hickory April 28-30, 2017. We should invite young people, especially those in Rotaract to attend. There will be no cost for them to attend the Youth Conference.



Frank Fary, a R-85 member and former president of the club, was presented a pin for being a Paul Harris Fellow++ from Virginia Vanstory.  Frank who has not been a regular attender was greeted by several of the “old timers” in the club who knew him well, and introduced to several “new timers” who had never met Frank prior to Monday’s meeting. Congratulations Frank and please come back more often!




In 1997, the Rotary Club of Blowing Rock celebrated a half century of community service with the gift of a picnic pavilion to our town, to the citizens and to the many people who visit here. In 2014, the Rotary Club of Blowing Rock presented to the town the Gazebo in the downtown park. There have been so many other contribution this club has made to the community in the 70 years of existence that are too numerous to mention here. Suffice to say, our club is important to our town and to our community. Truly, Rotary Serving Humanity, is exemplified here!

Meeting Report: July 25, 2016



This may be a strange question to ask, but an interview with several college students revealed they know nothing about the Civil War. These same students knew all about movie stars and other celebrities, but could not tell the interviewer who is the Vice President of the United States and were clueless when asked simple historical questions about the Civil war. “Who is to blame?” asked Jon Werner. Teachers?, Parents?, Society? Probably all these had a hand in it according to Jon , the presenter at Monday’s meeting of the Blowing Rock Rotary Club.

According to Jon, himself a Civil War buff, the war began when the Confederates bombarded Union soldiers at Fort Sumter, South Carolina on April 12, 1861, and ended in spring of 1865. Robert E. Lee surrendered the last major Confederate army to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865.

Southerners are sometimes accused of continuing the war, the war of northern aggression, as many in the south call it even today. Jon said, “This horrendous conflict should never be forgotten, next to the revolution arguably the seminal event in American identity that has made us who we are today”.

Children should be taught how we nearly became fractured into two countries, and in fact were for nearly four years from April, 1861 to 1865. During those four years 620,000 to 750,000 (no one knows for sure) died.

Jon passed around two pieces of lead called the Minie ball, named after the French arms engineer, Captain Minie, who developed the ammunition. It was huge pieces of ballistic lead, 69 and 58 caliber, which were fitted with a measured amount of gunpow
der then tied to a bullet in a paper pouch. Accurate to 300 yards, this explosive caused extreme harm to whatever it contacted.

The 26th Regiment was organized in August of 1861 by Congressman Zebulon Baird Vance who commissioned himself Colonel and then resigned to become Governor of North Carolina. This regiment drew about 800 men from Ashe, Union, Wilkes, Wake, Chatham, Caldwell and Anson counties. Member Cullie Tarleton’s ancestor, C. Tarleton of the 26th was a Private in this initial group, which was to become the largest, best trained and battle tested regiment in all of Lee’s army of Northern Virginia, according to Jon.

Jon presented several interesting facts, too numerous to include here, however, some of special interest are listed here: 1) a marine engineer, H.L. Hunley, designed a rudimentary submarine for the confederate Navy which later sunk the USS Housatonic, the first time in history a submarine sunk an enemy ship; 2) many of Grant’s detractors appealed to Lincoln to relieve him of his duties citing he consumed a bottle of whisky a day. Lincoln then ordered his aide to find out the brand of whiskey so he could send each of his generals a case; 3) women in the south did all they could to help the troops. One interesting thing they did was saving their urine each day for collection. Potassium Nitrate is a is a key ingredient in urine and is a key component of gun powder.

Jon said this horrible conflict is one of the most interesting and tragic events in American history and deserves to be studied and appreciated for the impact it represents. Thanks Jon, for an informative review!

Meeting Report: July 18, 2016



This club meeting was all about the upcoming Fourth Annual Charity Auction.  Jim Clabough spoke of the importance of assignments and the roles they play in a successful auction. With the auction only weeks away it is important to volunteer for the various jobs that need to be filled. If you didn’t volunteer or if you were absent from Monday’s meeting, you will still have an opportunity to sign up for the important remaining vacancies!

Mike Capristo talked about the importance of getting merchandise to be auctioned off that day. Items collected will be stored in the spare room at the Edward Jones office in the Food Lion Shopping Center in Blowing Rock. He cited percentages that showed household items were among the most  successful.

Ann Williams explained the procedures that are in place and the forms that need to be complete when you take something to Edward Jones. It is important to get all the information on the form filled out legibly and completely. This information identifies who gave what and by getting their correct mailing address allows us to send “Thank You Notes” to the donors. The absence of a thank you will make it difficult, if not impossible, to obtain a donation for the following year from that individual or company.

George Snyder, an accomplished artist whose works are very popular, has donated this painting “APPALACHIAN” to this year’s auction.  We need many more items if the auction is to be successful.  Solicit and obtain at least three items for this effort.




Linda Slade, director of the New River Conservatory, issued “t-shirts as awards to Alice and Ray for their efforts to clean up the river. And cleanup they did! The bottom picture held by one of her employees shows how awful the debris collected really is. Tires by the hundreds were pulled from the river. Several tons of waste were collected by several of the volunteers that helped last Saturday. Remember, they do this every year, so one can assume much of this waste is dumped here in one year. Thanks for a much needed effort.

Member Profile: A.B. Pearson

Alden Bryan Pearson, “A B”, was the Rotarian few Rotarians knew.

A quiet, observant man, he held back when Rotarians bantered across the room and “all talked at once.” Distinguishing the individual comments challenged his hearing. Few things challenged his mind.

A B enlisted in the US Navy directly out of high school in 1946. He emerged with the designation Honor Man.

Soon he accepted a football scholarship to Duke, where he majored in economics and played in the last game Wallace Wade coached. A team picture from 1950 shows number 82, defensive end, “a hunk” as his widow, Skip, describes him.

Upon graduation A B worked for Marathon paper in Wisconsin. There he felt the call to the ministry and enrolled at Princeton Theological Seminary.

He later wrote Princeton to thank a professor for teaching him to speak before a crowd, something he said he never learned at Duke.

In Wisconsin A B led three small Presbyterian churches as minister in charge of everything. He fished and ice skated but found the life lonely for a single man.

A B returned to Duke, earning a Master’s Degree in International Relations. He taught at Duke and then at The University of Alabama at Huntsville. At a Southern Historical Society meeting in 1969, he was introduced to Skip. Her father did the introducing. Skip was a widow with sons 6, 9 and 11. A B championed raw oysters and jazz and that’s what the couple enjoyed that weekend. Skip says she abandoned her previous plans. The couple were married within three months and A B became father to the three boys.

A B remained at Huntsville, head of the International Program, until he and Skip moved to Concord, NC, to start an executive search firm, Management Recruiters International. Silicone Valley and Microsoft were in their ascendancy and AB placed clients there and with international companies.

Knowing Skip liked old houses, A B bought a once-elegant 1905 structure with a sinking ceiling. Together the couple restored the house, ran the company and travelled.
In 1985 A B joined Rotary in Concord.

After twenty-two years A B sold the business and retired at 78. He and Skip traveled extensively, once staying in a twelfth-century French castle on a surprise trip he had planned.

They began coming to Blowing Rock because A B loved to hear Jim Stuart preach at Rumple.

A B was a smart man–Skip says “brilliant”–who read history, religion and maps. He was reputed to be able to get anybody from anywhere to anywhere. We wish we could have traveled with him longer.

Meeting Report: July 11, 2016














Kendra Sink and Sandra Ruppert provided some interesting and disturbing statistics in their presentation to the Blowing Rock Rotary Club members at their noon luncheon.

  • 31.3% of Watauga county residents live below or at the poverty level.
  • Watauga County Schools currently have 1,767 students enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program. Four of the schools have more than 50% of their students in this program.
  • Of the nine schools in Watauga county, not surprisingly, Blowing Rock schools have the least percentage (22.51%) while Mabel Elementary has the most (61.38%).

The Back 2 School Festival was founded on the belief that every child deserves to start the school year feeling confident and prepared. After all, a child the feels confident is more likely to succeed.

Last year, according to Sandra, they tried to give each ”family” a gift card for a pair of shoes or a gift card to Goodwill. This year their goal is to provide a gift card to each “child” attending the festival. If a pair of shoes costs $30 and we are to provide to 1,000 students there will be a need to raise $30,000. for shoes! Shoes are the biggest request from school counselors and social workers throughout the year.



  • 1000-1” binders
  • 1000-1½” binders
  • 400-2” binders
  • 10-Calculators
  • 1000-packs of Cap Erasers
  • 1000-packs of Chunk Eraser
  • 100-Clip Boards
  • 600-Colored Pencils
  • 2000-Composition Books
  • 600 -Crayons
  • 800-Dry Erasers Markers
  • 900-Index Cards
  • 800-Markers
  • 1000-Notebook Paper
  • 300-Paint Sets
  • 100-Fat Pencils
  • 2000-Pencils
  • 700-Pencil Bags/Boxes
  • 500-Black/Blue Pens
  • 500-Red Pens
  • 500-Glue Sticks
  • 700-2 pocket Folders



Basil presented to Jim Clabough the Rotary International Avenues of Service Award which include: Club Service, Vocational Service, Community Service, International Service and Youth Service.




Cullie auction off several items at Monday’s meeting for the auction. We desperately need for every member to solicit contributions and to bring in at least three items to be auctioned off!