Photos by Della Marshall.
Bill and his wife Judy run the Orchard at Altapass. Bill worked for IBM in Huntsville, Alabama on computer guidance for rockets. He and Judy retired to Little Switzerland 22 years ago. He tried weaving and admits that was a bust. When the Orchard at Altapass came up for sale he and Judy ended up buying it after only “two hours of due diligence”. It turned out their quick action prevented a developer from using the property to build a housing development right off the Parkway. Bill later realized the historical significance of the property when he saw a column of Revolutionary War soldiers coming down their driveway as part of their re-enactment of the march to Kings Mountain which was the site of a pivotal battle. And he later found out one of his ancestors was part of that battle.
He and Judy (who will soon celebrate their 54th wedding anniversary) decided to preserve the Orchard at Altapass and made it a non-profit organization. They also put the property in conservancy to prevent any future development.
Bill said they feature 200 musical performances six months out of the year that feature many of the “From Heres” in the mountains.
Several of our members attended the 2014-15 District 7670 conference at the Omni Hotel in Charlotte over the weekend. The district leadership honored our club with several awards: The Governor’s Distinguished Club Award (one of twelve clubs to receive this award), Honorable Mention for the Best Club Website Award, 2nd place in total giving to the C.A.R.T. fund and 3rd place in per capita giving to the C.A.R.T. fund.
We were especially proud to see our Vocational Services Chair, Chuck Canady, receive the prestigious Rotary International Vocational Service Award. For the past two years, which are also his first two years in our club, Chuck has done a wonderful job of managing our Dictionary Project, our Watauga High School Scholarship program and Career Day at Holmes Center at Appalachian State University. The Avery County Schools Superintendent, David Burleson was so impressed last year that he wants to bring his 8th grade students to Career Day this year. This will nearly double attendance from 350 to over 600 students.
Those who attended the conference were: John and Della Marshall, Basil and Penny Kuzyzsyn, Jim and Karen Clabough, Chuck and Kathy Canady, Virginia Vanstory and Bill and Barbara Parker.
Highlight photos are below. You can see many more by clicking here:
Fourteen members of our club toured this very impressive facility last Monday. Dr. Laura Fero, Dean of Nursing and Health Sciences, said that the coming year will be their first year with just 24 students. Once they polish up the program she will accept up to 60 students and then eventually 200.
Daniel and Dianne May, already major benefactors of the college, donated $4 millilon of the total $6.2 milllion dollar cost of the facility. The entire project was completed with donated funds so the college did not have to take on any debt.
Club members that toured the facility were: John Marshall, Basil Kuzyzsyn, Greg Davis, Bill Leahey, Virginia Vanstory, Jim Clabough, Betty Howe, Charles Hardin, Ann Williams, Van Joffrion, Sabine Miller and Ray Pickett.
Dr. Barry Buxton, PhD, the President of Lees-McRae College since 2000, grew up in Blowing Rock. He greeted us at the door and later joined us for lunch for a video presentation about the school. For most of the club members it was the first time eating in a college cafeteria in decades. It was pretty good!