Features

Artist Jeremiah Miller

February 12, 2019

Nestled in a dense woodland forest in Belews Creek, artist Jeremiah Miller feels right at home among the focus of his paintings.
Though many of his paintings feature trees like those seen around his home, Miller often enjoys painting scenes from Hanging Rock and the different rock formations that surround the area, as well as other scenic areas.
While he enjoys painting mother nature, that hasn’t always been Miller’s focus.
Miller grew up in East Winston’s City View area and graduated from East Forsyth High School with the first graduating class. Having enjoyed art since he was a baby, even stealing his mother’s lipstick to draw a mural on the baseboards, he attended the Ringling College of Art & Design, where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and later a BFA and Master of Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He also served four years in the Navy as a photographer.
“When they saw that I was an artist, they gave me a camera,” he said. “After I got out, I became a self-employed artist.”
After Miller received his master’s, he went back to Key West, having been sent there while serving in the Navy, and focused his art on his surroundings.
“I got my start down there,” he said, noting that he mostly drew people at that time.
In 1976, Miller returned to NC and built a log cabin in Belews Creek, which he said was meant to be his studio, but then decided to move to Washington, DC to be a “starving artist.”
Drawing him back to nature, Miller got the chance to get into the NC Visiting Artist Program as Artist-in-Residence at Blue Ridge Community College in Flat Rock, NC and at Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, NC, as well as Artist-in-Residence in Camden, SC.
Miller shared that it was while he was living in the Blue Ridge Mountains that his interest in painting figures moved to painting nature.
“I realized not having a model sitting for me was liberating,” he said, adding that he painted his first mural landscape for the YMCA in 1981 in Hendersonville. Because it was painted on the walls of the YMCA’s pool, he had to use epoxy paint and could only paint for about two hours at a time because of the humidity.
Miller said he and his wife, Sarah Johnson, a violinist, were married in 1983 and shared the residency in Camden.
“We were there for one year. She took a position at the School of the Arts and we moved back to (Belews Creek),” he said.
When they moved back, Miller said they settled into the cabin he built, which one could imagine being a romantically unique home with a bedroom loft that could be featured on a Tiny House TV show.
Now, instead of having the log cabin as his studio, Miller had to build a new one on the property, one that he has since added on to eight times.
“I started with an 8 x 16 foot building to store my tools, then I built a painting room…,” he said.
While Miller said Sarah was tolerant of living in the home, it wasn’t until a skunk made its way into his studio where she stored her concert gowns that she “put her foot down.”
“The law came down from on high to build a house,” he chuckled.
Walking from his larger custom-built home to the log cabin and then over to the sectionally crafted studio, sipping on a miniature cup of espresso, Miller showed me his various rooms filled with wood framed art.
While there were what seemed like hundreds of both miniature paintings with equally larger ones, Miller said he averages about 40 – 48 paintings and 35 hours a week, painting about 50 large paintings a year, and 300 – 500 of the smaller ones a year.
For the small paintings, he uses thick paint and paints quickly, usually two to three at a time, while the bigger ones are more detailed.
“From a distance, the big paintings invite you in,” he said.
Miller explained that his larger paintings look abstract to the eye up close, but from far away are like a window to reality; therefore, when he is painting on a large canvas, he often has to paint a little and then walk back from it to look at it from a different perspective and then walk back up to the painting.
Miller said what he likes most about painting is the physical application of the paint, and noted that he uses oil paint, but sometimes will use acrylic for the underpainting.
“There is a pleasure like a kid painting with cake icing, and I want people to be able to look at my painting and know that it’s mine,” he said. “I rely on my education and experience, and the feeling and process of painting takes over and it becomes a marriage of the subject and emotion. It’s like poetry with painting.”
When he finishes a painting, Miller said he feels a sense of confidence.
“I have a feeling like I’ve been honest with myself. I’m never completely satisfied but I reach a point when it’s an honest attempt,” he said.
To learn more about Miller and see more of his artwork, visit www.jeremiahmiller.com.

Rookie of the Year

February 5, 2019

During their Christmas banquet held in December, Firefighter/EMT Ian Macintosh was named as the Rookie of the Year for the Colfax Fire Department (CFD).
Macintosh grew up in Greensboro with a family of first responders. He noted that from an early age, he wanted to be a first responder.
“When I was in kindergarten, I knew I wanted to be either be a police officer or firefighter,” he said.
Macintosh said other than his brother, who used to work at CFD part-time, a majority of his family is in law enforcement.
Macintosh explained that he started out in the fire service as a junior firefighter.
“It was the 10th anniversary of 9-11 when I applied as a junior firefighter at Summerfield Fire Department when I was 16 years old,” he said, noting that he worked there for three years.
Following his time at Summerfield Fire Department, Macintosh worked at Georgetown County Fire Department in S.C. for about a year before coming to CFD, where he has worked part-time for the past two years.
Along with being a firefighter, Macintosh also works full-time for Guilford County EMS (emergency medical services).
Macintosh shared what he enjoys about being a firefighter.
“Everyday is different and every call is unique,” he said. “I enjoy going on calls and making a difference.”
Macintosh said while he enjoys how different everything is, it’s also the hardest part of the job.
“The hardest part is probably having to adapt to different circumstances because every call is different,” he stated.
As far as working at CFD, Macintosh said it’s the people that make it a great place to work.
“It’s a good area and they are good people to work with,” he said. “I’ve had a good experience here.”
The most rewarding experience Macintosh said he has had since working at CFD was one that earned him a Rescue Life Saving Award.
“We had to cut a teenager out of his car on I-40 and he made a full recovery,” he said. “It was one of the worst wrecks that I’ve ever been on. Everyone on call got a Rescue Life Saving Award.”
Macintosh shared that he has also received a Medical Life Saving Award through CFD, and a training award when he was working for Summerfield Fire Department.
When Macintosh isn’t helping others, he enjoys playing basketball for fun and working out.
He is also currently working on his Bachelors in Emergency and Disaster Management.
When he learned that he was being named as the Rookie of the Year, Macintosh said he was surprised. Unlike other departments, the Firefighter and Rookie of the Year awards are based on training hours worked and calls firefighters go on.
“I just wasn’t aware of it until the Christmas party,” he said. “It gives me a sense of accomplishment.”
Looking towards the future, Macintosh said he hopes to be an emergency management coordinator and to continue working at CFD part-time.

“The Voice”

February 5, 2019

With the ambition to pursue a career in vocal performance and the music business, Joy Cone competed to appear on the famous singing show “The Voice” in January.
Joy, a sophomore at Walkertown High School, explained that this isn’t the first time she has tried out for “The Voice,” but this is the first time she has made it as far as performing in front of the producers.
“They invited me back each year for the past three years to do a private audition,” she said.
This year, Joy explained that she did a blind audition through “The Voice” Instablinds on Instagram about three weeks ago, though the auditions have been going on since December.
“Over 2,000 people saw it and voted for me, and 200 people commented on it,” she said, noting that thousands of people from all over the country auditioned for the show. “They chose six people to do an Instagram story, where they have to go head-to-head in a competition.”
Joy explained that those six people are paired up and the top three contestants, one from each pair, had the chance to perform live in Miami, and for a chance to sing in front of the producers as well.
“Friends and family voted on the best from each pair,” she said. “In the end, they let all three of us sing in front of the producers, and they gave each of us a red card to be able to get to the front of the line.”
In order to get to Miami, Joy raised funds on GoFundMe and received a lot of donations from her family and friends, as well as the community.
Joy’s mom, Alicia, explained that each year, despite the judges liking her voice, she is turned away.
“She did really well in front of the producers but they want her to work on a few things,” Alicia said.
Joy noted that the experience wasn’t as stressful as she thought it would be.
“The judges were super sweet and they thought I sounded great. They loved my first song, ‘Still Rolling Stones,’ by Lauren Daigle, and then I sang ‘Real Love’ by Blanca. They are both Christian songs. I’m not sure if that was what they were looking for, but I want to be true to how I want to be as an artist and be true to my faith,” she shared. “They said they thought my pitch was a little high in ‘Real Love,’ but that’s how it is. I probably should have chosen a song they had heard before.”
Another obstacle Joy said she has been told is keeping her from moving forward is her backstory. With many of the contestants who make it on the show, they often have obstacles they have faced that Joy said she just hasn’t had to face, such as battling cancer or struggling to survive.
“They want to see if you have a backstory, but I don’t really have one. I’m blessed,” she said. “One of the things they said to us was that I’m almost too pure and don’t have a good backstory for show business, but I’m proud to be from a good, wholesome family and to be pure.”
Joy said her personal backstory is that she is the only girl out of three very athletic boys, Drew, Madison, and Jalen, in the family.
“Growing up, people didn’t really know that my brothers really had a little sister,” she said.
Despite being one step from appearing on the show, Joy said she is glad she had the chance to get as far as she did, and plans to continue trying out for various competitions.
“It’s helped to show me the other side of the music industry,” she said. “I had such a wonderful experience and everyone was so loving, and it was awesome that my hometown was so supportive and shared so much love.”
Like her brothers, Joy plays basketball and uses both her sport and singing as her outlets. At school, she is the vice president of SGA, plays varsity basketball, and is a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Outside of school, she has also played AAU basketball for the past two years.
Along with trying out for “The Voice,” Joy has performed during the National Youth Talent Showcase at the National Black Theatre Festival twice, has sung the National Anthem at Dash games, and was invited to sing the National Anthem at the University of Delaware.
Joy added that she has been singing since she was two-years-old and performs in choir through school. She also takes voice lessons, sings at church every week, and has performed in talent shows at various camps she has attended.
Joy noted that she posts singing videos on her YouTube channel, “AliciaJoySings.”

Remembrance bridge

January 29, 2019

Oak Ridge Town Park recently installed a bench in the dog park in memory of Conner Crossan, who passed away in 2018 after losing his battle with osteosarcoma.
According to Cancer.org, osteosarcoma is the most common type of cancer that starts in the bones, and mostly occurs in children and young adults.
Casey Crossan, Conner’s mother, explained that Conner was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in April 2016.
“We went out of town for my dad’s 70th birthday,” Casey said, noting that since it was April, they had just started wearing shorts. “My sister was walking behind him and asked why his knee was swollen. There was a bump on the right side of his knee.”
After seeing that his knee was swollen, and because he was also having flu-like symptoms, Casey said they took Conner to urgent care on their way home.
“They took an x-ray and the doctor came back and said he made an appointment for us to see an oncologist at Brenner Children’s Hospital,” she said. “Initially, they didn’t think it was anything, but the ER x-ray technician knew right away that it was something serious and told Conner, ‘You’ll get through this.’”
Casey explained that they went to Brenner the next day, where medical staff did some bloodwork to see what type of cancer Conner had.
“He was already metastatic (cancer had spread), but he never complained about the pain,” she said.
From there, Casey explained that a biopsy was done. Because the blood vessels were wrapped around his tumor, they were told they were going to have to amputate Conner’s right leg.
“The plan was to do chemotherapy for six months and then do the amputation, followed by another round of chemo for six months,” she said. “My husband and I agreed that we weren’t going to tell him about the amputation at first.”
Casey said the first week they went in for Conner’s chemotherapy and a PET scan was done, they learned that Conner had more tumors.
“He had tumors in his right and left shoulders, right hip and in both of his lungs,” she said. “At that point, the head of oncology went outside with us and said, ‘We’re going to do everything that we can.’”
Casey explained that once the other tumors were found and it was obvious that Conner had terminal cancer, they decided they were not going to do the amputation.
“They wanted to keep him on systemic therapy so we had a fighting chance,” she said. “We were treated at Brenner actively for nine months. The first line of treatment was chemo three different times for nine months with one week at Brenner and one week at home for those nine months.”
Casey noted that they spent a year at the Cleveland Clinic with doctors that specialized in osteosarcoma, and they lived at the Ronald McDonald House. They also participated in a clinical trial for two months with Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Hospital.
Casey explained that throughout all of Conner’s treatments, no matter where they were, there were therapy dogs.
“He’s always been an animal lover, and the therapy dogs made his day,” she said, noting that Conner had two dogs, Guinness and Cally. “It was a good day when we saw dogs at the hospital.”
Casey added that even when Creature Teacher came to his school, he would always sign up to see her during the after-school program.
When Conner couldn’t be at school, Casey said his teachers got together to have Creature Teacher come to his house and they would always bring different animals.
“We adopted a chinchilla while he was sick and now me and him are buds,” she smiled.
Casey said they started a blog to keep people informed about Conner’s treatment and Casey and her husband, Bryan, both shaved their heads in September, four months after Conner was diagnosed, to raise money for St. Baldrick’s.
“That’s when I really started blogging,” she said.
Casey explained that the first chemotherapy treatments were rough; however, after getting anti-nausea medicine, Conner was able to live his life, and that’s what they did for the next two years.
Conner had a homebound teacher, having previously attended Oak Ridge Elementary School, and was able to do stuff with his friends when he felt good.
“We lived our life while he was sick,” she said.
Conner passed away on April 5, 2018, two years after his diagnosis.
Since Conner lost his battle to osteosarcoma, Casey has volunteered with the Ronald McDonald House and now is on the Patient Caregiver Advisory Board for Brenner Children’s Hospital. Casey also got involved with MIB Agents, an organization whose mission is to Make It Better for children with osteosarcoma, and with Ruff Love by adopting a dog Conner had picked out a year before he was diagnosed. She has also worked with Shopping4Hope, and more.
Casey noted that MIB Agents have direct patient support, give an end of life experience, and fund research.
“We (MIB Agents) are the only 501(c)3 that hosts an osteosarcoma conference,” she said.
Casey noted that friends also started a GoFundMe page to purchase a bench for the dog park at Oak Ridge Town Park in memory of Conner and his love for dogs.
Casey said her goal now is to raise as much awareness about osteosarcoma and childhood cancer.
“Osteosarcoma is rare and is the oldest form of bone cancer, but there haven’t been any new treatments in 40 years,” she said. “Since 1980, there have only been six drugs that have been approved for childhood cancer.”
While she is not in any way downplaying adults fighting cancer, Casey noted that since 1980, there have only been six drugs approved for childhood cancer, while there are about 12 drugs approved a year by the FDA for adult cancers. And, while there are, on average, 17 life years lost on an adult cancer patient, there are 71 life years lost on a pediatric or childhood cancer patient.
For more information about Conner’s battle, or to make a donation to help children fighting their battle with osteosarcoma, visit www.posthope.org/cars-trucks-trainsand-cancer, www.donorbox.org/conner or www.mibagents.org. The dog park at Oak Ridge Town Park is located at 6231 Lisa Drive, Oak Ridge.

Teacher of the Year

January 17, 2019

When Susan Andrews learned that she had been nominated as the Teacher of the Year at East Forsyth Middle School (EFMS), she was humbled and inspired.
Andrews grew up in Kernersville and graduated from Glenn High School in 1987. After high school, she attended Edinboro University in Pennsylvania, where she earned her second social studies certification for grades 6 – 12 in 1992.
Following earning her degree, Andrews found her first position teaching at Dobyns Bennett High School, where she worked for four to five years before moving back to NC with her husband, Philip, and two sons, Gavin and Gray.
Having taken time off to stay home with her children, Andrews later returned to teach in 2013 at EFMS, where she currently teaches Ancient World History to sixth graders.
Andrews explained that she chose to become a teacher because she enjoys history.
“I have always enjoyed school. I love history, and I love finding ways to make history fun and relevant to today,” she shared.
Andrews said she enjoys seeing what students want to learn about.
“I let students learn about something on their own first, and then we come together to discuss what they have learned and any questions they might have,” she explained.
Andrews said the lightbulb moments are among her favorite things about teaching.
“I enjoy seeing those lightbulb moments when they understand why we do things in a certain way because of history,” she said, as she explained that many of her students enjoy learning about the early Americas. “A lot of our Hispanic kids like learning about the Aztecs and Mayans because they have ancestors from (those cultures), and they start to understand the history and how it comes together.”
Andrews said one of the things she enjoys is doing meditation with the students as they get into learning about Buddhism.
One of the things that Andrews said she enjoys each year is having eighth graders who she had in sixth grade come back to talk to her and tell her how much they learned.
“These kids come to us with little to no social studies, and I want them to leave enjoying social studies and realizing how much they learned and to think of the conversations they can have because of all the things they have learned,” she shared.
Along with teaching students in the classroom, Andrews is also active with the school’s Running Club and has helped coach cross country.
Outside of teaching, she is an avid runner and enjoys spending time with her family, cooking and having dinner as a family. She noted that she usually does a marathon every other year.
When Andrews learned that she had been named Teacher of the Year at EFMS, she said she was humbled.
“I was very humbled that they would choose me,” she said. “I work with rock stars who inspire me to do more and to do better. This award inspires me to keep putting in the time, energy and effort to have those five good lessons a week.”

New Face on Campus

January 17, 2019

The North Carolina Leadership Academy welcomes its first SRO to its campus
by Wendy Freeman Davis, Features & News Editor

The North Carolina Leadership Academy (NCLA) now has a full-time SRO (school resource officer) on campus who not only provides a new level of security at the Kernersville charter school, but a safe and smiling face to students and staff alike.

Kernersville Police Department (KPD) Officer Stacy Bottoms is a 20-year veteran of the KPD, having started her career with the local department in 1999. Over the years, Bottoms has worked in different law enforcement capacities, but one thing has remained the same: her love of people and desire to help.

“I pursued law enforcement because I have a genuine love for people and I wanted to be in a position to help others and make a difference,” Bottoms said, taking a few minutes out of the day at The NCLA to talk about her time as an officer and being selected as the SRO for The NCLA.

Although she has been on patrol for the majority of her career, Bottoms has served as an SRO before, at Southeast Middle School for two-and-a-half years starting in 2006. Afterward, she went back to the patrol division, where she has remained until now. Bottoms has also been on the KPD’s Crisis Negotiation Team since its development in 2007 and was promoted to coordinator of the seven-member team in 2016.

Bottoms officially started her new position when students returned from their winter break on Thursday, Jan. 3, but had met with the academy’s staff the day before.

“For me, being an SRO feels like a good position to make a lasting impact on the community,” Bottoms said.

Bottoms believes SROs are able to provide an outreach to young people they might not have otherwise, closing the gap between them and law enforcement in a positive way.

“It starts here,” Bottoms said, sharing that she’s already made one lasting connection in just a week. She has a second grader who gives Bottoms a hug every day.

“I’m here to provide safety for the kids and safety for the staff, but I am also here to partner with kids in their journey through school,” Bottoms said.

Bottoms is The NCLA’s first SRO. The academy went to the Town of Kernersville and Board of Aldermen a few months ago with a proposal for the KPD to provide an SRO to the school, with the academy providing the necessary funding. The Board finalized the request in December.

The NCLA Principal Renee Faenza said the students have responded positively to having Bottoms on campus.

“It’s awesome. The kids are loving seeing and having her around,” Faenza said of Bottoms. “It adds another presence on campus from a safety standpoint, but it also reinforces community policing and makes kids feel comfortable.”

The NCLA opened its High Point Road campus in 2014-15. Today, the academy has 830 students in grades kindergarten through 12th.

Faenza said the academy has been considering providing an SRO for campus security for several years.

“We wanted to wait until we could afford it,” she said.

Bottoms has spent her first week on the job getting to know the students and staff. She’s even out in the car rider line when students are dropped off, opening doors and helping usher students inside.

“It has only been six days, but it has been rewarding every day. I have been elated every day I’ve been here,” Bottoms said last week. “I love giving out hugs and helping in the drop-off line. I like to give them a good morning, hoping they start their day on a positive note.”

The KPD operates a seven-member SRO unit which provides officers to East Forsyth High, East Forsyth Middle, Kernersville Middle, Southeast Middle, Caleb’s Creek Elementary, Cash Elementary and Kernersville Elementary schools.

Town Loses Another Icon

December 6, 2018

Kernersville suffered yet another heartbreaking loss this weekend with the Saturday passing of Dr. Charles Record, who along with his late father, Dr. Leo Record, served patients throughout the community for more than half a century.
Record passed away surrounded by family and friends after battling central nervous system lymphoma. He was 58-years-old.
The outpouring of grief and sympathy was immediate among the online community, where family, lifelong friends, associates and community members not only mourned Record but celebrated a life that had been filled with love, compassion for others and laughter.
“In less than (six) months, Kernersville has lost two wonderful physicians, Dr. Leo Record and his son, Dr. Charles Record. For a family and a town, this is a loss that is hard to endure. We, as a loving town, give thanks for the lives that these two men have touched and, in some cases, saved. They will be missed … and never lost in our memory,” wrote Kernersville Alderman and Mayor Pro Tem Joe Pinnix.
Dr. Leo Record passed away this past June 11.
Dotty Hoots, a retired English teacher at Kernersville Wesleyan Academy and then late Wesleyan Christian Academy, also commented online.
“Charles was such a tremendous person! He contributed so much to this world!” Hoots wrote in a message about Record.
Hundreds more left their condolences and shared memories of Record on the pages of the popular physician’s loved ones. To many, he was more than just their doctor, but a friend and one whose smile and hugs will be missed.
“We all loved Charles and his big hugs and smile,” wrote one person.
Another wrote, “He was my doctor but also my friend.”
One of the most poignant sentiments about Record came from his brother, Glenn Record, who posted a lengthy tribute to Record and what it had meant to him to be such a larger-than-life figure’s younger sibling.
“I looked up to him,” Glenn told the Kernersville News on Monday, adding that he hoped he had told his brother enough just how much, because although Record had been first diagnosed with cancer in 2017, no one expected his passing on Saturday to come as quickly as it did, if at all.
Record retired after more than 27 years as a physician from Novant Health Kernersville Family Medicine in June 2017. His father and uncle, Dr. Wesley Phillips, founded the practice more than 50 years before, and Record joined them in 1989.
Record cited medical reasons for his decision to retire early, but he still hoped to be involved in the medical community, “to make sure the people of Kernersville are cared for,” Record said at the time. Glenn Record said his brother had not yet been diagnosed with cancer when he retired, but was experiencing symptoms that would lead to that diagnosis later.
In addition to caring for patients at Novant Health Kernersville Family Medicine and serving as the medical director of the practice for more than 10 years, Record had a significant role in making sure Novant Health Kernersville Medical Center came to fruition, serving on the groundbreaking committee and as the hospital’s first medical director.
Record received his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky, and went on to receive his medical degree from Wake Forest University’s Bowman Gray School of Medicine. He completed his residency in family medicine at Carraway Methodist Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama.
During his time in medical school, Dr. Charles Record met his wife, Kristi, on a blind date. Two months later in June 1986, they were engaged and married in February 1987. The couple has two grown children – daughter Carmen and son Brooks.
When Novant Health Kernersville Family Practice celebrated its 50th anniversary earlier this year, Record spoke about what he had enjoyed most about being a part of such a long-standing Kernersville institution.
“Taking care of my past teachers and the mentors I had growing up and taking care of the community, that’s what I have enjoyed,” he said.
When asked to say a few words about his brother, Glenn said this, “I know two things for certain. Charles was a big personality and he was loud. Even when he was whispering, he was loud and you always knew when he was in the room. He loved talking and he loved Kristi.”
In addition to his wife, Record is survived by his mother, Marietta Record; daughter Carmen Moody and husband Jonathan; son Brooks Record and wife Amanda; sister Anita Baugham and husband Bud; brother Glenn Record and wife Julia; brother-in-law Tim Reid and wife Donna; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be held Wednesday, Dec. 5 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Pierce-Jefferson Funeral Services. A funeral service will be held Thursday, Dec. 6 at 11 a.m. at Kernersville Wesleyan Church.

Four-Way Test Award

December 6, 2018

The Rotary Club of Kernersville recently presented the Four-Way Test Award to Ken Idol.
The Four-Way Test Award is given to a resident and non-Rotarian who the Rotary Club feels follows the four areas of the club’s Four-Way Test, which states:
“The Four-Way Test of the things we think, say or do”
I. Is it the TRUTH?
II. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
III. Will it build GOODWILL & BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
IV. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
During the Rotary Club meeting, where Idol was presented with the award, Jason Grubbs, who nominated Idol, shared why he felt Idol deserved this great honor.
“If you’ve spent much time around Kernersville, the list of past recipients of this award is impressive. In fact, it can be almost intimidating. Look at the list and you’ll see political giants like Roger Swisher and Solly Coltrane, war heroes like Doc Long and Ivey Redmon, pioneers like Margaret Burks, fixtures of our downtown business community like Charlie Snow, sports legends like Jack Blaylock, and folks like Ned Mabe and Richard Hedgecock who span more than one of those categories,” he began. “It’s easy to look at that list, particularly some of the early recipients, many of whom are no longer with us, and wonder whether Kernersville will keep producing such outstanding men and women – people who, in a way, became institutions. Our history tells us though that we will…”
Grubbs mentioned that it’s easy to look backwards and identify the folks in our history who have been beacons of all that the Four-Way Test stands for.
“What’s harder is spotting the places where that type of leadership is going on right before our eyes. Today, we get the chance to honor one such difference maker, a business leader in our community who doesn’t seek the limelight, but who humbly makes a difference, and does it with a smile on his face,” he said. “To really know Ken, you really have to know a bit about his family’s business, Farmers Hardware, which is just right up the road as you are heading back into Kernersville.”
Grubbs explained that Farmers Hardware has its roots in India. He shared that during World War II, Idol’s dad, Glenn Idol, was stationed in India as part of the U.S. Army Air Corps. As the war drew to a close, Glenn started thinking about what he would do when he returned to the States and wrote home to an uncle that he wanted to own a hardware store, and that’s just what he did within a few years of coming home.
“Fast forward nearly 75 years and the Idol family owns and operates two successful hardware stores, Farmers Hardware here in Kernersville and Southside Hardware in High Point. Though much has changed in the hardware business, the Idol family’s recipe for success really hasn’t changed at all: hard work, treating people fairly, helping people solve problems, and giving back to the community,” Grubbs said. “In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve been able to watch this recipe, and Ken’s leadership, first-hand. My first job as a 16-year-old kid was working for Ken at Farmers Hardware and I worked there until I was in law school. If, as the book says, ‘Everything I Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,’ then everything I needed to know about being a business owner I learned working at the hardware store.”
He continued.
“I’m talking about lessons like: helping people solve problems is a privilege and the reason your business exists; treating customers with respect and kindness is what makes them believe in your brand; and your employees are your most valuable asset – treat them like family.”
Grubbs continued, as he told how he has had the privilege of having a front row seat to see why Idol is so deserving of the Four-Way Test Award.
“I’ve seen Ken tell a customer the truth about where to find a solution to a problem that he couldn’t provide, even if it meant sending them to a competitor. I’ve seen him go out of his way to ‘make things right’ with a dissatisfied customer, even when he clearly wasn’t in the wrong. Kenny Idol may be the walking, talking embodiment of building goodwill and better friendships. I’m not sure he’s ever met a stranger, and you don’t have to be around him long before his infectious optimism and unmatched sense of humor will turn you into a friend,” Grubbs said. “His kindness and generosity – to his friends, his family, his employees, his customers and his community – are a blessing to so many people. I’ve seen him stay late on a Saturday afternoon to help a frazzled customer, making his third or fourth trip of the day to the store, figure out the solution to his plumbing problem. I’ve seen him financially support countless Eagle Scout projects, mission trips, veterans’ groups, Little League teams and Rotary Pancake Suppers, all with no desire for the limelight or credit, just a genuine desire to benefit his community.”
In the 25 years that Grubbs has known Idol, he said he has called him his boss, a fellow business owner, a fellow church member, and, now, a friend.
Idol was born and raised in the Sedge Garden area and graduated from East Forsyth High School in 1976.
Idol explained that he worked at Southside Hardware for 14 years before he came to the Kernersville location to help his uncle Charles Idol in 1989.
“I started working (at the Southside store) part-time when I was 16 years old and in school,” he stated.
Idol said he feels it is important to help the community as much as he does because his father instilled the idea to help others in him.
“Daddy said how the community was big at helping Farmers Hardware and how important it was to give back,” he said. “After he passed, I had a lot of people come up to me and tell me all that he did for them.”
Idol explained that his father always donated to Scout camp and helped other people.
“I’ve always tried to follow and do little things like that too,” he remarked.
When Idol learned that he was being presented with the award, he said he first thought it was a joke, and then once he realized it wasn’t, he was humbled.
“I was surprised and honored,” he remarked. “Jason worked here when he was 15 and worked through high school and college and during the summer, and he always comes in and jokes with me. When he handed me the award, I didn’t believe him. I thought he was just messing with me.”
Idol added that one of the things that he feels honored about for receiving the award is seeing the names of people who have received it before him.
“They are all community leaders and people I grew up knowing. I felt honored to be recognized in that group. It just blew me away.”
Idol said he doesn’t help people for anything other than that he enjoys it.
“People come in and help me grow as a store and I’m willing to help give back. People also come in wanting to help someone sick by doing a fundraiser and I’m glad to help,” he said. “Be fair and truthful – that’s what you do in business and I think it pays off.”
Outside of work, Idol enjoys spending time with his wife, Beth. They have two girls, Sara and Dana, and five grandchildren. Idol noted that he also enjoys surf fishing, hunting, hiking, woodworking, and just being in the outdoors.

Coaches Who Care

December 6, 2018

When Joe Pinnix and Kernersville Elementary School (KES) fifth grader Khalil McRae first met two years ago through the Coaches Who Care program at the school, they hit it off once they learned they had a common interest in wrestling.
Since that time, both Pinnix and Khalil have learned a lot from each other.
Pinnix explained that he first started volunteering through the program about seven years ago as a way to give back.
“I just love children and my grandchildren are not close by, so I thought I could volunteer and help,” he said. “It’s beneficial to me as much as it is to the student.”
Pinnix said he and Khalil meet once a week during lunch, which Khalil always looks forward to, not only to have a friend to hang out with, but also because Pinnix brings him Chick-fil-A.
“We’ve gotten to be good buddies,” Pinnix remarked.
Khalil said he enjoys having Pinnix come because he knows there is someone that will come and eat with him.
During their time together, Pinnix and Khalil said they talk about a variety of things, including superheroes, wrestling, basketball and school, particularly the subjects of math and science. Khalil noted that his favorite superheroes are Spiderman and Nightwing.
After volunteering with a student for one year, Pinnix noted that the student can choose whether or not to stay with the same coach the following year, and after asking Khalil what he wanted to do, Pinnix said Khalil asked him to return as his coach.
Khalil, Pinnix and Khalil’s mom all noted the difference having a mentor has been for Khalil.
“I’ve noticed I’ve been doing better in school because he encourages me to work hard, and because he’s mayor (pro tem), he wants me to be a leader too,” Khalil said.
Khalil’s mom, Tanisha McRae, said she has noticed that Khalil has taken an interest in politics since being paired with Pinnix.
“I remember when Joe was running for office again. We were watching the bottom of the screen at home and (Khalil) was excited to see (Pinnix’s) name,” she shared.
Pinnix added, “I’ve noticed that from last year he is a little less shy.”
A short time after the two met last year, Pinnix said what broke the ice was their common interest in wrestling.
“He found out I knew something about wrestling and he couldn’t believe I knew some of these guys’ names,” he shared. “It’s like it broke the ice and we were on the same level.”
One of the things that Pinnix was surprised and delighted to learn about Khalil was his Cadillac Project, which Khalil started when he was six-years-old. He added that he named the project Cadillac Project because of the nickname his late great grandfather Thomas Murphy gave him just a few days after he was born.
“He gave me my first nickname ever. He gave me that name because he said a Cadillac was a pretty strong American made car and that I was the strongest and prettiest baby he’d ever seen,” Khalil shared.
Khalil explained that when he was younger, when he would see someone who was homeless on the side of the road, he would ask his mom for some change to give to them; however, because she didn’t really carry much cash, they couldn’t give the people much more than that.
“My mom thought that we could come up with a better way to help the homeless and I came up with the idea to give them fruit and water and put it in a brown paper bag,” he said.
Khalil noted that he and his mom have a specific route they take where they know there are people in need, which usually is around Hanes Mall, the interstate and near the homeless shelters.
This year, with the help of Pinnix, Khalil said they were able to give out toboggans and gloves.
“Since it got cold, we started giving out toboggans and gloves so they would have something to keep them warm because you know the climate can get pretty harsh this time of year,” Khalil said, noting that his mom makes the logos that they put on the paper bags.
Khalil noted that shortly after they were giving out fruit and water, they decided to add a larger selection of items to the brown paper bags.
“We used to deliver the bags only on Fridays and Saturdays, but now that it’s cold and we can leave the food in the car, we can deliver them anytime,” he said. “These people are starving and maybe we are able to make them happy and help them stay full and warm. I feel bad seeing people out there like that.”
Khalil said he recently met a disabled veteran who was homeless, and it broke his heart to see him out on the streets.
“He served and did all of that for our country and he’s out there freezing. It breaks my heart,” he remarked. “When we gave him one of the bags, he told us that was just what he needed.”
Tanisha added that she has always stressed to Khalil that regardless of their situation, there is someone that is worse off and that they can always find a way to give back or pay it forward.
Pinnix said he only learned about Khalil’s Cadillac Project this year.
“When he told me about it, I just thought it was one of the sweetest and most compassionate stories for a little boy that young to do and it was his idea,” Pinnix said. “I was just so overwhelmed. There’s really a lot of hope for the young people in this country. You talk to a young person like Khalil and you know there is hope, and you hope he has set an example.”
KES Social Worker Lisa May explained that Coaches Who Care is a mentoring program that was started in conjunction with the Kernersville Chamber of Commerce and KES to provide mentoring services to the children of KES. They currently have 19 coaches but are looking for more men and women from the community to volunteer.
It is requested that volunteers come once a week for at least 30 minutes, and while most volunteers come during lunch, it is not required that they come at that time. Other volunteers have come and read to students, and in a previous year, Coach Russ Gray did a yearlong engineering project with a student.
Students in the program are recommended by a teacher and then set up with a coach by May.
Those who are interested in volunteering should contact May at KES at 336-703-4100 to become an approved volunteer for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School system.

Novant Health – Healthy Headlines

November 20, 2018

Female ob-gyns are now the majority

‘Having choice means a lot’
As a child, Cassandra Sherrill saw her family’s male physician for routine vaccinations, stitches and a bad sinus infection. But as an adult, when she could make her own decisions, she chose female doctors for gynecological care.

“I just felt more comfortable with a female doctor,” said Sherrill, 48, of Clemmons.

“I think if I were a man, I might prefer to see a male doctor for urological issues,” said Sherrill, a graphic designer for the Winston-Salem Journal. “… If you have choice, you can make a choice.”

It wasn’t so long ago that patients such as Sherrill didn’t have an option. In a field of medicine where all the patients are female, obstetrics and gynecology used to be dominated by male physicians.

Once the door opened, female ob-gyns flowed through at a steady pace. In 2003, 67 percent of Novant Health obstetrician-gynecologists were male. Today, that figure has almost flipped — 60 percent are female.

This mirrors a national trend. In 1970, only 7 percent of U.S. gynecologists were women. Now 59 percent are.

“A lot of this is consumer driven,” said Pat Campbell, Novant Health’s vice president for obstetrical and gynecological services. “Many women today are looking for a female provider.”

Some women believe a female doctor “will understand their needs a little better,” Campbell said. And patients are willing to be placed on waiting lists to get female doctors.

‘Listening to patients’
Novant Health is committed to meeting the demand from patients by providing both male and female ob-gyns. National surveys show the majority of women express no preference about the gender of their ob-gyn.

Dr. Greg Reynolds, a physician at Novant Health Bradford Clinic OB/GYN – Matthews in Charlotte, said when he started 11 years ago he was told that male doctors might see their practices build a little more slowly than female doctors. But, he added, Novant Health made clear that providing good care would ultimately win patients. And that’s exactly what’s happened, he said.

“Listening to patients, being empathetic and treating them to the best of your ability is what matters the most,” he said.

His colleague, Dr. Mark Bland, of Novant Health Rankin OB/GYN – Randolph in Charlotte, agrees. “As a male, you better be listening…maybe even better,” Bland said.

Both Bland and Reynolds said they regularly have mothers they’ve been caring for refer their daughters as new patients. “I can’t get a higher compliment than when a mother refers her daughter,” Bland said.

Both also agreed that despite the ever-growing trend of internet research, that word of mouth still drives patients to their offices. Neighbors and friends of happy patients wind up coming to his practice because they want the same level of care.

“It is good to have both” genders as providers, Campbell said. “Many male ob-gyns are as caring as anybody you would want to come across. What’s more important is the quality of the physician and what they bring to Novant and do they fit the culture.”

When Novant Health Mint Hill Medical Center opened Oct. 1, the nearby Mint Hill ob-gyn clinic opened with four doctors — three of them men.

Campbell said the hospital system recruited doctors who would be a “good fit” for the clinic without considering gender. She predicts the number of female ob-gyns at Novant Health will stabilize between 60 and 80 percent in the next 10 years, but will never be 100 percent.

For one thing, she said, there will be always be doctors like Bland, who realized during his training years that he was drawn to the specialty because he was impressed with women’s outlook on health. “Women are move involved and committed to their own health care,” he said, “so it’s more fun to partner with them.”

‘There weren’t options’
The trend toward female ob-gyns has coincided with an increase in female students at medical schools across the country.

Fifty years ago, women had to fight to get into the male-dominated field of medicine. Today, about half of medical school graduates are women. And 82 percent of ob-gyns residents in training programs across the country are women.

Patients have responded positively to the growing supply of female doctors.

“The demand (for female doctors) has been there from day one,” Campbell said. When Novant Health began hiring female ob-gyns, “we saw their schedules fill up … They are in such high demand.”

Over 13 years of practice, Dr. Pam Oliver, at Novant Health WomanCare in Winston-Salem, said she has watched a growing number of patients request female obstetricians and gynecologists.

Years ago, “you just went to whoever was available. There weren’t options,” said Oliver, who is also senior physician executive for Novant Health’s Physician Network.

“Now, from the time you’re an adolescent, you’ve got the option,” Oliver said. “And you exercise that option for life. Having the choice means a lot.”

In Oliver’s clinic, seven of the 10 doctors are female. That’s a big change from 2005, when she finished residency at Wake Forest School of Medicine.

“When I came out of training, there was one female in each big group. That was it,” Oliver said. “Now, there are just more of us available. You have a choice to choose a female if you would like to.”
Oliver agreed that male physicians can be just as good as females and that there should be a mix. But she said some women prefer a female doctor for their personal and potentially sensitive gynecological care.

Some patients may have experienced sexual abuse or have cultural beliefs that prohibit them from undressing in the presence of men who are not their husbands. But they may also just feel more comfortable with another woman.

“It is a daunting day to have your first pelvic exam,” Oliver said. “I think it is very much more appealing (for some women) to have a female doctor.”

‘Focusing on the patient’
Campbell, the Novant Health vice president, recalled that she didn’t even think about asking for a female obstetrician when she was planning the births of her children in 1990 and 1993. Novant Health had only three or four female ob-gyns at the time.

She liked her male doctor and “did not even think one minute about changing.” But when he retired, she too chose a female gynecologist.

“I have seen the evolution of the female ob-gyns here at Novant Health,” Campbell said. “I think we’ll be seeing more of this in the future.”

Reynolds, the male ob-gyn, suspects that’s the case as well. “Maybe some doctors elsewhere feel threatened, but at Novant Health that’s not the case,” he said. “Everyone’s just focusing on the patient.”

And regardless of gender, he added, all physicians are well-aware that doctor visits can be awkward and uncomfortable for their patients. By recognizing that and listening, he added, doctors can put their patients at ease and deliver the care that everyone deserves.

Catch the latest in news and advice from Novant Health at www.healthyheadlines.org