Features

Quen Taylor Blood Drive

There is still plenty of time to schedule an appointment to give blood during the annual Quen Taylor Blood Drive. This year’s drive will once again be held at First Baptist Church of Kernersville on Tuesday, Aug. 27.
Now in its 19th year, the drive is sponsored by Pinnacle Financial Partners, formerly Bank of North Carolina, after having been originally organized by the bank’s retired city executive, Wayne Mabe, who counted Taylor among his friends.
According to Pinnacle Financial Partners Branch Manager Kim Myers, last year’s blood drive collected 73 units of blood. This year, the goal is to collect another 73 units.
The need for blood donations never goes away, which makes drives like the one in Taylor’s honor so important.
“It is so important to donate blood because there is no substitute for blood. Each day, blood is needed for accidents, surgeries, and transfusions. Without donations, this need could not be met,” Myers pointed out.
Myers said Pinnacle Financial Partners feels strongly about its support of the annual event and its mission to promote blood donations and support the American Red Cross.
“We all know someone that has needed blood at one time or another. Whether it be for an accident or a surgery, blood donations are needed daily,” Myers said. “I think we take for granted that the blood will always be there when we need it. It is up to everyone to do their part to ensure the blood supply meets the demand. We encourage everyone to give.”
Myers said the employees at Pinnacle Financial Partners donate as well during the blood drive, with many signing up year after year. Myers can be counted among them, having donated every year of the drive with the exception of 2008 when Myers was pregnant with her son.
Myers encouraged the community to schedule a donation time to come out Tuesday in support of the annual blood drive and those whose lives will be directly impacted.
“I recently read a statistic stating every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. It is a constant need that we can meet if we all do our part. By taking a little time out of your day to donate, you are truly saving a life. If you can’t make this drive, I encourage you to find a drive or go to your local Red Cross center to donate.”
She continued.
“Blood is the most precious gift that anyone can give to another person. A gift that seems so small can literally mean life or death for a person in need. If you can’t make it to our blood drive, contact your local Red Cross and find a location that works for you.”
Taylor was known as the “voice” of Wake Forest University (WFU) basketball and football, where he was an announcer for 27 years. He was diagnosed with acute leukemia in 1998. Due to the severity of the leukemia, he sometimes needed to receive four or five pints of blood a day through blood transfusions.
Despite his condition, Taylor never let it detract from his love of covering WFU games. In fact, he was known by friends and family to convince his doctors to allow him to leave the hospital to cover a game and then return in time to finish a treatment.
Taylor wanted people to always continue giving blood. The first blood drive in his honor was organized shortly before his passing. In the years since, hundreds have continued to support the annual effort, with thousands of units of blood collected.
Although Taylor passed away in 2001, his words on the importance of blood donations to the recipients most in need will forever ring true.
“You just don’t know how good it feels when you are laying in a hospital and see that unit of blood coming through the door. Giving blood is the most wonderful thing you can do, everyone can try. The recipient can’t duplicate the gift they have received … the gift of life,” Taylor was often quoted as saying.
All those who donate during this year’s blood drive will receive two tickets to a Wake Forest football game, all donated by Wake Forest sports. Pinnacle Financial Partners is also donating two $50 gift cards to be given away. Then there is the food.
“Finally, we have wonderful food sponsors that take great care of us. You will not leave the blood drive hungry,” Myers said.
Scheduling an appointment ahead of time is important. Appointments can be made by calling the local Pinnacle Financial Partners branch at 336-996-1776.
Hours for this year’s Quen Taylor Blood Drive will be 1:30 to 7 p.m. First Baptist Church of Kernersville is located at 401 Oakhurst St.

Benefit for Gracie

The Kernersville Moose Lodge is hosting a fundraiser on Saturday, August 24 at 4 p.m. to help raise funds for Gracie Peoples, a local teen with heart failure, to help with medical bills.
Gracie, who is 14, was diagnosed with heart failure in June of this year after having trouble breathing.
Gracie’s mother, Stephanie Peoples, explained that Gracie was struggling to breathe at night before going to bed three days before she took her to urgent care.
“She was having a hard time breathing when laying down to go to sleep but was fine during the day. Even when we took her to urgent care, she never felt anything with her heart; we just thought it was a respiratory thing,” she said, as she explained that when the nurse took Gracie’s vitals at urgent care, her heart rate was at 246. “They told us it should be under 100. That was a red flag for them, so they did an EKG and chest x-ray and told us her heart was enlarged and there was fluid around it.”
After doing the tests, Stephanie said they were sent to the local emergency room and then flown to UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill.
“They said she has heart failure because her heart was barely working. They still have no idea what caused it. They said it could be in her DNA to have heart problems,” Stephanie explained. She said she is taking her other two daughters, Mady, 9, and Kennedy, 4, to the doctor to be sure they have no heart problems.
Stephanie said Gracie was in the hospital from June 5 – July 15. She was released three weeks ago. Stephanie explained that Gracie also had open heart surgery to have a left ventricular assist device inserted, which is a bridge to have a heart transplant.
“This machine beats her heart for her. It will keep her heart working until she is able to get a donor heart. They said they would call us as soon as one becomes available and that on average, it can be six months to a year to get one, but she can take an adult or pediatric heart,” she shared.
Once Gracie is told a heart is available for her, Stephanie said they will have to return to the hospital to have open heart surgery again.
Stephanie explained that even if Gracie is not able to receive a heart, she can live with the machine she currently has for the rest of her life; however, it isn’t an ideal lifestyle. She added that Gracie was an active teen and was a cheerleader before she had heart failure.
“She can’t get the machine wet, so she can’t go swimming. She has to carry a battery pack with cords coming out of her stomach, and she has to clean it everyday and change the dressing around it,” Stephanie explained. “It’s hard because you can see it and she has to always carry the bag around, so she has insecurities. There’s just a lot of stuff she can’t do anymore.”
Stephanie added that everywhere they go, they have to take extra batteries and an extra computer chip in case the batteries die, and she has to plug into the wall at night.
“We also have to go back to UNC once a week, every week for bloodwork and checkups,” she explained.
Despite all that Gracie has been through, Stephanie said she has had a great attitude.
“For a 14-year-old, she’s been really great and she has lifted me up. She’s just really deep-thoughted for her age. When I get sad about it, she lifts me up and says God is using her to bring people closer to Him,” she shared.
Stephanie explained that once Gracie receives a heart, they have been told that they can expect for her to be in the hospital for two weeks while she recovers.
“Then they’ll have to kill off her immune system so her body won’t reject the new heart, and she will be on a lot of medicine for the rest of her life – especially for the first year – taking anti-rejection medicine and medicine to help fight off colds and sickness,” she said.
Stephanie said she is very thankful to the Kernersville Moose Lodge for hosting the benefit for Gracie, which will be helpful in paying medical bills.
“It’s wonderful,” she remarked. “You never know how much people care until you go through something like this. We’ve seen an outpour of generosity, and it’s a little overwhelming because you don’t really know how to thank people.”
During the event on Saturday, August 24, the Kernersville Moose Lodge will have a bake sale and all you can eat hot dogs for $5. There will be a silent auction and a live auction. They are currently selling raffle tickets for a $300 bank card at $10/each.
The Kernersville Moose Lodge is located at 1250 E. Mountain St. in Kernersville. For more information, to purchase tickets or to make a donation, contact Les Leamons at 336-339-9841 or Robbie Tucker at 336-707-0671.

Celebrating 100 years

After turning 100 years old, Kernersville resident Hazel Preston Hutchins reflects on her life of hard work.
Hutchins was born on July 15, 1919 in Belews Creek.
“I was the oldest of seven and we had triplets in the family,” she explained, recalling that she would help rock the babies. “My sister, the second oldest, Stella Hutchings, and I are the only two still living. We married brothers, but in their family, they didn’t spell their last name the same.”
Hutchins explained that her family lived on a farm in the country.
“Daddy farmed and raised tobacco,” she said, as she recalled how hot it was working out in the fields. “We would get that tobacco gum all over our fingers and have a time getting it off our hands.”
Along with raising tobacco, Hutchins said they raised everything they needed.
“We raised everything we ate and once a year, we would get a 100-pound bag of pinto beans. In the summertime we raised everything and we canned so we would have food all winter, including peaches – we had a peach orchard,” she said.
Hutchins attended Walkertown High School and graduated in 1937.
“All grades were in one building, but I started at a county school in Belews Creek. It looked like a two-story house. I went there until the third grade and then went to Walkertown School,” she shared.
Hutchins and her siblings lived off the main road and would walk at least a half mile to catch the bus to get to school. She recalled that boys wore overalls and girls wore dressed.
“I had a study period just before lunch when I was at Walkertown and would work the lunch line so I could get lunch for free,” she said.
She met her late husband Leo “Edgar” Hutchins at a tent revival the summer after she graduated and the two were married in January 1938. They had four children: Calvin, Eugene “Gene,” Roy and Becky Tucker.
Hutchins recalled that dating (“courting”) was much different than it is today. She said they usually would get together on the weekends and Edgar would often come to her house.
Hutchins was a homemaker for several years until she got her first job working at the former Blue Bell factory in Greensboro, where she made overalls.
She explained that she and her family moved around for a bit until they settled in Kernersville in the mid-1940s on Oakhurst Street. She recalled Kernersville looking a lot different then.
“There were no big stores or shopping centers, and back then Harmon Park was about the only park in town and they had a little swimming pool,” she said.
Hutchins never drove and since she lived in downtown Kernersville, she walked everywhere.
“I walked to work and to church,” she said, noting that she later owned and operated Hutchins Studio, where she took portraits of people and developed film. “We developed film for individuals and even for Mr. Carter (former Publisher & Editor) at the Kernersville News.”
Hutchins would develop rolls of film that people brought to her in her dark room.
“We would hang the film up to dry. Depending on the weather, it would take about two-to-three hours to dry,” she said. “I enjoyed meeting new people. I knew just about everybody in town then. Today, I hardly know anyone.”
Hutchins ran the business from 1947 until 1972.
“I closed down when color film became popular,” she said. “After that, I went to work in the cafeteria at Kernersville Elementary School from 1972 until 1985. When I retired, they gave me a certificate.”
She shared some differences in the cost of things and how things were different throughout her life compared to today.
“When I was growing up, you could buy a loaf of bread for five cents, but we didn’t buy much of that because Mama made her own bread,” she said, noting that they also milked their own cows when she lived in Belews Creek.
Once living in Kernersville, Hutchins recalled that there were three grocery stores, including Coltrane Grocery, Musten & Crutchfield, and Cottingham Grocery and Market – two of which she remembered delivered.
Along with having the option of grocery delivery, Hutchins said they also had milk and ice delivered to their house.
“You would put your empty milk bottles on the doorstep every morning and they would give you new ones, and the ice plant on Bodenhamer Street would put ice in the icebox on the back porch and you had to chisel ice off,” she said. “Things sure have changed.”
Hutchins said they didn’t have a television until the 1950s and would sit around the radio as a family to listen to shows, such as “Amos ‘n’ Andy.”
She explained that instead of shopping for all of their clothes, she made many of hers and her daughter’s clothing.
“I also used to sew clothes for other people, like friends and family,” she said.
Hutchins’ daughter, Becky, noted that her mother enjoyed and was good at cooking.
“The neighbors always commented about her biscuits and all the family would get together at her house on Sundays and she would cook,” she shared.
Tucker noted that the Town used to drive a truck around spraying for mosquitoes, and all of the children would chase the truck through the fog on their bikes.
“I can’t believe we did that,” she remarked.
Today, Hutchins has 13 grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren, and three great-great grandchildren.
When asked what she feels has contributed to her longevity, Hutchins said, “I never smoked and I’ve worked hard and stayed busy.”
When asked how she feels about having turned 100 years old, Hutchins remarked, “I can’t believe it.”
To celebrate her birthday, Tucker’s family held a birthday party for her at a local church the Saturday before her birthday. Afterward, Kerwin Baptist Church honored Tucker during a church service where Mayor Dawn Morgan presented her with a proclamation, and then they held a reception afterward.
“On the day of her birthday, her family came and took her out for dinner,” Becky added.

Bike and Build

Kernersville resident Marina Cotarelo shares her story of how her passion for cycling helped others through the organization known as Bike and Build, as she toured across the United States from coast to coast.
Cotarelo explained that Bike and Build is an organization which empowers young adults for a lifetime of service and civic engagement.
Cotarelo first learned about Bike and Build from a friend while she was attending college.
“I had put together a bucket list of things that I wanted to do and one of them was to bike across the country,” she said.
Cotarelo admitted that at the time, she had no real cycling experience; however, because she had a series of knee injuries, it was something that people encouraged her to do.
To prepare for the trip, Cotarelo said it was required that she do at least 500 miles of training and had to volunteer with an affordable housing agency.
“I did my (volunteering) with Habitat Restore in Pennsylvania,” she said, noting that she lived there at the time.
Along with training and volunteering, Cotarelo and the other cyclists also had to do their own fundraising, with funds raised going into a grant program. Participants had to raise a minimum of $5,000.
Cotarelo explained that during the cycling route, which started in Connecticut and ended in California, she biked a total of 4,100 miles over 78 days, with 16 of those days being build days, where they built with affordable housing agencies, and three to four days which they took off to rest.
“We averaged about 72 miles a day and would ride anywhere between 34 to 121 miles a day,” she said.
During the ride, Cotarelo said they had support vehicles carrying their bags and water from one community to the next.
“There were 30 (people) on our route and we will not ride more than three to five people and you cannot ride alone,” she shared.
After waking up each morning, Cotarelo said they took about 15 minutes to pack up their belongings and put them in a trailer, eat breakfast, and met to talk about the expectations for the day and to form the teams they would be riding that day.
Along the route, Cotarelo said they stayed at a lot of churches and schools and camped when they got to national parks out west.
“We operate off of in-kind donations, whether that is food or a roof over our heads. Many churches and schools across the country opened their doors to us for a place to eat and sleep,” she said. “The generosity of strangers that I experienced on this trip is something that will stay with me forever.”
Cotarelo said the purpose of the cross-country ride was to raise awareness and funds for affordable housing and to raise awareness of cyclists’ safety and bike safety; however, she also gained a lifetime of memories along her tour.
“You see things from a completely different perspective and you’re hyper aware of potholes and other things,” she recalled. “You also have the leisure to get off of your bike and explore a shop or a field of sunflowers.”
Some of the things that Cotarelo remembered from the trip included a large ball of twine in Cawker City, Kansas, a house with kangaroos and a helicopter in Texas, and Mark Twain’s hometown in Moberly, Missouri.
Of all the communities that she biked through, Cotarelo said her favorite was Baker, Nevada, where she said the population was a whopping 68.
“We stayed in a tiny church at the foot of a national park,” she said.
She said there were 12 people from the community that came to the church to spend time with them. She said she pulled her phone out to show one of them the route they were taking and mentioned that they had never seen a smartphone before.
Different than the worries one would have while working on deadlines or making a sale, Cotarelo said she worried about her meeting her bare needs, getting to her designated stopping point safely each day, eating enough, being a good steward of the earth and making sure her teammates were doing well.
Cotarelo admitted that there were times that were scary during the 78 days on the road, some of which were close calls from distracted or aggressive drivers. One of those, she said was on Route 34 as they were riding into Loveland, Colorado when a tractor-trailer came too close and about wiped out everyone in her group.
On another day, a fellow rider wasn’t so lucky, she said.
“We were going through Estes Park, Colorado because we wanted to ride the Rocky Mountain Pass,” she said.
Cotarelo said after their group arrived at one host location, they were called down to the gymnasium for a meeting. She said on that day, they learned that one of their crew was killed and one was paralyzed after being hit by a vehicle.
“That is a really scary moment that many people take for granted,” she said.
One other close call that Cotarelo shared was one that was on the last day of their ride, while riding along Route 1 into Half Moon Bay in California.
“One of our riders was going down hill and flipped over into a barbed wire fence,” she said. “She was sent to the hospital, but she was alright.”
As a seasoned cyclist who has witnessed close calls while riding on the road, Cotarelo reminds drivers to stay alert and not drive distracted.
Although there are dangers of cycling on the road, Cotarelo uged not to let it hold you back.
“It’s worth it if you can get over the danger and have the confidence to get out there,” she said.
Six months after completing the cross-country cycling adventure, Cotarelo said she went to Ft. Lauderdale and biked to Key West and back over Christmas break with a friend.
“We were completely self-supported,” she said.
With the ingenious idea of attaching a pool noodle with a bungie cord to their bikes, Cotarelo said they didn’t have any close calls in Florida.
Cotarelo said she completed the Bike and Build cross-country tour in 2016, but more recently completed an alumni ride in December and January in Texas.
“The alumni ride was a small eight-day version of the (cross-country tour),” she said, adding that they did a build day on that ride as well that helps women, who have been victims of domestic violence get back on their feet.
Having participated in these rides, Cotarelo said it has created a small community across the country that she can now connect with and rely on.
Cotarelo added that she learned several things including how generous people are to strangers, “especially members of churches who came in to supply dinner and donate food for our route.”
Cotarelo said she also had the chance to meet some of the families at the build sites who they were building homes for.
“A lot of people take for granted today where they live,” she said.
For more information about Bike and Build, visit bikeandbuild.org.

“Bits & Pieces”

As a first-time author, Carolyn Nowotny helps readers reflect through her newly published devotional, “Bits & Pieces: 52 Reflections on God’s Wisdom.”
Nowotny, who became a life coach about three years ago, said she decided to write the devotional about nine months ago after encouragement from her own life coach.
Nowotny said she wrote the devotional based on wisdom from her personal journals. She explained that as she journals, she sometimes has thoughts or insights that come to her that she attributes to being from God or the Holy Spirit.
“We get wisdom bits by bits,” she said. “That’s the theme of this devotional.”
Nowotny, who attends Project:Re3 and is one of the church’s founding members, explained that her faith is very important to her. Along with being involved with the church, Nowotny homeschools two of her four children and is very involved with the Belarussian Relief Organization.
“That’s why I became a life coach,” she explained. “Along the way, I’ve always had men and women come alongside me and mentor me.”
As a life coach and now an author, Nowotny said this is one way she is trying to give back to all of those who have mentored to her, while also giving back to others.
“I want to help people live a fuller life, one with more meaning,” she shared.
Nowotny explained that the devotional has 52 scriptures, enough for people to reflect on one every week for a year.
“The idea is to do one a week,” she said. “Being a mom with four kids, finding the time to sit down and think about things is hard to find. I did it with busy moms and busy people in mind.”
Along with each scripture, Nowotny has included thoughts about the scripture that have come from her personal journal and how she has reflected on those scriptures. She then asks a question or gives ideas on how the reader can reflect.
“Those are the things I have learned to do throughout the year,” she said, adding that every morning, she takes time to do reflective thinking whether it’s reading scriptures or someone else’s book, or listening to a podcast.
Nowotny noted that with each scripture, she includes an area for writing notes, as well as a page where people can reflect with bullet points or by doodling.
“Not everyone expresses themselves through writing, so I wanted to offer a space for that,” she said as she added that when her son reflects it often comes out as a doodle.
The one scripture from the book that Nowotny said means a lot to her is the fifth one, “Then Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be healed?’” John 5:6
“I like this scripture because that is where personal growth starts. We can sit and stay stuck our entire lives and not know that we need to be healed,” she said.
While some of the scripture in her book she found by reading the Bible, she said this one was one that her pastor brought up during a sermon, one that he took apart for the congregation.
“I just kept coming back to it,” she said.
Having never written before, other than on a few blog posts, Nowotny didn’t realize how much she was going to enjoy writing; however, looking back on high school, she said English was her favorite subject.
Nowotny noted that the process of writing her book only took about three months and she self-published. The book, which is $12, is now available on Amazon.com and will be available at Local Roots Coffee Bar & General Store, located at 247 North Cherry Street.

Foundation recognized

The Declan Donoghue Foundation, which started in Kernersville with their first playground at Harmon Park, received a Special Citation Award from the North Carolina Recreation & Park Association.
The Declan Donoghue Foundation started in February 2011 after Declan passed away in 2010. To honor his legacy, Nicole and Rich Donoghue started the Foundation to help keep Declan’s spirit of play alive by building playgrounds throughout the Triad area.
Declan was born on May 30, 2008. Nicole said he loved being around people, watching his favorite movies and playing outside. However, he suffered many medical ailments, including pneumonia, abnormal bloodwork and unexplained fevers. While Declan’s parents and doctors tried everything they could to help him, they weren’t able to save him. It wasn’t until after he passed away that doctors discovered he had X-linked chronic granulomatous disease.
Nicole said their hope is that these playgrounds will provide joy to children of all ages. Since the Foundation started in Kernersville, it continues to hold their annual Declan’s Dash 5K and Fun Run each spring at the site of the first playground, located at Harmon Park.
Nicole explained that they were honored with the award during the state-wide conference held in Winston-Salem earlier this year.
After presenting the award to Nicole and Rich, Nicole said they then came to Kernersville and presented the award to them in front of the Kernersville Board of Aldermen.
The Special Citation Award is given to people within the parks and recreation industry who have contributed to the industry in a positive way.
“Ernie (Pages) and Kernersville Parks and Recreation Department (KPRD), along with Lee Tillery and Nasha McCray, all came together and nominated us because we have built five playgrounds and have given scholarships in Kernersville for kids to go to camp in the summertime,” Nicole explained.
While the award was supposed to be a surprise, Nicole explained that they figured it out when Pages, who is the KPRD director, asked for them to be available and to attend the conference.
Nicole said they were honored to be selected for the award.
“It was amazing because he mentioned to us that they all came together. As a private nonprofit, one way we have built all these playgrounds is through collaboration with the parks and recreation departments, and a whole extended audience that know the Declan Donoghue Foundation and Declan’s story and the extended spread of his spirit of play,” she said. “It was really great for us to know that our mission and hope for Declan’s legacy is reaching others.”
Nicole noted that they are still committed to doing camp scholarships this year in Kernersville and plan to start construction on the Foundation’s sixth playground this fall.
“With funds raised from last year and this year, we hope to build one this fall in the Triad, but we don’t have a location picked out yet,” she said.
For more information about the Declan Donoghue Foundation, visit www.declansfoundation.org.

Stormwater Professional of the Year

Doug Jewell with Jewell Engineering was named Stormwater Professional of the Year by the North Carolina American Public Works Association (APWA) and was presented with the H. Rooney Malcom Award. The presentation was made at the annual NC APWA Stormwater Division Conference in Winston-Salem.
The award recognizes Jewell’s 40-year career as a stormwater professional and his accomplishments in the design of many physical stormwater structures in North Carolina and neighboring states, his guidance to local municipalities in developing and implementing stormwater management programs and utilities, and his overall support of stormwater engineering and management as a professional endeavor.
This award is named in honor of Dr. Malcom, who was a long-time teacher at North Carolina State University (NCSU) and mentor and friend to stormwater professionals across the country.
Jewell grew up in Wilmington. He attended the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where he earned a degree in zoology and then spent five years in the Navy’s officer candidate school as a flyer. After serving five years active duty, he returned to earn his undergraduate degree from NCSU in water resources in civil engineering in 1979 and a Master’s in Civil Engineering with a concentration in water resources from NCSU.
“I went into stormwater primarily because of Dr. Malcom. I was originally on track to be a structural engineer, but Dr. Malcom took me aside and encouraged me to study water resources,” Jewell said. “He was the chairman of my graduate committee. We were close friends and he was my mentor. We stayed close until he passed away.”
Jewell explained that after thinking about it, water resources made sense because it’s something he has always enjoyed.
“Everything that I’ve enjoyed since I was a child has been around the water – fishing, sailing, etc.,” he said.
Jewell, who continued to serve in the Navy reserves until he retired in 1996, moved with his family to Kernersville in 1983. He started Jewell Engineering in 1996 and moved into their current building on South Main Street in 2000. Jewell and his wife, Nancy, have three children – Doug, Matt and Jane.
Although he is located in Kernersville, Jewell explained that Jewell Engineering works mostly with local governments across the state, from the mountains to the coast.
“We do a lot of flood studies and reporting for clients on flooding issues,” he said. “We also do designing. We did a significant project to restore a very eroded stream and underground piping at Spring Park in Winston-Salem.”
Jewell added that they also do a lot of dam engineering, including one for the Lumbee Tribe in Robinson, NC that was 6,000 feet long, and at Century Park Lake in Kernersville.
Jewell said they also help local governments develop stormwater programs.
Jewell said what he enjoys about stormwater is the people and seeing a finished project.
“It’s gratifying to see something built that you’ve designed and to see it work well,” he said. “I also enjoy helping local governments develop a program that is well run, efficient, sufficient and reliable.”  
Upon receiving the award, Jewell said he was most honored that it was an award named after Dr. Malcom.
 “He was an engineer and was known as Mr. Stormwater. He made it his life’s work to teach the engineering community,” he said. “I was deeply honored to receive the award because it says what I’ve done as a profession for my entire career, that I’ve done well, but also to win an award that is named for my mentor is a major aspect. I just wish he’d been here to see it. He would have been proud.”
Looking back over his 40 years in stormwater resources, Jewell said it isn’t the work that he has done that he remembers.
“What you remember the most are the people. I really value the relationships,” he remarked. “It’s been a delight to do this kind of work and with the people I’ve been able to work with. The clients and peers I have known over my career have been both critical to my success and a delight to know.”

More than books

After having been open for two months at its new location, the Kernersville Library has seen significant growth and is one of the busiest in Forsyth County.
Going from a space that was 5,000 – 7,000 square feet to a building that is 20,000 square feet, Stephanie Kellum, youth services librarian, said they are now significantly larger and have many new additions.
Kellum said they have two small rooms, a conference room that seats six – 12 people and an auditorium that can hold 100 – 150 people.
“This is the first time we’ve had a really big auditorium,” she stated.
She added that the small rooms and conference room are great for tutoring and for businesses who need a conference space for meetings or training. Kellum said you can book the conference room on their website for free, but the meetings cannot be for a private event.
“We also have a nice courtyard outside, which will be nice to use for story time when it starts to get warm,” she said, adding that there are outlets available outside for people to plug their computers into.
Kellum said they have seen an increase in the number of people and families attending story time, as well as people walking through the door each day.
“We have seen a lot of new families and we are making a lot of new library cards,” she said. “Some days, we circulate more items than any other library.”
Included in their additional, Kellum noted that they have a Children’s Room, which is ocean themed and features a large mural on the wall. There are also sensory toys on several of the bookshelves as you walk in for young children to play with. Other things that are new include a play kitchen, a reading nook for kids to climb in for a private, comfortable place to read, and technology.
“We have two children’s gaming computers with educational games and four internet computers, which we didn’t have at the old library. They are for children ages 4 – 12 to use for homework and there is a printer attached,” she shared. “Another great thing we have in this area is a family bathroom, so families don’t have to trek back to the front of the library.”
Kellum noted that they have a new story time room, which they didn’t have before. When they were in their previous location, they had to borrow space from the Senior Center.
“We have been filling that room up every week,” she said. “It’s great for crafts, too.”
With the addition of this room, Kellum said they have been able to open up Lego Storytime to more people.
“This is held on the first Tuesday night of each month at 6 p.m. and is for ages 2 – 5. It’s designed around kindergarten readiness, so we read a book, sing a song and build something on that theme, and then we talk about what they built and read,” she explained.
Kellum said they now have a space just for teens, called the Teen Zone.
“We didn’t have that before at all,” she remarked. “Now, they have a space to hang out and do their homework.”
In the Teen Zone, there are four internet computers that can be used for homework, one gaming computer that has been very popular, and an all teen collection of books, magazines, graphic novels and movies.
“We have two gaming areas for teens and will be getting some video games for them to play, which are very similar to the ones at Central Library,” she said.
Crystal Holland, branch manager for the Kernersville Library, explained that, in total, they have 20 computers, when they previously only had eight.
“That doesn’t include our catalog computers and the two self-checkout computers, which are wildly popular,” she said.
In the adult area, they doubled their soft, comfortable seating and added two coffee tables.
Holland shared that with the move to their new location, the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners approved for them to have one more full-time staff member. The new staff member is Library Assistant Diarra Leggett.
“We’ve expanded our film offerings to include documentaries with directed Q&As and (Leggett) helps to direct these,” she said. “We’ve had one so far. Our next one will be on Friday, February 22.”
Holland added that Leggett is very creative with programming and coordinates the art wall, which currently features local artists from the Water Color Group out of the Senior Center.
Kellum said they have a Maker Space area, which is used for all programs and open craft times.
“We have crafting supplies for people to use in this area, and we will be adding a 3-D printer and two sewing machines for people to use,” she said.
Holland said with the Maker Space, they also have more opportunities for volunteers to help.
“Library Assistant Melissa Lavely is working with this and coordinates the volunteers since we have opened,” she said.
Along with the additional space inside, Kellum noted that outside, they have additional parking for the library.
“We also have a drive-up book drop, so you don’t have to get out of your car,” Holland said.
Holland added that they now are also open seven days a week.
“We are now open on Sundays from 1 – 5 p.m.,” she said.
The Kernersville Library is located at 248 Harmon Ln. For more information, call 336-703-2930 or visit www.forsyth.cc/library/kernersville.

New Walkertown fire chief

After the retirement of longtime serving Fire Chief Wesley Hutchins, Daren Ziglar was voted in as the new chief for the Walkertown Fire Department.
Ziglar first joined the WFD in 1984 at the age of 14 as a cadet. He was also the first in his family to go into fire service. Not long after that, his family joined him.
He explained that in 1989, after his father retired from AT&T, he joined as an EMT. Later, his mom and wife became involved in the Ladies Auxiliary, and now his son David is a captain with the department.
After volunteering as a firefighter with the WFD, Ziglar was promoted and served as a lieutenant for eight years in the 1990s, 12 years as a captain and three years as the assistant chief.
Ziglar said the WFD has had good, steady leadership since the department started in 1953.
“There have only been seven chiefs, and now eight, and only three chiefs since 1989,” he said.
Ziglar was drawn to the fire service after several men in the fire service from his church pushed him toward the field.
“I became a paramedic for the county, which I did for 30 years until I retired in 2018 as the assistant chief of Emergency Services,” he said, noting that he volunteered for the WFD during this time and is now part of the Life Star Emergency Services.
Ziglar said his most proud moment with the WFD is that his whole family has been involved.
“This thing becomes part of our life,” he remarked. “It was time to slow down, but this was a good opportunity. There is a lot of extra work and responsibility as the chief, a commitment for (my wife and I), but it’s part of my life.”
As chief, Ziglar said he has a lot of people depending on him and it’s his job to make sure they go home at the end of the day.
In his new role, Ziglar said he hopes to get more involved with the community and grow the department’s membership. He noted that since he started in January, they have taken in eight new members, six of which have been junior firefighters who are part of the Walkertown High School’s Fire Academy.
“The partnership we have with the Fire Academy has been a good relationship,” he said. “We help them get those last few classes and we like to see their energy.”
Ziglar explained that the fire department has an age gap.
“We’re missing a generation in the fire service, ages 25 – 40,” he said. “We’ve had to adapt to meet the needs of a new generation, but we’re getting new members. It’s a commitment – we’re asking them to commit a lot.”
In order to be a firefighter, Ziglar said they have to put in 36 hours a year minimum, even for the volunteers.
“It’s a sacrifice. They have to give up a lot of time from home to come here. We try to make it a true extended family and that’s what we have to offer,” he remarked. “Having these younger guys helps us old guys feel young again.”
Making their day room more comfortable is something else Ziglar said they are doing to help make things more comfortable for the firefighters at the WFD.
Ziglar shared what he enjoys about the fire service.
“I enjoy being around folks who get that life is more than about yourself, it’s more about caring about their community and the people they serve and wanting to make it a better place,” he said. “We get 900 – 1,000 calls a year, which is almost three a day. Seventy-five percent of what we do is EMS assists or medical calls, and we are fortunate to have an ambulance here.”
Ziglar said there are three things that make a department successful: staff, calls, and the structure and support that bring it all together.
“Being in this department, it becomes part of your life. You want what’s best for your community, your department and the people in it,” he stated. “We have a Board of Directors that is very supportive and having that support is a big help. The fire service is the truest team effort and it takes everyone doing their best to make it work.”
In total, the WFD has 53 members, which include paid and volunteer members, as well as officers and EMTs.
Ziglar encourages anyone who is interested in becoming a member to call the department or stop by to see what is involved and if it is something they would like to pursue.
“It’s a great way to look into a new career, and we take members as young as 14,” he said.
For more information about the WFD or to see information about public education and updates, visit them on Facebook, www.facebook.com/WalkertownFire, and Twitter.

Having fun in art

Sweet, humbling and heartfelt were some of the words David Russell, art teacher for Walkertown Elementary School, used to describe about how he felt when he learned he had been named the school’s Teacher of the Year.
Russell grew up in Kernersville and graduated from East Forsyth High School in 1987. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, he found his first teaching position in East Bend, traveling around to various schools throughout the week for 17 years.
“I came to Walkertown Elementary School in 2014,” he said, recalling that he played on the school’s fields when he played football for the Raiders as a kid. “I felt at home when I got here.”
Russell added that the assistant principal’s mother was his science teacher when he attended middle school at what is now known as Glenn High School, he went to school with the librarian at the school, and the PE teacher’s husband lived in his neighborhood when he was a kid.
Russell said that while he had an influential teacher that steered him toward art, he chose to become a teacher because he likes kids.
“I thought I would rather hang out with kids than adults. I like the energy children have and we have fun in class,” he said. “It’s also fun to see them grow up and learn, and it’s fun to see them in the morning getting dropped off and knowing you can start their morning off in a good way.”
He said one of his college instructors, Chip Holton, was influential in helping him decide to go into art.
“He was a great instructor and he had a great time teaching art,” he stated.
Along with teaching students in his classroom, Russell said he helps with third through fifth grade drop off in the mornings, watches students after school, is the specialist representative for the PTA, is in charge of the school’s sign at the front of the building, and helps with landscaping in the summer.
As a teacher, Russell said he likes to be hands-on and tries to make art fun, while letting students work at their own pace.
“I like to think about what I like to do at that age since I am internally 12,” he laughed.
What Russell said he likes most about being a teacher is the kids.
“I like to see when they have learned something new, and I like being a guide to their creativity,” he stated.
Russell said the students do a lot of different things in his class, such as painting by blowing paint through straws, using yarn, folding origami, zentangles (making repetitive designs inside of their initials) with fifth graders, and more.
“One of my favorite things is seeing the kindergarteners’ reactions when I mix colors. They love seeing when blue and yellow make green,” he said. “I also like being able to be one of the bright moments in their day because we’re having fun.”
Russell said a lot of funny things have happened to him as a teacher, from falling out of his chair and being taped to a wall, to having pies thrown in his face, being hit with water balloons, and wearing a dress to a beauty pageant fundraiser.
When his students look back on having him as a teacher, Russell said he hopes they remember that he always had a smile on his face.
“I also hope they remember that being creative is fun and that trying to help others is very rewarding,” he shared.
When he isn’t teaching art, Russell enjoys spending time with his family and being creative.
When he learned that he had been named WES Teacher of the Year, he was humbled.
“I thought it was sweet, humbling and heartfelt. It gives you a warm feeling inside to know the people you work with know you love your job, and that children are bring praised and nurtured at the school,” he said. “I feel blessed to be around people that are that thoughtful.”