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Pete Edris Left Quite a Legacy

November 3, 2016

peteWarren Peter “Pete” Edris, ex-WWII POW and retired American Airlines captain, died on October 29. He was 95 years old. Edris was born in Mountain Lakes, N.J., and graduated from what was then called Oak Ridge Military Institute. He married Doris Grey Cooke of Kernersville on June 30, 1945. She died in 1988.
Edris was a member of Kernersville Moravian Church and the Greater Greensboro Chapter of the American Ex-POWs.
His memoir, “Dying For Another Day,” chronicles the remarkable story of an airman from the “Greatest Generation.”
Edris served in the 306th Bomb Group, 369th Bomb Squad, which became the basis of the novel and movie, “Twelve O’clock High.”
On March 8, 1943, the B-17 that First Lieutenant Edris was co-piloting was blown out of the sky over Rennes, France by German FW-190 fighter planes.
Edris parachuted to safety. The pilot was killed.
French farmers harbored Edris for a while, but his luck ran out in a Paris apartment on May 15, 1943 when he was arrested by the Gestapo.
They sent him to Fresnes Prison, just south of Paris, where he spent 77 days in solitary confinement, eating potato soup often filled with bugs and worms. He had no soap and no toothbrush.
His next stop was Stalag Luft III, about 100 miles southeast of Berlin. True happenings at Stalag Luft III inspired the movie, “The Great Escape.”
What Edris didn’t know during his incarcerations was what his mother was being told back in the States via telegrams. On March 15, 1943, she was notified that her son had been reported missing in action. On July 11, 1943, she was told he was no longer missing but had been killed in action. On September 11, 1943, she was notified that her son had not been killed, but was a prisoner of the German government.
His next stop was Stalag Luft VIIA in Moosburg, crammed with 130,000 POWs of all nationalities. In his memoir, Edris described it as, “A hellhole if there ever was one. It was a rat nest of tiny compounds separated by barbed wire fences that separated old, rundown barracks.”
General George Patton’s 3rd Army liberated Stalag Luft VIIA on April 29, 1945. Edris would be going home soon, and marrying the love of his life.
In early June, Doris Cooke’s train ride from Greensboro to New York’s Penn Station was way behind schedule.
“I was really getting jittery,” said Edris in his memoir. “Then, all of a sudden, there she was, walking across the terminal. She was glowing like an angel. She looked absolutely gorgeous. We ran full-speed into each other’s arms. I picked her off the floor and we went around and around. We were both crying like babies.”
“I love, you, I love you, I love you,” she said. “Hold me forever, darling. Don’t ever let me go.”

‘Touchpoints of Faith’

October 20, 2016

bruceBruce Boyer, former Chamber of Commerce CEO and president and Kernersville YMCA director, encourages others to strengthen their faith through everyday devotional stories in his newly released book, “Touchpoints of Faith: God’s Word in Daily Life,” which will be available during upcoming books signings on October 27 at the Kernersville YMCA and November 7 at Fountain of Life Lutheran Church.
Boyer said he dedicated his second book to the Christian mission of the YMCA because most YMCAs have a strong Christian emphasis and the first YMCAs were actually Bible study organizations during the Industrial Revolution.
“The purpose of my book is to show examples of how God works in our everyday lives,” Boyer remarked.
Different from his first book in which he wrote all of the devotionals, in his new book Boyer invited 11 guest authors to share their stories in his book.
The book contains 87 stories in 281 pages, which is twice the length of stories from his previous book, “24/7: Stories of Faith from Everyday Life.” The book also contains 12 pages of topical scriptural references, and each chapter is arranged by faith lesson topic. Some of the stories are also written for particular seasons or holidays.
Guest authors include Rosemary Suess, former executive director of the Kernersville YMCA (now at the Y in Clemmons); Larry Whittlesey, national director of the US Mission Network; Terra Lynn Dearth, national director of the YMCA’s Christian Leadership Conferences; Bob Kahle – former director of YMCA Camp Hanes (now at YMCA Fairview Lakes camp in NJ); The Old Gray Goose, former Y director who was a mentor to Boyer; Bruce Ham, chief development officer for the YMCA of the Triangle (Raleigh area); Eric Ellsworth, president & CEO, YMCA of Greater Indianapolis; Gray Stallworth, recently retired YMCA director from Greenwood, SC; Dan Doctor, YMCA volunteer with Christian Leadership Conferences; Bob Warnock, former YMCA director from Los Angeles, CA; and Cliff Christian, Spiritual Life director for the YMCA’s Blue Ridge Assembly (Asheville, NC).
“Many of the stories relate to things that have happened in their YMCAs,” Boyer said. “Nearly all of the stories are true, with many about people and events from Kernersville or recognizable national events. The stories capture people’s interest. Then a faith lesson is developed around the story, which helps people to apply the faith lesson to their personal life.”
Boyer noted that some of the stories include how Doc Long’s Bible literally saved his life; a story about the start of the Pan de Vida missionary (supported by Fountain of Life & the YMCA) in Ecuador; and a story called, “Never Mind, Lord,” which is from a sermon he heard in 1965 while attending a church as a college student.
Boyer said all of the stories have a scriptural reference, question to ask yourself and a closing prayer. There is also an index to allow people to find an appropriate story for their occasion.
“Writing devotional books is a great way to reach people you never get to meet,” he said. “In a subtle way, the book is meant to support Christian teachings. It’s a way for people to relate, identify or picture themselves in the story.”
Boyer said the stories are also useful in starting a meeting where there are people of different denominations and walks of life.
“It really plants the seeds with real life situations of how God is at work,” he said. “I think that when people see how faith can be applied to peoples’ lives, even outside of church, it can increase their interest.”
Along with the 11 guest authors, Boyer also included his own feature story.
Boyer feels his time as the executive director at the YMCA was a ministry.
“When you believe strongly in what and why you are doing something as a career, it really becomes a calling, so I always felt that it was a calling for me – instilling Christian values,” he said.
Boyer served in the YMCA for 34 years, with the last 12 in Kernersville. He has volunteered for past 35 years with the YMCA’s Christian Leadership Conferences (nationally).
Boyer’s first book, “24/7 – Stories of Faith from Everyday Life,” tells the story about his son, Dave Boyer, being lost for six days in the Amazon rainforest. This near tragedy has been re-enacted nationally on two hour-long Discovery Channel shows, a Reader’s Digest article and an appearance on the Oprah show. The miracle of surviving this experience was the catalyst that motivated Boyer to publish devotional stories and to encourage others in the faith.
The first book signing will be held on Thursday, October 27 from 5 – 7 p.m. at the Kernersville YMCA. Suess will also be available for book signings.
The second book signing will be held on Monday, November 7 from 5 – 7 p.m. at Fountain of Life Lutheran Church, located at 323 Hopkins Rd.
Story website: In addition, stories are available on Boyer’s story website, A new story is posted each week. The public is invited to the book signing or you may contact Boyer directly to purchase a book at 336-996-4699.

Kernersville Christmas Stocking

October 11, 2016

christmas-stockingFor 28 years, many of Kernersville’s children and families have been able to wake up on Christmas Day to the joys of seeing what is under the Christmas tree and feasting on a special meal, thanks to the generosity of community members, like you, whose donations make the annual Kernersville Christmas Stocking Fund possible.
Without those generous donations, children and families who benefit from the Christmas Stocking Fund would not have the joys that many residents have on Christmas Day.
The Kernersville Christmas Stocking Fund started over 28 years ago by former Kernersville Moravian Church (KMC) Pastor Truman Dunn, who was very interested in community mission work. With an idea in mind, he sat down with John Owensby (publisher and managing editor of the Kernersville News) and together they came up with the idea for the Christmas Stocking Fund.
The Kernersville Christmas Stocking Fund is now co-sponsored by Kernersville Moravian Church and Kernersville News.
According to Vicky Yates, co-chair for the Kernersville Christmas Stocking Fund, over 200 families and over 300 children were helped last year.
Yates said organizations such as the Kernersville Christmas Stocking Fund are funded solely through the generosity of individuals and local businesses.
“This area of Forsyth County is rated high for folks living in poverty, especially for children, and they are not getting the amount of food they need on a daily basis. This is one way our community can give to families in need at Christmas time,” she said. “The amount of money we receive in donations determines the number of families and children that we are able to help.”
Yates noted that the Kernersville Christmas Stocking Fund is completely run by volunteers.
“Every penny we raise goes straight to the families and children,” she remarked. “We take donations all year long and any donation amount is greatly appreciated by us and our participants.”
Yates clarified that while the Kernersville Christmas Stocking Fund is run through Kernersville Moravian Church and the Kernersville News, the organization belongs to the community.
“We are just the facilitators, but it is a communitywide effort,” she said.
A unique aspect to the campaign is that only Kernersville residents (in the 27284 zip code) who are in need are eligible to apply. Most are referred to the program by schools familiar with family situations, but other organizations also recommend recipients.
Parents then fill out application forms and go through an interview with the church.
“Families come in and fill out an application and we gather as much information as possible to make sure there is a need and that they meet all of the requirements. We hope we can help all the families that qualify,” she said.
Approved families are invited to the church on a specific day in December to receive a Lowes Foods gift card.
“This allows the parents to provide a special dinner for their Christmas or holiday celebration,” she said.
Yates explained that they also give gift cards to families for children 14 and under from a local merchant.
“Giving them the gift cards allows the parents to feel like they are providing for their families for the holiday and choosing a special gift for their child,” she remarked.
In addition to the Lowes Foods gift cards and gift cards for the children, the families will receive a gift bag.
“We are working with local restaurants to get food coupons for the children,” she said. “If any merchants are interested in helping, they can call Kernersville Moravian Church.”
Yates said they are also looking for other types of donations for the families.
“In past years, we had several organizations that donated books, toys, t-shirts and more for the families,” Yates said. “We are looking for donations like this again this year.”
Yates said the gift bags are being assembled by the church’s Community Outreach Committee and added that none of the monetary funds will be used toward the children’s gift bags.
“These are separate from the funds,” she clarified.
Yates said this year Holy Cross Catholic Church is helping to provide Spanish interpreters during the interview process.
Yates offered a few ideas for anyone interested in helping raise funds.
“Have a bake sale, raffle or yard sale. Anything helps,” she said. “Main Street United Methodist Church is having a free Christmas concert on December 2 at 7 p.m. They will be taking a love offering that will be donated to the Kernersville Christmas Stocking Fund.”
Yates noted that Saint Matthew’s Episcopal Church held a book sale and plans to donate the money to the organization.
There is no cut off for sending in contributions. Anything donated after the date of distribution will go toward next year’s Christmas Stocking Fund and 100 percent of all money and other items donated to the Christmas Stocking Fund are used for the families.
This year the goal is to raise $50,000. Last year, they raised almost $40,000.
“We cannot do this without the help of the community,” she said. “We appreciate your contribution in allowing us to share Christmas joy with these families and their children.”
Families will be interviewed on Friday, October 28 from 1:30-7:30 p.m. and Saturday, October 29 from 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. in the Kernersville Moravian Church Activity Building – South Cherry Street parking lot.
Contributions can be mailed to Kernersville Moravian Church, c/o Kernersville Christmas Stocking, 504 S. Main St., Kernersville, N.C. 27284 or Kernersville News, c/o Kernersville Christmas Stocking Fund, PO Box 337, Kernersville, N.C. 27285.
Donations can also be dropped off at the Kernersville News, 300 East Mountain St., Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Need for Speed

October 6, 2016

soundKernersville Attorney John Barrow has been land speed racing for the past eight years and recently returned from the Bonneville Salt Flats, where he attempted to break a land speed record.
“Land speed racing started back at the turn of the century when automobiles (were first mass produced). All of the land speed records from 1910-1913 were set on the beaches of Florida, which made it the best place to do that,” Barrow explained. “It was probably around 1920 when someone went out to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. It’s all white salt and it’s flat.”
Barrow has always had an interest in working on cars, first starting with bikes and lawnmowers.
“I remember trying to take lawnmowers and bicycles apart and trying to put them back together,” he said.
When Barrow first learned about land speed racing, he joined the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA). He noted that he is able to race with the help from his sponsors Triybodyne Racing Lubricants, Unique Powder Coating, and US Industrial Pipe.
“I have been doing circle races since 1991 at Bowman Gray Stadium, racing (modified cars) for about seven years and street stock for seven to eight years,” he said. “It was probably about eight years ago that I got interested in land speed racing.”
What Barrow said he likes most about land speed racing is that with this sport, the racers don’t tear up their cars like they do in circle racing.
After joining the SCTA, Barrow went on the internet, where he found information about the East Coast Timing Association (ECTA) and learned that there are races held in NC.
“The races were held in Maxton, North Carolina at an airport Army base that was built during WWII and used to train glider airplanes,” he said, adding that the airport was perfect because it had a two mile runways, which was necessary for the glider airplanes. “The airport hadn’t been used since the 1960s and was grown up.”
Barrow said the airport had a triangle runway with three legs, including a one mile, a one-and-a-half-mile and a two-mile runway.
“It was in horrible shape, but they fixed it up,” he said. “We used to go down there four to five times a year and any money they made, they used to pave the runways.”
While the airport was the perfect spot for land speed racing, Barrow said they were eventually run off by Griffin Security Group, an anti-terrorism training group.
“So, we left there and went to Wilmington, Ohio, where there was a five-year-old runway that was previously used by a DHL facility. They are still racing there,” he stated.
Barrow said he races there about four times a year with the ECTA. He only goes during cooler weather since automobiles make more horsepower in cooler weather.
Barrow is also a member of the East Coast Flathead Fords Racing Association and races a 1940 Ford Coup with a flathead engine. With that car, Barrow said he has set four land speed records, with the fastest time as 125.6 mph, breaking an old record of 119 mph. That record was set at the Army base in Maxton, NC.
Wanting to go faster and be part of the 200 mph Club, Barrow looked around for a safer car.
“I love racing, but I’m not a dare devil,” he said. “The best class would be to take a stock car, so I found a 2006 Winston Cup chassis.”
Barrow noted that this car can get up to 850-900 horsepower.
“I built that here in Kernersville with a Dodge R5 Winston Cup engine. There was a surplus of these engines because Dodge quit racing in the Winston Cup,” he said. “I bought that car from the Winston Cup Museum about four years ago.”
After taking a year to build the car, Barrow was able to run the car once in Maxton before the ECTA was moved to Wilmington, Ohio.
“I wound up setting a record in Ohio at 201 mph,” he said. “If you break a record, they give you a hat and t-shirt.”
The fastest Barrow said he has ever gotten up to is 209 mph.
Barrow said land speed racing feels a lot like drag racing, except the track is longer.
“I’ve never drag raced before, but this is a lot like that,” he said. “It’s the wildest thing I have ever done. You wind up to 10,000 rpms in each gear. The trick is getting the power to the ground and not going out of control. It throws you back in your seat. It’s crazy, but it’s fun.”
Barrow said the cars go so fast that they need a really long parachute to help them slow down and stop.
“I bought a parachute from a company out of California. I called around to ask them where to mount it and everyone said, ‘I can’t tell you that because of the liability, but if you mount it wrong, it’ll wreck you,’” he said.
Barrow eventually contacted Dave Marcus, an old Winston Cup racer who sent him pictures of how to mount the parachute to his car.
When Barrow first learned about land speed racing, one thing he knew he eventually wanted to do was go to the Bonneville Salt Flats to attempt to set a land speed record; however, due to rain the past two years, he was not able to race. Barrow noted that the salt flats are actually a lake, so there was about an inch of water from the rain. He added that there are four different events held at the Bonneville Salt Flats from August through November.
In 2015, the second year it was rained out, he decided to make the trip to Utah with his son, Ben, without the car, and toured the area.
Barrow said when he signed up this year, he was in luck.
“Ben and I went the second week in August. We took a 30-foot enclosed trailer with the 1940 Ford. It took two days to get through inspection,” he said, as he explained that there were 850 cars. “We stayed about a week, but you really only get to run about once a day.”
When Barrow and his son pulled onto the salt flats, he said it was pure white salt. The only way they knew where they were going was by following orange cones.
“They told us to stay to the right of the cones, and we drove 2-4 miles. The pits are 2-3 miles long. One mile parallel to the pits is ‘the long track’ about nine miles long and was for really fast cars. They had some cars that went over 400 mph,” he said. “This year they had a short track and a rookie track. You run for one mile and they time the next two miles for you on a five-mile track.”
The fastest Barrow said he got up to out there was 124 mph, while trying to break a 135 mph record.
“When I raced on the salt flats, I raced in a class called Vintage Gas Altered, and I had to take off the fenders,” he explained.
Barrow is currently building a 1953 Studebaker with a Winston Cup Engine with plans to race it at the Bonneville Salt Flats in 2018 and get up to 260 mph. Next year, his goal is to set a record with his 1940 Ford Coup.

Tour of Mont Blanc

August 25, 2016

hikeAfter getting married in May, Dr. Darian Smith and his wife, Nicole, chose to spend their honeymoon doing something out of the ordinary, hiking one of the world’s most beautiful long distance trails, passing through France, Italy, and Switzerland.
While many people are lured to the beauty of the Alps, but only wanting to enjoy them from small European towns, Darian and Nicole, who both enjoy the great outdoors, were not only drawn to their beauty, but also the challenge that the majestic mountains offer.
“We wanted something that would be authentic, something challenging we could grow from and something that would give us memories we could share with our future children,” said Nicole.
“It’s also one of the top hiking destinations in the world for backpackers,” Darian added.
What also drew the couple to the area was that Darian had an interest in running the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc (ULMB), an ultra marathon. After hiking and running additional mileage along the route each day, Darian’s interest has only grown.
Previous to the trip, Darian and Nicole trained by hiking with packs around Pilot Mountain, running and getting in any cardio they could.
After training and purchasing a topographic map and a guide book, “The Tour of Mont Blanc: Complete two-way trekking guide” by Kev Reynolds, they set out for their trip on July 19. After traveling to their starting point in Italy, Darian and Nicole averaged 11 miles over the course of eight days, and finished on the ninth day by pushing their limits and hiking 18 ½ miles.
While hiking, Darian and Nicole carried packs weighing roughly 25 pounds, which held their sleeping bags, tent, food and cooking supplies, first aid kit, rain gear, extra layers for warmth, and sunscreen. To save weight, they opted to not carry sleeping pads.
“Extra layers were very important because of the elevation changes and because it got cold at night,” Darian said. “We also hiked through snow, but we were there when they had the least amount of snow, which is in mid-July and August.”
Darian and Nicole met many other people, including seasoned hikers who had hiked the trail multiple times.
“We met a British couple and another British guy who had hiked the trail four times. He was retired from the British Army,” Nicole said. “We also met a family from the Netherlands and a young couple from Canada.”
“We averaged seeing 20-30 people daily and would see the same people because we would do accordion style hiking and pass each other,” Darian said.
With over 100 miles to cover, there were many different options for bedding down each night, from sleeping in a tent to staying in a warm bed in a hostel.
“We stayed in two high-altitude hostels (refuge), and we stayed in one hotel. The rest of the time, we camped in our tent at a campground,” Nicole said.
Darian added, “They discourage you from setting up camp on the trail, but we came real close to camping on the side of the trail in Switzerland because it was pouring rain. There was one tent set up and it was flooded. Luckily, we ended up getting into one of the high altitude hostels, where they feed you breakfast and dinner. Everyone was happy to be there.”
Nicole explained that the first one they stayed in had 20 beds in one room.
“They had a coin shower that gave you two minutes of water and only a minute of it is warm water,” she said. “The other refuge was the complete opposite. We had our own room with our own bed and we shared the shower on the hall, but it had warm water the whole time. That’s the one we stayed in after the rainstorm.”
Nicole and Darian also faced challenges with steep climbs along Mont Blanc.
“One of the most difficult parts was Fenetre d’Arpette, which was a true mountain pass, where you’re gaining 3,000 feet over boulder and ice fields with really steep places where you’d have had to have three points of contact,” Darian shared.
Nicole said the hardest part for her was when they reached the top of the pass and were going back down the boulder field, essentially climbing down what they had just climbed up, but on the opposite side.
“It was challenging physically, but I liked it,” she said, adding that there was a rewarding view from the pass. “To the left as you are going down, you have a view of this massive glacier, called Glacier du Trient. It was so beautiful. It was an alternate route we took. I was really nervous about doing it in the beginning, but I’m so glad we did.”
Nicole said there were several alternate routes they could choose from that were more challenging.
Darian stated that the most difficult part of hiking Mont Blanc was staying the course.
“I think the most difficult thing was just making sure we were going in the right direction the whole time. The trails were marked really well, except in France. Sometimes the distances and times were off, but their signs were the prettiest. In Switzerland, everything was so pretty and perfect; and Italy over did their signs,” he said.
Darian and Nicole encountered a few high altitude storms with sleet. On their first day, Nicole said after taking an alternate route, they ran into a lot of scree (loose stones), causing their feet to slide more than usual.
Nicole said at the end of difficult days she was usually really sore, but because they were well fed and rested, when she got up in the morning, it was like starting fresh.
As for the food, they really enjoyed the cheese, sausage and chocolate they found along the Tour of Mont Blanc.
“Most days you pass through a town and every two or three days we would re-supply at a town market, and sometimes the campgrounds would have beer. When we stopped, we would stock up on cheese, sausage, chocolate,” Darian said. “We started with dehydrated American food and ended up eating sausage, cheese, chocolate, and peanut butter. The peanut butter saved our lives in calories. We put it on everything.”
Although there were some challenges along the Tour of Mont Blanc, the beauty and memories made it all worthwhile.
“I liked when we hiked up the Col de Tricot. It was just a really long hike; we were looking forward to eating lunch,” Darian said. “There was a herd of sheep that kept trying to nibble on our packs. We had to kind of push them away.”
Nicole and Darian also saw marmots, falcons, cows grazing on high altitude pastures, donkeys, horses, and miniature donkeys and horses.
Nicole said her favorite moment was at Refuge d’ Elisabetta in Italy.
“This was my favorite because we were going to have a tough trek, so we treated ourselves to lunch. We ended up running into this interesting hiker who recommended that we go to (Refuge d’ Elisabetta) to eat,” she explained. “They served fresh pasta and gnocchi. They also have amazing espresso, which kept us going. It was freezing at the peak, where we ate. I ate the lasagna and Darian got the gnocchi.”
Another great moment for Darian and Nicole was when they were presented with a bottle of champagne at their campground, called La Fouly, in Switzerland.
“They gave us a bottle of champagne because they knew we were on our honeymoon,” Nicole stated.
In reminiscing about the beauty along the Tour of Mont Blanc, they said the entire trail was beautiful; however, their most beautiful memory was on the Italian side.
“You had 8,000 feet of rock, ice and glacier in front of you and you are already at 7,000 feet. The Alps just rise up so steeply. They aren’t as high as other mountain ranges, but they rise up so steeply so the valleys are very narrow because of it,” Darian said, adding that one of his favorite photographs he took along the trail was an outline of Nicole leaning against a tree in the shadows with a view of the snowy white capped peaks behind her.
After completing the challenging trail, Nicole and Darian are looking forward to doing more memorable adventures in the future.

Kernersville Street Church

August 23, 2016

copesLuke and Anna Cope will kick off the opening of Kernersville Street Church on September 4 during a block party at Interactive Resource Center (IRC) to serve the homeless community.
Luke and Anna both grew up in Kernersville, graduating from East Forsyth and Glenn high schools.
While Anna works with youth at Tumblebee’s in Greensboro as a gymnastics coach, Luke transitioned from working at The Summit to working on opening their church, which is located at 310 Smith Edwards Road.
Luke explained that the idea for the church grew out of his interest in offering a church that focuses more outwardly on local missions.
“When I was 17, I started working on staff at The Summit Church, but I was also in a Christian band with Chris Barrans, called Vital Cadence, and we had dreams of doing church a little different than it has ever been done,” he said. “Church has been more about bringing people in than serving the community. I love corporate church and what they’re doing, I just have a desire to do it differently.”
Luke left The Summit in January and in March, he, Anna and five other families have been discussing their ideas for Kernersville Street Church. He said the goal for Kernersville Street Church is to be a place for people to come together, but also to serve, first.
“There are also a lot of people our age who want to feel a calling to something and that’s what we want to provide. We want to provide an opportunity for people in the Triad to get out of their comfort zone and serve,” he said. “There is only so much you can get out of sitting in a seat at a church. We want to be hands-on and create a church to serve other people, but also provide an opportunity for people to serve others.”
Luke said he wants to serve locally because of the large need in the area.
“Winston-Salem, Greensboro and High Point are ranked nationally as a place where people cannot put food on the table. I believe there is good in doing (international) missions, but there’s a lot we need to do locally,” he said.
Luke noted that Kernersville Street Church meets in an old race garage on Smith Edwards Road; therefore, they have no overhead.
“We have no overhead, so I feel that the other stuff will fall into place,” he said.
Luke explained that their main targets will be to serve the homeless community through IRC in Greensboro and Naaman’s Recovery Village in High Point.
“Our first serve project will be on September 4. We are doing a Labor Day block party, where we will be grilling out and doing corn hole and things like that. We want to give them something fun and love on the staff there,” he said, noting that they want to help the homeless and the people who are in danger of becoming homeless. “The reality is that being homeless or becoming homeless can happen to anyone.”
Luke explained that Naaman’s Recovery Village is a Christ-centered rehabilitation facility for men in High Point.
“Because the guys are trying to get clean, they are having to start from the bottom, which makes it easier to fall back into their addiction because it’s stressful,” he said. “Mark, the owner, has provided a place for them and opened a thrift store at the end of the street so they can earn some money. We’ve helped them with groceries and plan to continue to help them so they don’t fall back into their addiction.”
Luke shared that they held a block party for Naaman’s Recovery Village, as well.
“It’s an opportunity for them to get their mind off of things,” he said. “God cares as much about you as anybody else. He doesn’t care who you are, where you’ve been, or what you’ve done. We don’t want to be a church that just says that, but models it.”
Kernersville Street Church will meet every Sunday for worship at 10 a.m., and will serve every other week, following the service, using Naaman’s Recovery Village and IRC as their two main ministries.
“September 4 will be a mini church opportunity for us to grow spiritually, and in March or April of next year, we will do a hard launch. We will be building it up until then,” he said.
Kernersville Street Church is located at 310 Smith Edwards Road. For more information, visit them on Facebook,, or call 336-908-2619.

New Executive Director

August 18, 2016

erinAs Rosemary Seuss left the YMCA’s Kernersville branch to help at another location, Erin Craver is being welcomed in as the Kernersville YMCA’s new executive director with her passion for working with children.
Craver grew up in Winston-Salem and graduated from Reynolds High School in 1997. After high school, she attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she double majored in psychology and human development and family relations.
Craver started out with an interest in pre-law, but soon realized she wanted to work with children.
After college, Craver worked at SCAN (Stop Child Abuse Now) before she took a position at the William G. White, Jr. Family YMCA in Winston-Salem.
“I enjoyed working at SCAN, but it was a very trying position,” she said. “At the Y, I still got to fulfill my passion for kids.”
Craver said she started out at William G. White, Jr. Family YMCA as the family life director, overseeing camps and childcare, as well as special events such as birthday parties and Healthy Kids Day.
Craver said her biggest passion and priority is to help equip families and their kids with what they need in order to develop confidence.
“I think a lot of times, you have to help build character and confidence, whether it’s a child or adult. The Y has very intentional programs to help do that and that’s what I fell in love with at the Y and that is why I have stayed with them for 10 years,” she explained. “What intrigues me about youth and their family is that it does take a village to raise a kid and the Y is perfectly situated to reach both the community and families.”
Having the experience she gained in her previous position, Craver is confident in continuing the growth of the Kernersville Y and is looking forward to building programs.
“I am looking forward to getting to know the community better, meeting new faces and reconnecting with people from when I was younger,” she said. “I look forward to my stretched goal to grow the membership and programming, and inviting the community in and getting to know the YMCA. I think there is a lot of untapped potential here in the community.”
In getting to know the community, Craver has also joined the Kernersville Rotary Club.
“I am finding different ways to get embedded in the community,” she said. “I like to meet new people and I am thrilled.”
Craver shared that in building on the programs at the Kernersville YMCA, they have recently hired a new full-time staff person to oversee their exercise programs.
“My immediate goals are to provide more group exercise programs. We are more than just a gym and swimming. I think it’s important to help people reach their potential,” she said.
Craver said in the near future they will be redesigning the wellness room, where the cardio equipment is located.
“We want to get some color on the walls,” she remarked.
Craver is glad she had the opportunity to come in during the Bright Beginnings Program.
“I’m very excited to have been here when Bright Beginnings was going on. At the YMCA I came from, they didn’t have that. Seeing this program, it touched my heart,” she said. “We served 124 kids that day and that was just the kids we took shopping. I am very thankful to all the donors who helped us.”
Craver noted that they have backpacks with supplies left over that they will drop off for children in Kernersville schools who are in need who may not have been able to go shopping through the Bright Beginnings Program.
Craver and her husband, Jon, have two children, Elijah, 16, and Charlie, 20 months.

Summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro

August 11, 2016

kilimanjaroIn July, local teacher Lyn Irving completed a summit hike up Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa.
Irving started the actual hike on July 12 with roughly 30 miles to tackle.
“The route down was shorter,” she said. “There are five different trails to the top. I did the Lemosho route. You are required to have a guide.”
Irving noted that there are over 300 guides in Tanzania and the lengths of the treks are 5-10 days up the mountain.
“We chose a trip that took us eight days because it’s less traveled and more successful,” she said. “You don’t do much mileage on an eight-day trip, but there is a 90 percent success rate.”
Irving said there are a lot of people in Tanzania who speak English, but most don’t.
“There are 120 tribes there and each one has their own individual language. Swahili is the main language. Even if they do speak English, you have a hard time understanding them,” she shared.
On the route Irving took, she went through every single climate zone, including tropical rainforest the first day, followed by heath, moorland, alpine, desert, and ended with an arctic climate at the summit.
“It’s really cold at the top,” she remarked. “We were told to wear seven to eight layers on top and four layers on bottom, and we could remove layers if we needed. I ended up removing two layers on top. I am sure that is the most I have ever had on at one time.”
Contrary to the summit, on the second day on the mountain, Irving said it was really, really hot.
“You had to pack everything,” she said. “You had to have shorts, tank tops and arctic coats.”
With taking the trail that had a 90 percent success rate, Irving said all five people in her group made it to the top and back down.
“We had a 22-year-old boy from Pittsburgh, two women, 43 and 44, from Las Vegas, and me and my friend,” she said. “To get us up the mountain, we had 23 people including 20 porters, one guide and two assistants. The porters carried a big tent, a cooking tent, and a toilet that they put in a tent.”
Irving said the cost to summit the mountain ranges anywhere from $1,800 – $7,000. It ended up costing her around $2,200.
“The low-end group didn’t carry any medical stuff. I think you would have gotten much fancier food with the more pricey ones,” she said. “That is probably the most expensive trip I have ever taken, especially since we did a safari afterwards.”
Out of the eight days Irving was on Mount Kilimanjaro, she said they spent six-and-a-half days working their way to the top, and one-and-a-half days to get down.
“On day five, we went up the Barranco Wall, which was the hardest day up to that point because it was a lot of rock scrambling,” she said. “I enjoyed the rock scrambling but my friend did not.”
Irving explained that the porters hike ahead of the hikers so they don’t see them. Then when the hikers get to their stopping point at the end of the day, everything is already set up.
“You carry a daypack with water and the porters carry all your extra gear,” she shared. “We would stop at about 2:00 everyday, but would hike through lunch, then around 4:00, we would go out for an acclimation hike for about two hours, which was an out and back hike. Being so close to the equator, it’s pretty much 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark.”
Irving said every morning and evening the porters would sing in their native language.
“When you would come into camp they would come out and sing. Each morning they would do repetition and put our names in. The song meant iron pipe and that we were strong,” she recalled.
Irving said what she enjoyed the most about her trip was making it to the top.
“It gives you the feeling of achievement, but I enjoyed the whole trip,” she said, sharing more about “summit day.” “On summit day, they start at midnight. That day we did not do an acclimation hike the night before. Instead we ate dinner early and slept from 6 – 11 p.m. Then they got us up. Normally, we only had three guides, but on this day they added three more porters to carry additional things like oxygen and hot tea.”
She continued.
“We started at midnight and that was by far the hardest day. For me personally, long, continuous uphills are a lot harder than rock scrambles. I got to the summit at 7 a.m. and I was worn out. I am not sure what the mileage was to the top,” she said.
Irving said to start the descent, they hiked back to their tents, took a two hour nap, ate lunch and then descended further.
“From that point, we took a different trail,” she said.
Although Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest mountain at 19,341 feet at the summit, Irving said she never felt like there was too much exposure or that she feared for her life.
“I would recommend this trip to other people. I think any hiker could do it. You don’t need to be a backpacker because you don’t need to carry anymore than you would in a daypack,” she said. “You never know who is going to have altitude sickness, and it’s not a real technical hike.”
Irving said she was among one of the oldest hikers on the mountain while she was there.
“At each camp, there is a station that has a big book that you have to put your name, country, outfitter, guide’s name, where you stayed the night before and your age. After about the third night, I said, ‘I am the only person in my 60s. Most people out there are fairly young. My friend, Shari Altman, did find someone that was 66,” she said.
Along with hiking the John Muir Trail, featured in the Saturday-Sunday, August 6 & 7 edition, and Mt. Kilimanjaro, Irving has also hiked the Wind River Range in Wyoming, the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru, and Longs Peak in Colorado, to name a few.

Thanking Kernersville Police

July 14, 2016

policeLast Thursday night, the nation watched in horror as five Dallas police officers were gunned down by a deranged killer. Nine others, including two civilians, were wounded in an attack that has been described as the worst loss of law enforcement life since 9/11.
On Friday, the local community came out to show its support for the men and women of the Kernersville Police Department who go out every day to protect and serve the town’s citizens, to tell them thank you and that not everyone hates police officers.
From sweet treats, drinks, flowers, cards and balloons, the officers were inundated with gifts, and visitors offered them kind words and supportive hugs to let them know they are appreciated.
One of those was an African American family, and Officer Blake Jones, the KPD’s crime prevention officer, described their visit in a post to the Town’s Facebook page.
“This afternoon an African American family came to the PD and gave us gifts. They told us ‘all black people are not bad!’ Officer Kearns smiled and hugged them and told them, ‘We already knew that, but thanks for showing it to us.’”
That officer is Officer Melissa Kearns, a relatively new member of the KPD who was sworn to duty in January.
“It was something I’ve never felt before. It gave me goosebumps every time I hugged someone,” said Kearns after the experience.
Kearns took the time to visit the family at their home and she and other officers went to Fourth of July Park on Saturday where they shot hoops and had fun with the kids there.
Someone posted on the Town’s Facebook page that she saw the interaction between officers and kids at the park on Saturday, writing: “We actually got the pleasure of watching from a distance yesterday as these great folks enjoyed the afternoon in the park. Watching one of the officers learning to skateboard was priceless! Many thanks for your service to our community and hats off for the many ways you strive to become a genuine part of the people living here.”
The support didn’t stop there. On Monday, Jenny Fulton, of Miss Jenny’s Pickles, stopped by the KPD to drop off several jars of her pickles to show her care and concern for Kernersville’s police officers.
Fulton said she dropped off the pickles because she wanted to remind the officers they are “truly appreciated here in Kernersville.”
“It was the least I could do given the recent tragedies in our country,” said Fulton.
Later Monday evening, two officers who went out to eat received a different type of show of support. When they got their bill, it had a note written on the back that said, “Thank you for protecting us. We really appreciate your wonderful service to the community. We all love you guys. God bless you.”
In posting the note online, Officer Jones responded, “Thanks to whomever blessed us with this note and we greatly appreciate it! God is watching over all of us!!! Thanks.”
Jones offered his thanks and the gratitude of the entire KPD in responding to the outpouring the department received over the weekend and beyond.
“Over the past few days the Kernersville Police Department has received a magnitude of gifts in the form of treats, drinks, flowers, cards, and offers for monetary donations. This country is going through hard times. Some cities have it harder than others. In Kernersville we have been very blessed with the people in the community, the emergency services we have, and most of all blessed to have God watching over us,” Jones said. “On behalf of the Town Of Kernersville and the police department, we want to say thank you to the people for taking care of us. It’s easy to get sucked into the hate. It’s easy to start to believe that what happens in some communities must exist everywhere. It’s hard to make a stand and show that we support each other. It takes work.”
He continued.
“As officers, we know that there are people who produce negativity and people who produce positivity. They come in all shapes and sizes and quite often people have a tendency to produce both in a lifetime. As we continue to grow, there are always growing pains. Some pains are worse than others. Let us all continue to produce positivity in our community and continue to set the example. Thanks to all who have prayed for police and other emergency personnel and please continue your support. We will always need it.
Thank you and God bless!”

Matthew McAlexander Memorial Scholarship

July 11, 2016

mcalexanderMatthew McAlexander, a young Kernersville man who died after a boating accident in Nebraska five years ago, was a selfless and giving person to friends, family and the community, and it is that spirit of kindness and generosity those close to him want people to remember.
As the five-year anniversary of McAlexander’s death approached last week, his cousin, Lauren McAlexander, kicked off a CrowdRise fundraising campaign in the hopes of raising $10,000 toward the Matthew McAlexander Memorial Scholarship that was established in his memory in 2012.
“When tossing around ideas of how we could honor Matthew following his death, plenty of ideas were passed around, but we eventually settled on a scholarship fund. Matthew by no means lived a lavish lifestyle and worked very hard to get where he was. We wanted to help other kids who, like him, had a passion to do something but maybe not the monetary means,” said McAlexander. “This is the best way we felt we could help the community to further their education and follow their dreams.”
McAlexander grew up in Kernersville and served as a firefighter and EMT at Piney Grove Fire and Rescue Department. He and his younger brother, Joshua Rowley, 12, were in Nebraska in July 2011 visiting family when the accident occurred. The two were being pulled by a boat on Sherman Lake on July 3 when they were struck by a pontoon boat. Rowley died at the scene and McAlexander succumbed to his injuries two days later without ever regaining consciousness.
The driver of the pontoon boat, a 39-year-old Nebraska man, was charged with boating under the influence (BUI) and sentenced to 18-months of probation for the accident. The initial charges against the man included two counts of manslaughter, but those were dropped after he agreed to plea no contest to the BUI charge.
Lauren McAlexander said Thursday that her cousin was a big part of not only her life, but in the lives of most everyone who knew and loved him. And he grew up always wanting to help others.
“Matthew was my older cousin but served more as the older brother I never had. He was a huge family man and would do anything in his power to protect us,” McAlexander shared. “Ever since I can remember, he wanted to be in some sort of public service. From a young age, he would talk to my dad, a retired cop from Charlotte Metro Police Department, about how to make the world a better place. Up until the day he passed away, he worked diligently to better the world around him.”
Since the Matthew McAlexander Memorial Scholarship was set up, two have been awarded totaling $1,100, and then one of those was renewed this year for $500, McAlexander said.
“The scholarship was created in the beginning of 2012 by the McAlexander family, but there was not enough money to begin awarding significant scholarships until 2014,” explained McAlexander.
She continued.
“We want to do so much more. We want to make a significant difference in the lives of these students, which is why donations from friends, family members and strangers alike are integral,” McAlexander said.
According to McAlexander, the scholarship was set up through the Foundation For The Carolinas (FFTC), which helps to maintain and manage the scholarship fund without the concern of where the money is actually going. She added that it is an endowed scholarship and permanent legacy fund, with its assets held irrevocably and in perpetuity by the FFTC.
In kicking off the fundraising campaign for the scholarship fund, McAlexander issued a challenge to the friends and family of her cousin. On the page site, she wrote the following:
“Matthew McAlexander was a young man we all loved, valued and enjoyed. As a Firefighter/EMT at Piney Grove Fire Department in Kernersville, North Carolina, Matt was selfless and truly giving to his community. Matt was a trusted friend, confidant, musician and the type of person who would go out of his way to make someone feel better about any situation they found themselves in.
“On July 5, 2011, Matt was tragically taken from us before the magnitude of his influence could be fully realized. Today, we have the opportunity to honor Matthew and all the good he stood for. We are asking his friends, family and brothers and sisters in Public Safety to assist us in honoring this young man who gave so much to his community.
“We have partnered with the Foundation For The Carolinas (FFTC) to maintain and manage the Matthew McAlexander Memorial Scholarship. To date, we have awarded three scholarships to deserving students who like Matt, make a difference in the world around them on a day-to-day basis.
“On this 5 year anniversary, we are challenging the people who knew and loved Matthew to raise $100 in his honor. In doing so, this will allow the scholarship to sustain itself and assist individuals in the community to follow their dreams.
“This is for the 100 phone calls Matthew made to check in on people. The 100 text messages he sent to remind you he was thinking of you. The 100’s of miles he drove to spend time with his loved ones. The 100’s of hugs and smiles he blessed us with every time we were in his presence. This is for Matthew.”
In addition to the CrowdRise site, there are other ways donors can support the scholarship fund.
“The best and most preferred way for people to donate is to visit the foundation’s website and donate directly there. They can do this by going to ‘Foundation For The Carolinas – FFTC’ and click on ‘donate online’ and select the Matthew McAlexander Memorial Scholarship and follow the directions to donate,” explained McAlexander.
What is it that McAlexander most wants people to know about Matt?
“I think the most important thing for people to know about Matt if they didn’t have the opportunity to is that he loved people and his community more than himself. He was a loyal family member and friend and always put others first. He was a dedicated fireman to Piney Grove Fire Department where he would work as much as he could and help as many people as he could. He was a truly wonderful young man and we are still, to this day, devastated by the loss. Our lives have not been the same since that day, but we look forward to helping others in his name,” she said.