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The Monday, Dec. 12 ribbon cutting at the new Piedmont Lithium Cherryville branch office at 116 E. Main Street. CAO Kris McVey cuts the ceremonial ribbon. COO Patrick Brindle (in green shirt) stands to Ms. McVey’s right, as a host of Cherryville city officials and staff and Piedmont Lithium staff beam with pride at having a new business on Main Street. (photos by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media

International company Piedmont Lithium opens Cherryville office

Cherryville High School Education Foundation receives check for $10,000 from lithium company


On Monday, Dec. 12, Piedmont Lithium opened a branch office in Cherryville in the newly redone Belk Building, located on Main Street.
Piedmont, listed as “…a leading global developer of lithium resources critical to the U.S. electric vehicle supply chain,” announced the opening of a new office at 116 E Main St., Suite 100, adding in a media release, “The space will serve as a hub for community engagement related to our proposed Carolina Lithium project as well as the headquarters for the Piedmont Lithium Foundation: Power for Life.” They will still maintain their office in Belmont, N.C., as well, said Chief Administrative Officer, Krishna “Kris” Y. McVey.
The event – a ribbon-cutting ceremony – was hosted by the Cherryville Chamber of Commerce and attended by chamber officials, elected officials of Cherryville, and other key members of the community. One of the highlights of the event was the presentation of a facsimile check for $10,000 to the Cherryville High School Education Foundation, received by its representative, Ms. Nan Davis.
The special gift/donation, noted Ms. McVey and Ms. Davis, provides “…support (for) the group’s 2023 operating budget.” Ms. Davis also noted that CHSEF has, since CHSEF’s inception in 2010, awarded “close to $400,000” to help and support the high school’s teachers.
Welcoming PL to the historical Cherryville downtown location was Mayor H.L. Beam, III, who said, “Thank you for choosing us and being willing to answer all our questions about the planned project.”
Chamber Board President Pete Craft also welcomed the mining company to Cherryville’s Main Street. He introduced Downtown
Director David  Day,  who spoke briefly, saying, “We are excited to have you here, and glad to have you all as another one of the 15 to 16 new businesses now located on Main Street.”
Next up was Piedmont Chief Operating Officer Patrick Brindle, who welcomed everyone for coming out. He said the Company is pleased to open office space near its proposed Carolina Lithium project.
“Although we have our headquarters in Belmont, N.C., it’s important for us have to a strong presence in Cherryville as we invest in the region and progress in our plans for Carolina Lithium. We are excited about this new home for our community engagement and philanthropic activities,” he said.
Brindle noted also Piedmont plans to invest nearly $1 billion to build the proposed Carolina Lithium project as a fully integrated operation within the renowned Carolina Tin-Spodumene Belt.  That project is expected, as was noted in the company’s media release, “…to be one of the most sustainable lithium hydroxide operations in the world. Carolina Lithium is being designed to produce 30,000 metric tons of lithium hydroxide per year when fully operational while providing more than 420 direct jobs to the region.”
Piedmont – founded in 2016, said Brindle, – has as its goal “…to obtain primary construction and operating permits as well as necessary approvals for Carolina Lithium in 2023, commence construction in 2024, and begin production of spodumene concentrate and lithium hydroxide in 2026.”
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This year’s Parade Grand Marshal is the long-time Ironmen ball boy; a major Ironmen fan; and all-around great guy, Mr. Lee Roy Montgomery, of Cherryville High School. Driving Grand Marshal Montgomery was local businessman, Terry Bell. (photos by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media and Susan L. Powell)

2022’s Cherryville Christmas Parade one of the largest ever

Santa; floats; beloved Grand Marshal; lots of trucks and a very big crowd make this holiday parade great!


Once again, a longer, larger, chock full of fun 2022 Cherryville Christmas Parade made for a wonderful Saturday morning on Dec. 10 as a huge crowd of folks came out, lining Main Street, to start the holiday season right.
And nobody – small-town-wise – does holidays any better than the folks at Cherryville Chamber of Commerce and the City of Cherryville (Where Life Blossoms), whether it’s a summer holiday festival or this season’s favorite, the Annual Cherryville Christmas Parade.
This year’s Grand Marshal was CHS’ Lee Roy Montgomery, who was all smiles and waved to everyone shouting out, “Merry Christmas!”, greeting all those who turned out on Saturday, Dec. 10, braving chilly, overcast weather, to enjoy the bright floats and to get a glimpse of Santa himself! It really was beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
The Chamber’s Mary Beth Tackett noted that things this year looked wonderful as many lined the streets, once again happy to be able to be out and among others, enjoying the pleasant weather and getting to experience one of the area’s premier Christmas parades. The joy on everyone’s faces was infectious, to say the least.
The annual Christmas Parade has a long history, with no one quite sure when the first one took place, though the estimates have been put at “about 25 to 30 years or more, or thereabouts,” according to one citizen who asked not to be named and who said he has lived here all his life.
Tackett said the Christmas Parade came together well enough again this year, with only a minor glitch or two. Still, she was very pleased to see it get started and wind its way down Main Street.
As far as crowd numbers went, Tackett said she was unable to accurately gauge such since she doesn’t actually get to ride in the parade, but she noted she heard from a number of folks this was another large crowd for this event.
It has been noted in the past by Mrs. Tackett that, “The Christmas Parade, like the other events we do, brings people that might not be familiar with our downtown area to Cherryville. It gives them a chance to see businesses and restaurants they might not see while traveling on (Hwy.) 150. With that being said, we hope they will stay, shop, and grab a bite while they are here. And come back to see us!”
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Santa Claus (a.k.a Santa Floyd) gets a big hug from this little girl who waited for her chance to sit on his lap and tell him what she wanted for Christmas. (photo provided)

Huge crowd turns out for 2022 Cherryville’s Who-Ville celebration

Much-loved event showcases city’s ability to draw folks from miles around with entertaining activities; themes


People were ready for this year’s Who-Ville, and boy were they ever! The Cherryville event’s organizers estimated that between 8,000 to 9,000 people poured in to the city “Where Life Blossoms” last Friday night, Dec. 2, 2022,  to see what has rapidly become an event equally as well attended and as famous as the City’s famed Fourth of July celebration.
Everything started at about 6 p.m., last Friday night, but the actual work and set-up began earlier than that, according to the event’s organizers. As early as middle November and the end of that month the sets and planning for who they would be and where they would go was “gelling” so the Chamber and City folks would have a better idea of who all was coming, so far as vendors and businesses were concerned. This is nothing new, as in past years, as far back as perhaps 2016 or 2017, Chamber Director and City Events Planner Mary Beth Tackett noted this scale of planning and work was the norm for putting on not just any event the City and Chamber has, but pretty much is status quo for getting the job done for ANY event the City takes on.
Mrs. Tackett also noted that, in addition to the massive planning and execution of events of this caliber, there are the years they were unable to host – of had to move – Who-Ville, due to either snow, rain or the terror and fear associated with a then-unknown pandemic scenario. Still, Mary Beth and company never gave up and always managed to literally “knock it out of the ballpark” when it came to presenting a spectacle the likes of Who-Ville, which never ceases to amaze and “wow” children of all ages.
When asked what she thought of the 2022 edition of “Who-Ville”, Mary Beth said simple, “It. Was. GREAT!”
She elaborated by adding, “It went exactly like I thought it should have done. Just seeing the looks on the faces of the little kids was worth all the hard work and everything!”
Another facet Tackett was very impressed with was summed up as she said, while looking west down Main Street, “We have people all over the place! I love it!”
The “Mayor of Who-Ville” for this year was City Councilman Jon Abernethy, who donned the butterfly-like long eyebrows and walked around Cherryville’s Main Street greeting everyone who came out with a jaunty, “Welcome to Who-Ville! Welcome to Who-Ville,” or some variation on that theme. Chamber Board member Gary Dellinger was a Who-Ville citizen, while members of the Cherryville Little Theater troupe donned costumes and played the parts of the beloved Dr. Seuss characters The Cat in the Hat; Thing 1 and Thing 2;  and other characters. The night really got rolling when Cherryville Police Officer Josh Colvard finally found the Grinch, hiding out in the huge crowd, and finally escorted him to the mini-park gazebo stage so he could meet all the little kids and their parents who all came out to see him. It was, after all, his night!
The Grinch (played by Mr. David Wright) was perfect and he really got into his part as he talked with all the kids about what they wanted for Christmas. Down the road was the real Santa Claus (in the person of “Santa” Floyd) who was busy doing his part to make sure all the little tykes got their Christmas wishes and request in early!
Christmas music was provided by DJ Larry Wright, who by day, is a City Water Works employee, but loves to play music at various city events as well as other local events where his musical skills are needed.
Mrs. Tackett and the City noted their thanks to the Cherryville Police and Fire Departments as well as all the city and other personnel who helped set up Who-Ville and take it down later on, as well as all those who took part in constructing the sets, the buildings; the vendors and merchants of the city of Cherryville and from near and far who came and transacted business during the event.
As always, Mrs. Tackett and the City and Chamber’s work during this season is never done as they have the Saturday, Dec. 10 Cherryville Christmas Parade, which starts at 10 a.m. This event too is a well-known, and much-loved celebration of the Reason for the Season, the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
For more information on the Christmas Parade either visit the city’s web site at, check out their Facebook page, or call the Chamber’s office at (704) 435-3451, during business hours.
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Some of the volunteers – including Cherryville Mayor H.L. Beam, III (second from left) – hard at work at Cherryville’s 2022 14th Annual Community Thanksgiving Meal, boxing up the meals that were taken to the folks in the drive-through line outside the Post 100 American Legion Building. (photo by Michael E. Powell/CF Media)

14th Annual Community Thanksgiving Meal feeds 1,079 people

Organizers, Food Lion say 2022 event another successful outreach to town’s citizens


The Saturday, Nov. 19, 14th Annual Cherryville Thanksgiving Community Meal was, by all accounts, a great success in that over 1,070 people received warm, nutritious Thanksgiving meals, thanks to a dedicated group of volunteers and their equally dedicated organizers. Like last year, it was a ‘drive-thru’ event, which director of volunteers Tammy Campbell, worked well for everyone this year as it did last year.
This year’s meal service and preparation was once held at the Post 100 American Legion building, located at 215 N. Pink St., Cherryville, and Mrs. Campbell noted it was again sponsored by Food Lion.
Mrs. Campbell said, “Everything went well this year. We served 1,079 plates. That is the biggest year yet. We had, in all, about 50 volunteers. We hope to be able to do it the old way by next year if this crazy COVID will go away. I am so thankful to live in such a loving town that comes together to do
It was also noted by organizers that the Meals on Wheels folks in Cherryville did get a plate, loaded with all the fixings, for their Thanksgiving meal. As of the 11 a.m. start, 70 of those meals had already gone out, with more even on their way.
And, as was done last year, and year’s past, Mrs. Campbell said local churches sent volunteers to help out with serving the meals as well as picking up their shut-in’s meals.
Tammy noted, “(We) still (have the) same people (helping us); Food Lion donated the food and a crew from Food Lion and I work with Cherryville Area Ministries to put the dinner on. I have volunteers from several churches and organizations (who came to help).”
Campbell noted the Legion Building’s parking lot was once again set up and divided off by orange traffic cones directing the incoming vehicles who came by to pick up plates where to go once they entered, and where to exit after they got their meals.
Campbell noted her volunteers in the Legion building’s kitchen prepared the meals.
Volunteer Rick Jenks said everything, as of the start of the meal, “…went really well,” adding that Max Jonas and the Food Lion crews were really tremendous as they made and brought food from preparation sites such as Anthony Grove Baptist Church and First Wesleyan Church of Cherryville, to name a few.
“Food Lion cooked the turkeys, I believe,” said Mr. Jenks, “as well as the green beans, corn and cranberries.” Jenks said Mr. Jonas prepared the potato salad and the slaw at Anthony Grove Baptist Church.
With the huge success of the 2022 event, the organizers are looking forward to next year’s event, and hopefully being able to feed even more people.
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Striking a pose – CHS’ ball boy and sports team manager, Lee Roy Montgomery, prior to a recent Ironmen home game at Rudisill Stadium.

CHS’ Montgomery chosen as the 2022 Christmas Parade Grand Marshal

Says he’s just “…
a regular guy who works every day!”


Add another accolade to Lee Roy Montgomery’s list of honors and accomplishments – he has been chosen to be the 2022 Cherryville Christmas Parade’s Grand Marshal. The parade is Dec. 10, at 10:30 a.m.a
In an Oct. 26, 2022 Eagle article, Lee Roy was reported as being, “…a living, breathing sports icon and not just for his beloved Ironmen,” but now he can add one more thing to his growing list of things he is well known for.
CHS Athletic Director Scott Harrill asked Lee Roy what he thought when he found out about being chosen to be the parade’s GM.
Said Harrill, “Lee Roy said it was a very big surprise to be picked to be the Grand Marshal.”
Lee also added, “I’ve never done anything like this before. (I’ll be) so excited to see everyone that morning. I love Cherryville! I am really excited – and shocked – that they picked me. I’m just a regular guy who works every day.”
Additionally, Lee Roy noted he looking forward to seeing all the great people of Cherryville, adding, “I love everyone here in Cherryville. These are my friends. I want to thank all the people who always support me.”
He continued, “This is not about me; it is about everyone who has always been so nice to me and helped work with me. The people at CHS, the people around town, the coaches, the fans, just everybody!”
When asked what Cherryville means to him, Lee said, “It means a whole lot to me. I was raised here, went to school here. People know me. It puts a smile on my face when people say, “Hey Lee Roy!’ It just means everything to me; to see the families I went to school with have kids come through school.”
Lee Roy was asked what words of advice he could give people in Cherryville. He replied, “I try to treat everyone like they are special. Live a life thanking God every day. God gave me a great life. He blesses me every day. Try to live for Him and treat everyone nice.”
Lee Roy continued, “My wife, Bertha is a great blessing, and my best friend. She has been so supportive of all that I do. She loves the people of Cherryville.”
Lee Roy said he has been married to his wife, Bertha, for 11 years and they had a recent anniversary – Nov. 10.
Lee graduated from CHS in 1982, works at CHS, starting there in 1993 as a custodian.
As for his feelings about being an Ironman and getting to work at his alma mater, he said, “The Ironmen have been good to me. I love all things about Cherryville and the Ironmen. If I could do it all over again I sure would!”
Previously, in last October’s Eagle article, CHS Principal Shawn Hubers said, “Lee Roy is an amazing person! He is such a hard worker and is so dedicated to Cherryville High School. Everyone in our building loves Lee and respects him because of how hard he works and how he treats everyone he comes in contact with. Lee’s dedication to CHS is unmatched and in my short time at CHS I couldn’t imagine this place without him.”
CHS AD Harrill, who has the greatest respect for the man, said of his friend and fellow worker in sports, “Lee Roy Montgomery is one of the best men I have ever known in my life. He is one of my true friends who will do anything in the world for me or anyone who needs help. He has a heart of gold and makes this world a better place. He is the true Ironman at Cherryville High School. Lee Roy graduated in 1982 and has been helping out with Cherryville sports for the last 40 years. He sure makes my job as a coach and Athletic Director much better. If you ever need to smile or laugh a little, hang out with Lee Roy. His wife is always supportive of Lee Roy and his role at CHS. Anywhere you go in the state of NC, one of the first questions opposing teams or communities ask is, ‘Where is Lee Roy?!’ He is known state-wide and deserves every accolade he receives!”
Again, look for Lee Roy at the Dec. 10, 2022 Cherryville Christmas Parade, which starts at 10:30 a.m.
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Post 100 Commander Mike Robinson welcomes all the veterans to the 11-11-2022 Veterans Day ceremony held at the Cherryville Legion building. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

Cherryville honors all who served at Veterans Day ceremony

Parade scheduled for Friday, Nov. 11, 2022 canceled due to weather; moved to Post 100 building


There was to be a Veterans Day Parade, on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, but nature had other ideas, as a late in the season hurricane – named Nicole (later a tropical storm) – caused rain showers to be forecast, effectively curtailing what would have been a great Veterans Day Parade.
Nevertheless, honoring those who served still came to fruition on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022 at 10:30 a.m., as many Cherryville veterans and their family members and caregivers, along with members of the Post 100 Ladies Auxiliary and Sons of the American Legion, met at the Post 100 American Legion Building to pay honor and tribute to those who served this great country, protecting her from all enemies, both foreign and domestic, many of whom gave their lives to that end.
The parade was to have begun with all veterans meeting in parking lot between City Hall and the old BB&T bank building at 9:45 a.m., then ending at the Mini-Park, with the keynote speaker being the Rev. Dr. Billy Lowe, pastor of Cherryville’s First Presbyterian Church, himself an Air Force veteran of the Vietnam War.
In addition to Rev. Lowe, Cherryville Mayor H.L. Beam, III spoke, reading aloud from a proclamation supporting “Operation Green Light” which he then presented to Post 100 Commander Mike Robinson.
Guest speaker the Rev. Dr. Billy Lowe, pastor of Cherryville’s First Presbyterian Church, and an Air Force veteran of the Vietnam War, spoke about how emotional Veterans Day is for him.
“We are grateful for your patriotic service,” said Dr. Lowe to the gathered veterans. “Just 50 years ago this day I was making preparations to leave for Vietnam. You all deserve big pats on the back for what you did!”
The Rev. Dr. Lowe then talked about loving to teach others and noted one of his
favorite things to talk about is the history of how Veterans Day started, as well as why we have a Veterans Day and a Memorial Day, and the differences between the two holidays.
Said Dr. Lowe, “You know, Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day as it was created after the end of World War I.” He then went on to note Cherryville connection with an aspect of how unit patches got their start around that time with the creation of the now-famous WWI 81st Infantry (The Wildcats) Division patch – a brick-red wildcat stitched onto a dark green background. It paved the way, said Dr. Lowe, for all future Army arm patches and became the main way U.S. military units to identify themselves.
A collector of ‘militaria’ himself, Dr. Lowe also noted how one Cherryville veteran of the Great War was a member of the Stonewall Brigade, a.k.a. the Wildcats, and his name was Sgt. Jacob Costner.
Dr. Lowe wrapped up his talk about the various branches of the U.S. military (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard), noting we now have a new one: the U.S. Space Force.
Commander Robinson took the podium and asked who the oldest veterans were who were present and received a couple of men who said they were, two of whom were identified as Mr. Sherman Brown and Mr. Gene Dellinger.
After also recognizing the members of the Ladies Auxiliary and their selfless work in organizing the ceremony, Commander Robinson thanked everyone for attending, adding, “God bless you, and we appreciate your being here!”
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City worker Jarrod Hunt works on getting the second Veterans banner onto the attachment that fits on the new downtown light poles. The city crew worked on the south side of Main Street staring out, moving their way up and down both sides of the street. (photo by MEP/the Eagle/CF Media)

Veterans banners hung last week on Main Street’s new poles


As you are driving down Main Street Cherryville be sure to look up and pay heed to the nicely colored banners floating from the new lampposts. Why, you ask? Because they pay homage to a group of men and women without whose services and sacrifices many of us wouldn’t have the many freedoms we all hold so dear in this great land of ours.
I am referring to the Veterans banners showcasing the many Cherryville service members who served in the various armed forces from WWI, WWI, Korea, and Vietnam, on down to the  smaller  wars and conflicts we are familiar with today.
Downtown Director David Day looked on as a small but active crew of city employees (namely Mitch Angel, Terry Clinton, and Jarrod Hunt) went about putting the colorful banners up as folks drove slowly by, looking upward to what all was going on.
Mr. Day said this wasn’t the first time the city has hung the banners, elaborating, “This is the third time we’ve taken orders and hung banners. The first (time) was Veterans Day 2020; we had around 12 flags.”
Day noted the second time was Memorial Day 2021 and the city, “…added around 25 more.”
He continued, “This time we took orders for 25 more flags. We did not hang them this past 2022 Memorial Day as the light poles were not installed due to the revitalization. We have 41 poles on Main Street from Depot to Mulberry, and we are striving to get two flags per pole in the future.”
David also noted that, time permitting, the city will be hanging all the previous and new banners. “This should be around 65 total banners,” he added.
When asked how long the city plans on leaving them up and if they will all come down after Veteran’s Day, Day said, “The Public Works department started hanging them on Wednesday, Nov. 2. The new banner poles had to be added to the brand-new light poles so it’s taking them a bit longer. They will remain up through the third week in November, or until we begin hanging the Christmas decorations.”
It is to be noted that each of the Veterans flags were “100 percent” donated to the city by families and friends of the veteran, said Mr. Day.
“We used a company out of Raleigh before but now our local Modern Printing is able to do them so we used them for this past order and will continue to use them for other Main Street banners. Casey Sipe helped with the new banners and also has done some other banners that will be hung following the Holiday season,” said Day.
While it is true flags/banners will not be located on any mini-park poles, as those poles will not accommodate the size of the banner, said Mr. Day, they will, however, be – time permitting for public works crew to do so – “…hung from Depot to Mulberry streets on all the new light poles. These banners will be a great tribute to our local heroes.”
For more information on these banners, call the Chamber of Commerce at (704) 435-3451 or visit the city’s web site at
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Charlotte stained glass artisan Natalie Bork, with Shed Brand Studios, is shown here painstakingly applying final touches to the restored signs. (photo provided)

Cherryville bank’s stained glass windows professionally restored


A couple of recently restored stained glass windows that formerly hung in Cherryville’s First National Bank look great and are ready to be seen by an appreciative public, according to a recent email sent to the Eagle.
Sid Stroupe, a local volunteer, said a Charlotte restorer had been found who took on the job and made the windows look like they had just been set in their leaded mullions. Stroupe said the two windows had been boxed up and stored in the Museum.
Said Mr. Stroupe, “These two stained glass windows were recently completely restored back to (their) original form.”
He continued, “I researched restorers in the Charlotte area, settling on one recommended by City Councilman Gary Freeman, ‘Shed Brand Studios’, and I engaged them. After four months work, they are complete; one for the (Cherryville Historical) Museum’s display and the other one hopefully gifted by the Museum to Mr. Patrick O’Leary for hanging in the bank building when it’s completed.”
Stroupe noted that artisan, Natalie Bork of Charlotte, with ‘Shed Brand Studios’, undertook the project, painstakingly applying the important final touches to the restored glass artworks.
Stroupe continued, “Mr. Doug Blackburn,  a  local, long time Cherryville historian and I researched the pieces and we surmise that the two signs were created and hung as an ‘early 20th Century’-era advertisement for the bank’s ‘national’ status, obtained in 1908. During those days most banks of its size were ‘local’ and subject to the whims and turns of the local economy. Then – Bank President Samuel S. Mauney and the bank board were certainly proud to advertise the safety and prestige of the newly renamed Cherryville National Bank.”
Stroupe said that while there are no records of who and when exactly the damaged stained glass signs were given to the museum, “…it is suspected it was perhaps at the time of the acquisition by Southern (later BB&T) Bank many years ago.”
Museum Board President Alice R. Dellinger said, “I am grateful that the Museum Board members voted to have these two signs restored after such a long period of time. Our goal at the museum is to research and restore anything we can to preserve the history of Cherryville, our wonderful town.”
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Lee Roy Montgomery, the longest serving ‘ball boy’ in NC sports, on the sidelines at a recent CHS Ironmen football game at Rudisill Stadium, watching where the game ball is and waiting to go out onto the field – when needed – and switch it out. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

CHS’ Montgomery longest serving sports “ball boy” in state of NC

Works with Ironmen football, basketball, baseball; worked NC/SC Shrine Bowl


Lee Roy Montgomery is a living, breathing sports icon and not just for his beloved Ironmen; he is an icon who can claim a unique title: he is the longest serving sports “ball boy” in the state.
By his own estimation, he figures there are just a few guys like him still doing their unique and strenuous job. If you don’t believe it’s strenuous, try getting out on the field or on the court at every game for as many years as Lee Roy and his fellow ball retrievers have and see how you fare. You have to be an athlete yourself just to keep up with Lee and guys like him.
No doubt about it; Lee Roy Montgomery is a one-of-a-kind, top-notch lover of all things Ironmen sports and will look you in the eye and flat out tell you, “I love my job!” and mean every word of it!
And his fans (and, yes… he has many of them!) love him too. Just listen to them yell for him any time he runs out onto the field or puts the basketball men through their pre-game routine at Nixon Gym. They. Love. Him!
For Lee Roy, the title “ball boy” is an appellation of great honor and he wears it proudly. The umpires and referees all know that when he is on the job, the job IS his number one priority. If he isn’t there, for whatever reason, they all want to know where he is, and God help the coach or person who doesn’t have a good explanation for where he is and why he isn’t there.
Recently, Lee Roy was asked how long he has been the ball boy for CHS, as well as a few other questions. The following is what he said about his long and storied career.
When asked when he exactly stared his job and with what sport, or coach, Lee said, “Since 1979, when I was in high school. I started doing it for Coach Buddy Bridges. I’ve worked with football, basketball, and baseball. Coach Bridges asked a friend of mine if I could help us out. I said ‘yes’.”
Though both of Lee’s parents have passed away in the last few years, he has family in Cherryville still; brother, Larry Montgomery, and his sisters, Lynn and Muffey. Like Lee Roy, Larry also works for the Gaston County Schools at John Chavis Middle School.
Lee said he has been married to his wife, Bertha, for 11 years and they have an upcoming anniversary (Nov. 10).
Lee Roy, who graduated from CHS in 1982, works at CHS. He said, “I started here in 1993 as a custodian. I work with three others: Jody Cochrane, Adrian Hunter, and Nikki Morgan.”
In addition to being the longest serving ball boy/manager in NC high school sports, Lee Roy added, “I had the privilege of being selected to work the Shrine Bowl for the NC and SC game for five years. This was a great honor for me and for Cherryville.
Some of Lee’s great memories or highlights as the Ironmen ball boy and manager include the time CHS beat Mooresville in double-overtime going into the playoffs in the late ‘90s, as well as the time the Ironmen beat the number three team in the state back in 2003.
Said Lee, “Those were some great wins! We went to the third round of the playoffs.”
He continued, “In basketball, (great) memories was back in the rival days of Cherryville and East Lincoln in 2007 and 2008; memories of the Shelby and Cherryville games in the early 2000’s; standing room only and the gyms would always be sold out. I can remember people always calling me wanting me to get them a ticket and help them get in the game. Baseball state championships were always great memories for me. The year we beat Whiteville was an awesome experience.”
Lee Roy said, “I want to thank all my coaches along the way – Coach Harrill, Coach Bridges, Coach Heavner, Coach Pruitt, Coach Quattlebaum, Coach Mauldin, the late Coach Beck, Coach Fox, Coach Bray, Coach Helms, Coach Davis, Coach Griggs, Coach Tate, Coach Black, Coach Freeman, the late Coach Watkins. The Ironmen have been good to me. I love all things about Cherryville and the Ironmen. If I could do it all over again I sure would!”
CHS Principal Shawn Hubers said, “Lee Roy is an amazing person! He is such a hard worker and is so dedicated to Cherryville High School. Everyone in our building loves Lee and respects him because of how hard he works and how he treats everyone he comes in contact with. Lee’s  dedication to CHS is unmatched and in my short time at CHS I couldn't imagine this place without him.”
Former CHS Principal Kevin Doran, now Principal at Cramerton Middle School, said, “Lee Roy is the kind of person that we all should aspire to be – hard working, loyal, and always (having) a positive attitude.”
Mr. Doran’s memory of Lee is as follows: “In my time in Cherryville, Lee Roy won the Gaston County Custodian of the Year. It was a great honor for Lee Roy, but my favorite part was what happened afterward. We arranged a surprise pep rally for Lee Roy when we came back from the reception. All 545 CHS students filled the gym and sat in absolute silence waiting for Lee Roy to come into the gym. I have never seen or heard high school students that quiet and I believe that was a testament to how much they care about him. When Lee Roy walked in the sound was deafening. It was a great day in celebration of Lee Roy and one of my favorites at CHS!”    
CHS Athletic Director Scott Harrill has the greatest respect for the man.
Of Lee he said, “Lee Roy Montgomery is one of the best men I have ever known in my life. He is one of my true friends who will do anything in the world for me or anyone who needs help.  Lee Roy has a heart of gold and makes this world a better place.  He is the true Ironman at Cherryville High School. Lee Roy graduated in 1982 and has been helping out with Cherryville sports for the last 40 years. He sure makes my job as a coach and Athletic Director much better. If you ever need to smile or laugh a little, hang out with Lee Roy. His wife is always supportive of Lee Roy and his role at CHS. Anywhere you go in the state of NC, one of the first questions opposing teams or communities ask is, ‘Where is Lee Roy?!’ He is known state-wide and deserves every accolade he receives!”
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Brandon and Allison Abernathy at Brandon’s Thursday, Oct. 13 retirement party. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

Abernathy retires after 29-plus years of service to City

Started as a meter reader in 1993; worked
his way up


Cherryville Public Works Director Brandon Abernathy knows what it is like to work your way up to the top position in a job – he did just that way back in 1993 while he was in school.
Said Brandon recently at his Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022 retirement party at the Cherryville Community Building, “I have been with the City for over 29 years. I started in 1993 as a meter reader while I was in college.”
Abernathy, born and bred a Cherryville boy, said he attended Gaston College after graduating CHS in 1992, and though not an engineer, he majored in Computer Programming while there, which helped him in his future position with the City of Cherryville. Additionally, Abernathy said, “I hold an ‘A’ certification in Water Distribution and a Grade 4 in Collections along with a cross-connection backflow given by the State of North Carolina.”
After starting out literally fresh out of high school, he started, as he noted, reading
meters in 1993, then, “…became Assistant Public Works Director and Water and Sewer Supervisor in 1998 and was promoted to Public Works Director around 2000.”
In his many years working for the City of Cherryville, Abernathy said, “I have worked for five Mayors during my time here and I have been under six City Managers as well.”
His mother, Linda Julian (husband, Steve), still lives here in Cherryville.
“She worked for Lincoln County Hospital for over 30 years. My dad who has passed was a driver for Carolina Freight. I have a brother who still lives here and a sister that now lives in Cornelius,” noted Brandon.
When asked what got him interested in city work, Brandon relied, “I come from a single parent home and started working full-time right out of high school so I could attend college. The city was my first full-time position.”
As for his new job and where that will be, Brandon said, “I will be working for South Carolina Rural Water Association traveling to water and wastewater systems in South Carolina to assist in helping them comply with state and federal guidelines. My wife, Allison is still teaching nursing.”
The Abernathys have two beautiful daughters: their oldest graduated from Appalachian State and is now teaching first grade at Tryon Elementary and their youngest daughter is attending Clemson University in Health Science.
In closing, Brandon said, “I have seen a lot of changes in this town during my time. I would like to thank the late Ted Mace who was the Director when I started my career. I would also like to thank my staff for all the loyal years they give to me and the city, along with my supervisors who work hard every day to keep the lights, water and wastewater flowing, and the solid waste and roadways working. Without my staff I would have never been as successful as I was in my career.
“Most of all I would like to thank my family! My wife, Allison, and my daughters, Ansley and Sydney Grace, for always supporting me. I know I never got to play in the snow or was home when the power was out. I would also like to apologize for missing Halloweens, birthday parties, and other family events because I was out working at night and on the weekends.
“And, to the citizens of Cherryville, I want to thank you for the privilege to serve each of you! I have always tried to provide excellent service during my time here at the city. I will continue to pray for my staff and the City of Cherryville!”
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Five generations attended Mrs. Beulah Beam Reynolds’ 100th birthday celebration at the home of her daughter, Dottie Reynolds Brown. Down front and wearing her birthday tiara is the guest of honor, Mrs. Beulah Beam Reynolds. Standing behind her are (left to right): daughter, Dottie Reynolds Brown; Mrs. Beulah’s granddaughter, Tammy Clemmons; (Dottie’s daughter); Beulah’s great-great-granddaughter, two-year-old Harper Leonell; and Beulah’s great-grandson, Chris Leonell. (photo by Paige H. Green)

Centenarian Beulah Reynolds credits God for her long life; good health

Mrs. Beam excited to receive honor; notes, “I’m getting really popular now!”


Cherryville’s newest centenarian (one who has turned 100), Mrs. Beulah Beam Reynolds, recently celebrated that august milestone with family and friends, and, thanks to a proclamation from the City of Cherryville, is now a celebrity of sorts.
Mrs. Reynolds credits her long life and good health to God and His promise given in one of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:12) and echoed by His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ in the Gospel of Matthew (chapter 19, v. 19).
Mayor H.L. Beam, III presented Mrs. Reynolds with a proclamation last week commemorating the fact she turned 100. He said he always enjoys being able to do things like this, adding, “I congratulated her and asked her what her secret was (to reaching the amazing milestone) and she said, ‘It’s all in the mind. In my mind I’m still 60!’”
Mayor Beam said, “As I said then, I like doing things like this (giving proclamations for great milestones in age reached by citizens) as I get to meet seniors and others like her who helped build our city. They are the backbone and bedrock of this town!”
Mrs. Reynolds’ daughter, Mrs. Dottie Brown, with whom she has lived the past two years, said her mother “was excited” to get the proclamation and “really enjoyed it.”
When Dottie asked her mother what she thought of all the attention, Mrs. Beam replied, “I’m getting really popular now!”
Dottie continued, “Her mind is still good and she would love to be able to do a lot of the things she used to do but can no longer do. She loved to read a lot, especially to her grandkids, but has a hard time doing that these days.”
Dottie said her mom walks with a walker but, due to a foot injury, currently wears a “boot” to help keep her foot stabilized so there is no re-injury.
“Mom has always said God has been good to her and has let her live a good, long life. She always helped look after her grandkids, and she has lived a very good life, staying active. She loves going to church (Mt. Zion Baptist Church of Cherryville). She was always good to her mother and father and that’s why she thinks He (the Lord) has let her live this long.”
The words of the proclamation honoring Mrs. Reynolds are as follows: “Whereas, Mrs. Beulah Beam Reynolds was born on Oct. 4, 1922 in Cherryville NC, the daughter to Clair and Mary Beam. Mrs. Beam was born at home and was one of seven children. Her father, Clair Beam, and great-grandfather, Sidney Beam, were highly involved with the Cherryville New Year Shooters; and whereas she became the wife of Clarence Reynolds until his death on Dec. 26, 1998. They were blessed with two children; one son, Fred Reynolds, and a daughter Dottie Reynolds Brown, both of Cherryville. She has three grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren; and whereas, in addition to being a wife and mother, she also worked at Carlton Yarn Mill for 40 years. She also enjoyed helping care for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and whereas, she loved to go on tours with groups and travel to different places. She loved meeting new people and enjoyed life wherever she went. She has been a member of Mt Zion Baptist Church in Cherryville, NC, since
Aug. 28, 1938. She loved to help in various departments at the church but loved working in the nursery. She is currently the oldest living member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church and was honored at their homecoming recently. She loves her Lord, family and her church.
“Now, therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me as the Mayor for the City of Cherryville, I do hereby deem it an honor and pleasure to extend this Certificate of Recognition to MRS. BEULAH BEAM REYNOLDS on the occasion of her 100th birthday, with sincere congratulations and best wishes for many more happy years in the future.”
Mayor Beam signed the proclamation and City Clerk Paige H. Green, CMC, NCCMC, also signed it as well, making it all official. Mrs. Reynolds was presented with a signed and dated copy of the proclamation on a plaque for posterity’s sake.
Mrs. Reynolds had her daughter, Dottie, and other family members at her side when she received the proclamation. Also present was Mrs. Connie McDiarmid, of Meals on Wheels, who came by and helped with the celebration.
Said Dottie, “I love my mother and I enjoy having her here with me. I am looking forward to many more years to come for her beyond this.”
Mrs. Brown noted Mrs. Reynolds was honored by Rev. Keith Huss and the congregation of Mt. Zion Baptist Church on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2022. She also noted Mt. Zion’s retired pastor, the Rev. Wayne Key called her mother and sang “Happy Birthday” to her.
“That really meant a lot to her and made her smile,” said Dottie, who added she wanted to thank all the folks who made her mother’s 100th birthday a very special day for her.
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The official logo/graphic for the CLT’s production of “Misery”. (photo provided)

Cherryville Little Theater to put on Stephen King play, “Misery”

Play, full of “drama and suspense”, set to open on Friday, Oct. 28


Officials and personnel at the Cherryville Little Theater have announced their upcoming performances for the Stephen King-inspired play by playwright, William Golden, “Misery”.
Director Robert Owens said the play opens on Friday, Oct. 28 and will be performed also on Saturday, Oct. 29, and again on Friday, Nov. 4, and Saturday, Nov. 5. All play times start at 7 p.m. Cherryville Little Theatre is located at 301 W. Academy St, Cherryville, NC, and their phone number for ticket (and further) information is (704) 435-1742. Tickets are $10 on sale online or at the door, said Sarah Fox Sandoval, of the CLT.
Director Owens said, “We are very excited to be bringing this show to the people after many years of dreaming about it. The cast is filled with incredibly talented veterans of the CLT stage. Cherryville may not be ready for the drama and suspense that we are bringing to the stage.”
The gist of the play “Misery” follows, as the media information noted, the “…successful romance novelist Paul Sheldon, who is rescued from a car crash by his ‘number one fan,’ Annie Wilkes, and wakes up captive in her secluded home. While Paul is convalescing, Annie reads his latest book and becomes enraged when she discovers the author has killed off her favorite character, Misery Chastain. Annie forces Paul to write a new ‘Misery’ novel, and he quickly realizes Annie has no intention of letting him go anywhere. The irate Annie has Paul writing as if his life depends on it, and it does.”
This show – it must be noted – is suitable for adult audiences and contains some explicit language, according to the CLT media release.
The original Broadway production produced by Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, in association with Castle Rock Entertainment Liz Glotzer, (Mark Kaufman, Martin Shafer, and Raymond Wu), with the World Premiere produced at Bucks County Playhouse, New Hope, PA (Jed Bernstein, Producing Director).
As was noted earlier, the CLT play will be directed by Mr. Robert Owens, with the assistant director credits going to Mr. Zachary Ray.
CLT staff noted the Stage Manager is Nancy Boyd Lemke; Assistant Stage Manager is Roman Meadows; while the backstage will be handled by Leilani Raybourn, Dylan Moore, and Elise McKenna.
Costumes are by Matt Brown with Special Effects Makeup by Noah Bolton.
The cast is as follows: Kevin Burke as Paul Sheldon; Jamie Hardin as Annie Wilkes; Jim Chandler as Sheriff Buster; Dylan Moore as Paul Sheldon (understudy); and Elise McKenna as Annie Wilkes (understudy).
Rehearsals just started according to Sarah Fox Sandoval of the CLT.
Please reach out to director Robert Owens for follow up questions and more information at Robert Owens: robowens1989, or by calling the main number (listed above) for the Cherryville Little Theater.
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Kaitlyn Newsome, Gabrielle McCorkle, Sarah Eaker, Kendall Chupp, and Payton Godfrey; these five ladies are the members of the CHS 2022 Homecoming Court. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

Cherryville High School’s 2022 Homecoming Friday, Oct. 7

Five senior girls say they are all excited to have been selected to be on the Court


Five CHS senior ladies have been selected by their classmates to make up the 2022 Homecoming Court. They are (in alphabetical order): Kendall Chupp, Sarah Eaker, Payton Godfrey, Gabrielle McCorkle, and Kaitlyn Newsome. One of them will be crowned on Oct. 7 as the 2022 CHS Homecoming Queen.
Kendall Mae Chupp, 17, is the daughter of Jess and Leanna Chupp. Her sibling is Rylon Chupp, a ninth grader at CHS. She has been active in the following: Varsity cheerleader, yearbook editor, Metal Heads, FCA, Interact Club, and is a youth member at Westview Baptist Church. She hopes to obtain a Bachelor’s in biology and wants to become a medical doctor. Of her selection to the 2022 Homecoming Court, she said, “I am honored to be chosen by my peers as one of the five girls on Homecoming Court.”
Sarah Elizabeth Eaker, 17, is the daughter of Allen and Lisa Eaker. Her siblings
are Noah Eaker and Katie Eaker, both CHS grads. Eaker is a 4-year Varsity cheerleader and is in the Interact Club, the Metal Heads pep club, and the FCA. She said she plans to attend either Appalachian State University or North Carolina State University and major in Business.
“I feel honored to be chosen by my peers and thankful to have this opportunity (to be on the 2022 Homecoming Court),” she said.
Payton Abigail Godfrey, 17, is the daughter of Janelle and David Godfrey and the sister of CHS grad Colton Godfrey. Payton is a three-year Varsity cheerleader and is a member of the National Honor Society, the Metal Heads pep club, and the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes). Her college plans are to attend East Carolina University and major in biology. Of her selection to the Homecoming Court, she said, “I feel honored and thankful to be a part of my hometown tradition.”
Gabrielle McCorkle, 17, is the daughter of Vincent and Amanda McCorkle. Her sister, Logan McCorkle, is a 9th-grader at CHS. She is active in Lady Ironmen basketball and track. Is in the National Honor Society, FCA, Interact Club, the SGA, the Game Club and is the Senior Class President as well as being in the Marching Ironmen band.
She wishes to attend NC A&T University to major in English and minor in Business.
“I am just excited and honored to have this opportunity to represent my school!” she said.
Kaitlyn Newsome, 18, is the daughter of Tripper and Candie Newsome. Her siblings are Eli Newsome, an 11th-grader at CHS, and little sister, Paisley Newsome, who is 4.
Kaitlyn plays volleyball and softball (9-12th grades); was crowned Miss Sweetheart 2022 in the CHS Pageant; and has participated in the Metal Heads pep club (9th grade) and the FCA (12th grade).
Currently, she is undecided about where she plans to attend college.
“I’m truly honored and very excited to be chosen by my fellow classmates to be a part of Homecoming Court!” she said, adding, “Win or lose, this will be such an awesome experience that I will remember forever!”
The CHS 2022 Homecoming activities will start with the school’s Spirit Week, which is Oct. 3 – 7, with the always popular Homecoming Parade being held at 4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 7, in downtown Cherryville.
As for the parade, Ms. Pope noted that hopefully Main Street construction will be at least most of the way completed, but if not, she said there is a “Plan B,” which is discussed below in this article.
Additionally, the Homecoming Football game will be that Friday night (Oct. 7), starting at 7:30 p.m. The Ironmen are scheduled to play the Highland Tech Rams.
According to information received from CHS, at the halftime Homecoming activities all the following students will participate in the listed activities as noted: the Homecoming Queen will be crowned by last year’s Queen (miss Khya Brooks) and the five senior girls who have been selected by the senior class to be on the HC Court will be on the field, along with their escorts.
Kendall Chupp will be escorted by Will Fowler; Sarah Eaker will be escorted by Kanon Willis; Payton Godfrey will be escorted by Carson Kelly; Gabrielle McCorkle will be escorted by Numarius Goode; and Kaitlin Newsome will be escorted by Eli Newsome.
The following students were selected by their class to represent the class for Homecoming: Freshmen – Logan McCorkle and Talon Dalton; Sophomore – Ebelin Gomez and Javier Moran; Junior – Ceniya Powell and Chance Hunt; and Senior – Lani Philbeck and Will Heavner.
The following club representatives were selected by their class to represent the class for Homecoming: Art Club – Kelly Diaz and Justin Johnson; Band – Taylor Chapman and Hayden Maiers; Bible Club – Camryn Cash and Hunter Griffin; FCA – Layla Davis and Logan “Judd” Ervin; National Honor Society – Katie Diaz and Joseph England; and Metal Heads: Rileigh Kiser and Roy Powers.
The senior football team sponsors are the girls who are being sponsored by the senior Ironmen football team players. They are listed as follows: name of participant, sponsored by, and escorted by: Savannah Christian, and Corey Alston; Hallie Jackson, Abram Avery, and Davin Digh; Briley Wright, Kam Bolin, and Robbie Bowman; Emily Allen, Jack Dellinger, and Will Allen; Kylie Perry, Dawson Frady, and Harry Lawson; Mikayla Sigmon, Elijah Gibson, and Elis Sloan; Kylie Reynolds, Landon Hahn, and Colin Robinson; Taylor Digh, Bryson Huffman, and Tyler Blalock; Anna Leigh Jones, Collin Huss, and Peyton Huffman; Addie Breese; Seth Kahler, and Blake Cochrane; Chloe Stroupe, Chase Miller, and Aaron Heavner; Ava Miller, Tobias Miller, and Braydon Reynolds; Gracie Truesdell, Tanner Sisk, and Billy Carroll; Kate Bookout, Jibri Starr, and Nate Bookout; Maddie Jenkins, Ben Street, and Bryson Withers; and Sadie Boyd, Gage Vernon, and James Bell.
By way of an update on the parade route, Ms. Pope said, “We will be making the final decision about the parade route closer to the parade date. If Main Street is not ready, our parade route will be as follows: cars will still line up in the First Baptist Church parking lot. Cars will still make a left out of the lot onto First Street” turn left on Mulberry and cross the bridge. They will continue down Mulberry until Ballard Street where they will make a right onto Elm Street. They will continue down Elm, crossing the railroad tracks and turning right at the Storage Center/Post Office on First. They will then go down First and turn back into the parking lot at First Baptist Church.”
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Workers installing the brick pavers on the corner by the Chamber of Commerce building on Main Street. (photo provided)

Main Street’s construction nearer to  October completion

Mayor, city staff, merchants enthusiastically looking forward to the completion of construction


Main Street Downtown Director David Day noted recently that construction on the town’s Main Street project is nearing completion.
“Mayor HL Beam and the city staff are enthusiastically looking forward to the soon completion of construction on Main Street,” said Mr. Day, who quoted Mayor Beam as saying, “Our citizens have been patient for more than a year. Our project began in early July of 2021. Now, we all have the end in sight. A lot has been accomplished in only 14 months. We’re seeing our dream take shape.”
Day also said Mayor Beam particularly praised the patience of the downtown merchants and owners by noting what all they have been through in those 14 months.
Said Mayor Beam, “They’ve been through a lot. Now, they’ll see the payoff with a gorgeous Main Streat. We expect we’ll see Cherryville being a destination in the coming years.”
Day also noted Director of Public Works Brandon Abernathy saying that, barring inclement weather, crews will continue moving west toward completing at Mulberry Street.
“After the sidewalks are complete, the crews will repave the street in a few weeks,” said Mr. Abernathy.
City Manager Brian Dalton, pointing out the size
 and scale of the massive construction project, said,
“This has been a huge collective effort to revitalize our downtown. We’ve replaced miles of water and
sewer pipes, gas  lines  and sidewalks. It’s remarkable what has been done already.”
Downtown Director Day said he’s already seeing the fruits of the project.
“We get calls literally every week from entrepreneurs wanting to talk about the new Cherryville,” said Day. “The future is bright thanks to the efforts of all our citizens. We already have commitments from nine new business to the downtown.
For further information on the Main Street Project, citizens can contact David Day at (704) 435-3451.
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Cherryville Mayor H.L. Beam, III, speaks at the 21st 911 Remembrance Ceremony, held this year at Starnes Auditorium. (Eagle/CF Media photo by Michael E. Powell)

21st 911 Remembrance Ceremony reminds us to “never forget”

Sept. 9 event at WBBI reminds all to reflect on the price paid by the men, women who served on that fateful day


The 21st annual Cherryville Fire Department September 11th Remembrance Ceremony was held Friday, Sept. 9, 2022 at 9 a.m. at W. Blaine Beam Intermediate’s Starnes Auditorium.
Cherryville Fire Chief Jason Wofford and Assistant Fire Chief Colby Heffner both noted when they spoke to the gathered crowd of students, teachers, and a handful of citizens who attended, it is an occasion to remind all of us in Cherryville to reflect on the price paid by the brave men and women who served on that fateful day, many of them paying the ultimate price for their service to their fellow man.
The City of Cherryville and the Cherryville Fire Department held the event – as they have for the past 21 years – to honor the memory of the 2,977 innocent civilians; 343 NYFD firefighters; 27 NYPD officers; and 37 New York Port Authority officers who were murdered that day at the hands of a small group of radical religious fanatics.
All perished when the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers crashed to the earth in New York City in a cloud of smoke, debris, and choking dust, and in the Pentagon, and on a quiet field in Pennsylvania.
Fire Chief Jason Wofford, after welcoming everyone, noted their guest speaker, Mr. Peter Cachia, was ill and was unable to attend the event. Cachia was present at Ground Zero on that tragic day, noted Chief Wofford, and was to have spoken about his experiences there as he had a front row seat to the world being forever changed. Cachia, a former NY firefighter and an EMT, was assigned to the NY City FD that day.
Bagpiper Ryan White, a Captain with the Gastonia Fire Department, performed on the pipes, as he has done in past ceremonies, paying “Going Home” and “Amazing Grace” at different intervals of the ceremony.
Mayor H.L. Beam III spoke and read Mr. Cachia’s October 2001 deposition to the 911 Committee about what he saw that day.
Cherryville Police Chief Cam Jenks led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the Cherryville High School Band, led by Director Mark Ewing, Jr., performing the “National Anthem” and “Taps”, with the lowering of the flag by one of the CFD firefighters, to the accompaniment of the CHS Band.
In an earlier Eagle article, Chief Jenks said, “I am extremely appreciative of the City of Cherryville for continuing to conduct a 911 Remembrance Ceremony. This year will mark 21 years since the horrific attacks on our country. It is very important to remember those that paid the ultimate sacrifice especially for our younger generation who was not alive during this time.”
Fire Chaplin Vince Hefner gave the opening and closing prayers and an explanation and Tolling of the Bell was given by Asst. Chief Heffner and Capt. Trent Rayfield. Bagpiper Capt. White played while EMS personnel Jason Stowe and Kimberley Woody made the wreath presentation, placing it in front of the stage in memory of the 911 fallen.
Chief Wofford said he and his men and women all felt the program went well despite Mr. Cachia not being able to attend. “We are happy to have the community involvement we did while we remember those who died on Sept. 11, 2001.” He added.
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Some of the crowd in attendance at the 2021 911 Remembrance Day Ceremony. (Eagle/CF Media file photos by Michael E. Powell)

City’s 21st 911 Remembrance
Ceremony, a call to “never forget”

Sept. 9 event an occasion to remind all to reflect on the price paid by the men, women who served on that fateful day


The 21st annual Cherryville Fire Department September 11th Remembrance Ceremony will be held Friday, Sept. 9, 2022 at 9 a.m. at the venerable Starnes Auditorium, said Fire Chief Jason Wofford.
And, like all the past events, Chief Wofford and Assistant Chief Colby Heffner both noted it is an occasion to remind all in Cherryville to reflect on the price paid by the brave men and women who served on that fateful day, many of them paying the ultimate price for their service to their fellow man.
The City of Cherryville and the Cherryville Fire Department are proud to have the event in memory of the 2,977 innocent civilians; 343 NYFD firefighters; 27 NYPD officers; and 37 New York Port Authority officers who were murdered at the hands of a small group of radical religious fanatics. All perished when the World
World Trade Center’s Twin Towers crashed to the earth in New York City, and in the Pentagon, and on a quiet field in Pennsylvania.
Fire Chief Jason Wofford said things will start that day with his welcome to everyone who is able to attend, followed by Bagpiper Ryan White, with the Gastonia Fire Department, performing on the pipes, as he has done in past ceremonies.
Mayor H.L. Beam III will then speak. He said, in reference to the event, “Cherryville has knocked a home run for this year’s 911 ceremony by scheduling our guest speaker, Mr. Peter Cachia, formerly an EMT with the NYFD, and who was there that day, to speak to us.”
City Manager Brian Dalton said, “The City of Cherryville, specifically the Cherryville FD has participated in remembering what happened on 9/11/01 every year and will continue to do so. We are fortunate this year to have a speaker that was present at Ground Zero on this day in America’s History and we look forward to hearing Mr. Peter Cachia talk about his experience of this tragic day.” 
Cherryville Police Chief Cam Jenks will lead everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the Cherryville High School Band, led by Director Mark Ewing, Jr., performing the “National Anthem” and “Taps”, with the lowering of the flag by Capt. Nathan Bowman, accompanied by the CHS Band.
Said Chief Jenks, “I am extremely appreciative of the City of Cherryville for continuing to conduct a 911 Remembrance Ceremony. This year will mark 21 years since the horrific attacks on our country.  It is very important to remember those that paid the ultimate sacrifice especially for our younger generation who was not alive during this time.”
Mayor H.L. Beam III will introduce the guest speaker, Mr. Peter Cachia, who was present when the two towers fell, his department (along with all in the city then) having just received the distress call. Cachia is retired from the New York City Fire Dept., after, according to a short “bio”, “…(serving) 14 years as a firefighter and an EMT.” He also served as a volunteer firefighter and EMT for his hometown of Massapequa, New York for 24 years, it was noted in the “bio”.
Chief Wofford said Fire Chaplin Vince Hefner will give the opening and closing prayers and an explanation and Tolling of the Bell will be performed by Asst. Chief Heffner and Capt. Trent Rayfield. Bagpiper Capt. White will then play while EMS personnel will then make the wreath presentation in memory of the 911 fallen.
At the 2020 event, Councilwoman and Mayor Pro-Tem Jill Parker-Puett, an EMS worker for 27 years, spoke, praising all firefighters, police, and EMTs everywhere for their sacrifices on a daily basis.
Chief Wofford said they and the City encourage any citizen to attend. We are happy to have community involvement while we remember those who died on Sept. 11, 2001.
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Members of the Collinswood family of Bessemer City enjoying a little leisure time at the Cherryville Pool. (Eagle/CF Media file photo by Michael E. Powell)

Cherryville Family “Y” has great season at Ballard Park pool


Josey Messer, the Associate Executive Director of the Cherryville Family YMCA and the Pharr Family YMCA, said the “Y’s” work and classes at the Cherryville pool are over for this year.
The City’s Ballard Park – Yates McGinnis Pool was officially open for business starting Saturday, June 11, Messer noted, in a previous Eagle article.
Josey also said the lifeguards on duty this summer were Samuel Herrera, Luke Harmon, Eric White, and Jessica Wallace, who did a great job, he added.
Messer said he the lifeguards they had this summer were some students that “lived close”, with the help of “…some that drove as far as South Gaston Area to work our Cherryville pool.”
“Our last day of service was Saturday, Aug. 20,” said Mr. Messer. “We were able to open and serve a little more than we did the first year out of COVID, but obviously, lifeguards were still hard to find.”
He continued, “With that said, we had one of our best seasons so far as participation in our activities went. We had upwards of 75 participants in a day on some weekends.”
Josey also noted that their famous water aerobics class was brought back and they had “…anywhere from 8 to 12 (participants) in our classes on Thursdays.” The teacher for that class was Debbie Lesenger, he noted. She started teaching those classes on June 23.
Messer said he and the YMCA family were happy with the results this season, adding, “The pool was also able to see children from different camps in the county come by and use the pool and have fun. Our Summer camp program in Belmont also brought children to enjoy our Cherryville pool. I think that is a great service  to see our youth across the county enjoying what Cherryville has to offer.”
Josey overall impression of this season’s pool-time fun is simple: “The pool is a very fun program with the ‘Y’ getting to partner with the City of Cherryville. Who does not like to be at the pool over the summer?”
As for next year, Messer said he hopes the Cherryville Family YMCA will “…have a chance to improve and continue to manage the Cherryville pool.”
Additionally, Messer is also pleased with how the Cherryville afterschool program is going. The location is still at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, he added.
For more information on that program, he said to visit
For more information on other Cherryville YMCA programs call (704) 445-9622.
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CHS Principal Shawn Hubers and mural artist Lynette Christensen in front of the completed mural Lynette painted honoring the school’s staff and teachers. (photos by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

Talented custodian Christensen paints mural at Cherryville HS


Cherryville Elementary School custodian and Gaston County school bus driver Lynette Christensen loves art; she loves looking at it, but she especially loves getting to make it and share it with others.
So, when she was on an exercise walk around the hall of one of the CHS buildings prior to her starting out on her bus route, she happened to glance up at some of the brightly colored murals on the upper part of the walls. She also noticed there were a couple of empty spaces there and the idea came to her mind that perhaps she could fill one of those spaces with a mural dedicated to the hard-working staff at CHS.
She took her idea to Principal Shawn Hubers and he agreed to give her a shot at putting her idea on the wall in paint and marker, and photographs – a veritable multimedia artistic montage!
As she was setting up her ladder last week to put a couple of finishing touches to it, she said, “This has taken me about a year to do. As I said, every morning before I started my bus route for CHS, I would walk this hallway to exercise. I saw the other murals on the wall so I asked Mr. Hubers if I could do it. He approved my draft drawing, then I started on it,” she said. “I had to do it after school or on holidays.”
Lynette said her preferred medium for the mural was acrylic paint markers as they are easier to handle and less “messy”. She also noted this is the first time she has ever tackled a mural before.
Additionally, Christensen said she also painted the four picnic tables set up outside the high school’s cafeteria doors. She said she repaints old wooden furniture, such as chairs and dressers. Lynette is also a Zentangle teacher, an art form she said she enjoys “very much.”
“My sister-in-law, Mary Bartrop, got me started in that, and now I teach it. I’ve been doing that now for about
three years,” noted Christensen.
Zentangle is a form of art that is akin to free-style “doodling” and is purported to help one calm down or get oneself focused, according to web sites dedicated to the art style.
After placing a couple more of the small head shots on the wall, Christensen declared the mural finished.
Principal Shawn Hubers said of the mural, “It looks great. It’s good too for our new students to put faces to the names and it adds to our hall and makes it an interesting place to be.”
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Chrystal Harmon and son Seth, manned the kindergarten and first and grade table, along with Kathy Beam and daughter Anna Kathryn. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

2022 school supplies drive at First United Methodist big success

Aug. 13 event saw many kids, parents, get supplies-stuffed backpacks for the new school year


Last Saturday’s collection of school supplies-filled backpacks went pretty quickly, according to the event’s organizers and they were thrilled to see so many kids, their parents, grandparents, and others come by for the backpacks, as well as the free haircuts and the Table of Grace food. And did we mention the live Christian music provided by Brian Emerson and Kelly Eaker? That was outstanding as well!
Tents were set up on the front parking area of First United Methodist Church of Cherryville, the host church for this year’s giveaway, and each grade level had backpacks chock-full of the needed and grade-appropriate materials kids need to get off on the right foot their first day of school. From K through 12, every grade level was represented, with even a table full of generic backpacks there just in case more than those registered came by in need of supplies.
Chrystal Harmon and son Seth, 9, manned the kindergarten and first and grade table, along with Kathy Beam and daughter Anna Kathryn (6). Chrystal said several kids had come through that morning, adding that it “…all was going good.”
Second grade teacher Kelly Brown was at the second and third grade table with Gaston School Board representative from Cherryville, Beverly “Robbie” Lovelace and Dawn Moss. They agreed with Chrystal it was all “going good”, adding also that the crowds were “steady”.
Said Mrs. Brown, “Everybody has everything  they need to level the playing
field (for their first day back to school).”
When asked how she and her fellow teachers were faring regarding supplying their classrooms this year, Kelly noted, “Having the community’s support helps us get what we need for our classrooms.”
At the fourth and fifth grade tents, Teresa Allen and Kathy Eaker said they started out with 14 bags and were down to three.
“They really went fast!” said Ms. Allen.
At the sixth and seventh grade tent, the Sherrill brothers (Colin, Kevin, and Ethan) and their friends, Dylan Brittain and Benjamin LaSalle, had five bags left.
Off to the side of the church’s entranceway, members of Boy Scout Troop 78, which is sponsored by FUMC, waved at folks who passed by and invited them in for free hot dogs and to check things out, especially if they had any school-age children. The boys – Gabriel Patterson, Zachary Harmon, Jace Absher, Brock Gaston, and Shane Headrick – were led by Scoutmasters Andrew Harmon and Chester York. Scoutmaster Harmon said they have 13 members in their Troop.
Hair stylists Shannon Carpenter, Megan Harris (Southern Roots Salon), and Stephanie Digh (Modern Salon & Spa) provided free haircuts to many of the kids so they would look sharp their first day back to school.
Phebe Beam noted that everyone who came by has been cordial and appreciative of everything.
“It has been a blessing to see all these people come out,” she said. “It is also a blessing seeing these three young ladies (the hairstylists) giving of their time to do the Lord’s work.”
Kim Eaker, a long-time Cherryville community volunteer who has been affiliated with these backpack giveaways for some time now, noted the bags that were not picked up by kids that were registered will be dropped off at the schools, adding the other bags will be available for kids at Cherryville Area Ministries.
In an earlier Eagle article Ms. Eaker commented that, “We, as Christ followers, are called to take care of each other. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” (Romans 12:4-5 NIV)
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Patrick O’Leary welcomes everyone to the showing of the property at 116 E. Main St., a.k.a. The Belk Building. After three and a half years of renovation work, it was open for a tour last Wednesday, Aug. 3. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

Former Belk-Matthews building newest property to get renovated

Hard work, caring parties create another Main Street gem in former downtown


Once again, all it took was a whole lot of hard work and some very caring and interested and talented individuals to turn a former Cherryville downtown destination into a Main Street work of architectural art. Of course, being able to invest a $1 million-plus into the project certainly helped.
The building at 116 E. Main St., was built, according to information received from Vickie Spurling Realty, in 1921, making it 101 years old. It is 7,140 square feet in size and now has four apartments upstairs; two two-bedroom apartments, approximately 850 square feet in size, and two one-bedroom apartment/lofts of approximately 600 square feet in size. All four apartments are actually different sizes, and all are complete with modern appliances. The downstairs space in comprised of one large retail space (1,000 square feet); five smaller spaces for retail or office use, noted Mrs. Spurling, all complimented by a beautiful, shared conference room, kitchen & restroom, she said.
On Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022, a group of City of Cherryville staff, Chamber of Commerce staff, Cherryville Main Street staff, as well as representatives of Vickie Spurling Realty, Hoyle Construction, Upland Architecture, and others involved in the restoration of the old building, met inside the old building to essentially christen it and show off the finished project.
Patrick O’Leary, who has been involved with this and other completed (and future) restoration projects in Cherryville, welcomed everyone and said, “This has been our largest project on Main Street, taking three and half years. We ran into supply chain issues, but we are very proud of the job we have done here. The whole idea here in what we are doing in Cherryville is about rejuvenation, which you cannot have without people. To that end we have been building apartments here in downtown and we now have six so far.”
Chamber Board President Pete Craft also welcomed
everyone to the affair, catered by Susan Eason Caterers, and introduced Cherryville Mayor H.L. Beam, III, who said, after looking around at the beautiful interior of the room in which everyone met, “Here we have what we have long awaited and anticipated – a beautiful building on our Main Street, in Cherryville, where life blossoms.” Mayor Beam then went on to recognize Vickie Spurling Realty for spearheading the town’s building revival and all those construction contractors for all their hard work, as well as everyone who has helped make the Belk restoration project a completed dream come true.
Main Street Chairperson Donna Beringer said of the renovation, “It is over the top beautiful! And such a great addition to our downtown. I can’t thank them enough!”
Mr. O’Leary noted that he and Vickie worked together to make the Belk building “reno” happen, literally from the inside out.
Said O’Leary, “I want to thank everyone, for we received wonderful support, from Brian Dalton and the City staff, the Chamber’s David Day and Mary Beth Tackett, just everyone! Thank you all! We are very excited about the Streetscape Project and can’t wait to see what it’s all going to look like once it is finished.”
Patrick also noted all of the vendors were local people, “Most notably the renovation team headed by General Contractor Hoyle Construction’s Chris Spurling; Project Manager Vickie Spurling of Vickie Spurling Realty; Upland Architects of Shelby’s Mark Patterson (who said he has worked on six projects for Mr. O’Leary and Spurling Realty); Construction Superintendent, Hoyle Construction, Vic Hoyle; Max Baxter Roofing’s Andrew Baxter; Joe Eaker of All American HVAC; Dellinger Electric’s Gary Dellinger; Heath Jackson of Heath Jackson Plumbing; Richard Blanton of Gaston Sprinkler; Logan Stevens of Stevens Interiors (the tin ceilings); Rodney Fredell of R&R Dunrite Floors; Derrick Hoskins of Derrick Hoskins Hardwood Flooring Finish for the second floor work; Brian Francis for the Sheetrock/Firestop work; Geoff Slusser of Unique Audio Video, Cable Communications; Mike Clark of Modern Security (fire system; Donald Alexander of A&A Painting; Chuck Sneed (brick work); Kent Spurling (VSR) for the signage, IT and graphic design; James Lail of Cherryville Signs (photo prints and art; Pam & Hubert McGinnis, McGinnis Furniture; and Jennifer Hoyle for cleaning.
A brief history of the was noted by the many tour guides who led folks throughout the building showing off some of the building’s features.
On the wall of the central hall is a copy of the 1914 Sanborn Insurance map which shows the three wooden buildings which stood on the original site of the Belk building. The Belk building was also listed as having been an auto repair garage in 1925.
Tour guide Noah Abernethy noted that, according to his guide noted, Belk-Matthews occupied the building and the two adjacent buildings from 1936 to the end of 1998. A Charlotte Observer article from December 1998 noted Belk’s announced the store was closing. The building, a Cherryville landmark, is still affectionately known to everyone in town today as The Belk Building.
Belk’s was founded in 1888 and by the 1990s it had over 300 stores in the South – mostly partnerships with local merchandisers. The Cherryville store was originally a partnership with the Matthews family and was the 125th store opened by the Belk organization. In 2016 the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places as one of 53 contributing buildings that make up The Cherryville Downtown Historic District.
An interesting note is that during construction Vickie noted their crews exposed a painted sign on what was originally on the exterior of 114 East Main Street. The sign is dated “1912” and says “JF Carpenter Restaurant”
“We know from photographs that an identical sign was also painted on the West Side of 114 East Main,” she said.
Mr. O’Leary also thanked building neighbors Alice Sisk and Max Rainwater who graciously gave their support for the removal of the large green metal transom and awning.
“This  was difficult and required their support and cooperation of Max Rainwater and Alice Sisk our neighbors on either side, and for that we thank them,” he said.
While the large shop front’s future is under discussion with a number of potential tenants, Mr. O’Leary and Mrs. Spurling both noted the offices on the other side of the building will be used for Mr. Jas Taylor’s Print 3-D business, and Mr. Reggie Walker from Unishippers will operate his shipping business out of the other.
There are three other spaces available and if anyone is interested they may call Vickie Spurling Realty regarding those spaces.
As for that is next on the two’s projects development list?
Said Vickie, “Our next project is a complete renovation and restoration of The Fish Box on First Street. The architects have completed their first draft drawings and we have cleared the lot behind it. We will start construction soon.”
They also intend to build more apartments on Main St., and 126 West Main Street’s three-story building will most likely be next to start construction.
“We plan eight apartments and a parking lot across the street on the corner of Main and Mulberry. The building will also have an elevator,” she noted.
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New HPVFD Chief Trent Rayfield in the department’s truck and equipment bay. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

Trent “Bam Bam” Rayfield is new chief of Hugh’s Pond VFD

Young chief serious about getting new volunteers to serve the community


Cherryville native and Cherryville Fire Department Captain Trent “Bam Bam” Rayfield has recently become the chief at Hugh’s Pond Volunteer Fire Department, a.k.a. HPVFD, Unit 72.
The fire department is located on Tot Dellinger Rd., just west of Cherryville.
Rayfield, 25, said the volunteer fire department, which has been around since 1976, had as their previous chief, Aaron Vance, Jr., who was the head man from 2916 until just last month.
“Bam Bam” said, like many other firefighters – volunteer and paid – he had a dream of doing what he is doing now since childhood.
At HPVFD Rayfield said they are all “100 percent volunteer”, just as he is for the department; in other words no one gets paid to do what they do for their little community or any of the others nearby to which they lend mutual aid with personnel and equipment.
They are, like other departments, having a bit of a problem – warm bodies (in the way of volunteers and workers) are very hard to come by in this post-COVID world.
“We’re proud we are a 100 percent volunteer force,” said Rayfield, adding the force there was “20-strong!”
Rayfield, a 2014 CHS graduate, has been with the CFD for a number of years, but has only been a captain there for a year.
As far as HPVFD’s crew and their training are concerned, Rayfield noted they have to have “…at least 36 hours per year, which is required by the state in order to remain on the state’s roster of active fire departments. We have to do this every year.”
Rayfield said he will soon have his Associates in Fire Protection Technology and hopes to have his Bachelor’s degree, which he plans to take at either Western Carolina University or Eastern Kentucky University.
He said his parents – Mom Roxanne and his late father, Timothy, have always been very supportive of his being a firefighter. He has a sister, Kasey and an older brother, Ryan, and he was raised as a Baptist.
As for the HPVFD, Rayfield noted that former Chief Vance left them in “good shape”.
“I would like to work on getting more volunteers. That’s the struggle right now; not just here, but everywhere, for smaller departments,” he said. “We have reached out on social media and have had a couple of interested individuals. It’s all about us building a better rapport with our community; everyone we serve,” he said.
Hugh’s Pond, according to “Bam Bam”, has a response time of about three and a half minutes, which is roughly what small VFD’s average. Still, he said, “We still need more personnel!”
When asked about his Hanna-Barbera cartoon Flintstone’s character-related nickname, Rayfield smiled and told the following story, “When I was about one and half to two years old, he was over to a neighbor’s house with a wiffle baseball bat in his hand, hitting things with it, so a friend of his mom’s gave him the handle and it has stuck ever since.
Rayfield’s hobbies, when he isn’t answering fire calls or on duty at CFD or HPVFD, include dirt track racing and fishing; not in that order, mind you.
“I do a little fishing when I can find the time,” he said, with a bit of a smile.
One thing young Rayfield is definitely serious about is getting more volunteers.
“Anyone who is interested in becoming a volunteer at Hugh’s Pond, or any fire department, really, or is interested in working as a volunteer firefighter at Hugh’s Pond, can call us at (704) 435-5642, or email us at
Said Chief Rayfield, “We think of ourselves as a family here, so we are looking for any volunteers to join and become a part of our family!”

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The Miss Fourth of July Pageant winners were Tiny Miss Gabrielle Shedd, Majestic Miss Skylar Blackburn, Miniature Miss Chrislyn Shook, Baby Miss Bella Mae Flowers, Young Miss Savannah Hubbard, and Little Miss Vivian Medrano. (photo submitted)

Cherryville’s Miss Fourth of July Pageant winners announced

Submitted by

The Miss Fourth of July Pageant was held on Friday evening, July 2, at the Cherryville Community Building. It was an official event of the big Independence Day celebration presented by the Cherryville Chamber of Commerce.
The following is a list of the winners, princesses, and award recipients: BITSY MISS: Bella Mae Flowers; MINIATURE MISS: Chrislyn Shook; TINY MISS: Gabrielle Shedd; LITTLE MISS: Vivian Medrano; YOUNG MISS: Savannah Hubbard; MAJESTIC MISS (overall winner): Skylar Blackburn; PRINCESSES: Zoey Haney, Emmalynn Burdette, Montana Kiser, Ahri Medlin, Olivia West, Kaylee Lamberth, Miley Littlejohn, and Lacey Lamberth; SIGNATURES (crown pin winners): Emmalynn Burdette, Chrislyn Shook, Gabrielle Shedd, Ahri Medlin, Skylar Blackburn, Savannah Hubbard; SIGNATURES (overall winner): Bella Mae Flowers; PHOTOGENIC (people’s choice overall winner): Savannah Hubbard; PHOTOGENIC (finalists for people’s choice): Skylar Blackburn, Chrislyn Shook, Ahri Medlin, Gabrielle Shedd; and FIRST APPLICATION AWARD: Ahri Medlin.
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Every school has their own “spirit rock” and W. Blaine Beam Intermediate is no exception. New Principal Joshua White stands by it, knowing it will give a whole new group of students inspiration for the new school year! (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

Cherryville’s own Joshua White, new principal at WBBI

He is looking forward to the start of school, which is Wednesday, Aug. 17


Cherryville’s W. Blaine Beam Intermediate – home of the Falcons – has a new captain at the helm of the ship, or chief Falcon, if you will, in the person of principal, Joshua White.
He is quick to tell you he is looking forward to the start of school, which is Wednesday, Aug. 17, so he can meet some of the students and introduce himself.
Mr. White is a Cherryville native, and admits becoming an education professional was not his first choice, originally, for a profession, so far as he was concerned at the time, way back in his high school days.
“If you would have told me back then that I would come back here as a principal, I would’ve definitely laughed at you (and, he added, so would his teachers)!”
Joshua said he grew up on Sellerstown Road and Academy Street before graduating from Cherryville High in 2005.
He is married to his wife, Betsy (11 years) and they have a 5-year-old daughter, Kassie, who he noted “…starts kindergarten this August.” The couple still reside in Gastonia, he said.
He continued, “After graduating from CHS, I ended up at UNC-Charlotte majoring in finance and banking. While on a Summer mission trip where I got to teach and coach, I felt led to (the field of) education so I changed my major when I got back home and never looked back. I finished at Charlotte with a degree in history and education.”
White said he began his educational career in Gaston County Schools as a teacher assistant at Lingerfeldt Elementary.
“That really prepared me to have my own classroom, and in 2013, I began teaching history and coaching football, basketball, and baseball at Southwest Middle School in Gastonia. In 2018, I began as an assistant principal at Southwest and remained there for four years before being appointed principal at W.B. Beam Intermediate this year.”
Mr. White noted he is “…excited to return home to serve the community that provided me with a great education and a great upbringing,” adding, “I plan on working tirelessly to showcase how amazing our students and teachers are. I know how strong our schools have always been in Cherryville, and I look forward to being a part of continuing that tradition of excellence.”
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Patrick Watson, Cherryville Elementary’s new principal, stands before the school’s “Wall of Excellence”, which heralds those teachers and staff members who have served the children under their care with honor, care, love, and above, all… excellence. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

Watson takes the reins as new
principal at Cherryville Elementary


Cherryville Elementary has a new principal in the person Mr. Patrick Watson. He takes over the helm from Mrs. Audrey Hovis who is pursuing other education avenues.
Watson hails from Cleveland County where he said both of his parents were involved teaching or education in some way.
“I grew up in Shelby, N.C.,” he said, “and both my parents were in education. My mother, Margaret Watson, was an AIG teacher for Cleveland County Schools and my father, Earl Watson, was Superintendent of Cleveland County Schools before he retired.”
Watson continued, “After graduating from Crest High School, I attended and graduated from Western Carolina University with a BA in English. A few years later, I graduated from Gardner-Webb University with a Master of Arts in Leadership.”
Watson is the father of three, whom he lovingly calls his “wonderful children”; Lucy, Emmett, and Eli.
Watson credits his parents as being “a big influence” in his decision to work in the education profession.
“I felt a calling to make a difference in the lives of other people as an educator,” he said, adding his “…first teaching job was at Chase High School in Rutherford County.”
He continued, “I taught English there for two years before accepting an English position at Crest High School.”
Watson noted that Cherryville Elementary is his first school as a principal, but added he has been in supervisory positions previously.
“I was appointed assistant principal at Southwest Middle School from 2012 – 2017, and an AP at Bessemer City Central Elementary from 2017 – 2022,” he said.
As for continuing the Little Ironmen traditions for which the school is so proud, he said, “We would like to continue to build on the wonderful things happening at Cherryville Elementary.  We are looking for a parent to lead our PTO for the upcoming school year, and we would like to remind parents of kindergarten students to register them as soon as possible. I am extremely excited to be principal at Cherryville Elementary, and I look forward to meeting all of our students and parents in August.”
For any questions or information about the kindergarten programs at Cherryville Elementary, calll (704) 836-9115, or visit them on the Gaston County Schools website.
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Butch and Kathy Boyd at last week’s retirement party for him. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

Cherryville “Y’s” beloved Butch Boyd retires after 15-plus years

Many friends and co-workers came by and shared pizza and memories of good times


The staff and family of the Cherryville Family YMCA said a fond “See you later”, coupled with a heartfelt “We love ya!” to long-time manager/administrator Butch Boyd last Wednesday, June 29.
Boyd, who has been with the YMCA since May 2, 2007, and his wife of 54 years, Kathy, were the guests of honor at pizza party given in his honor at the new Cherryville YMCA, on Mountain Street.
All of Boyd’s friends and co-workers were there as well as many Y members who all came by to not only wish him well in his retirement but to wish him Happy Birthday as well since Wednesday was also his 76th birthday.
Gaston County Family YMCA CEO Sharon Padgett noted that Butch first started at the Stowe Family Y, manning the front desk, then moved over to the Central Y and worked front desk there.
She said, in a recent email to the Eagle, “He came to the Cherryville Y in 2010 and never looked back!”
Mr. Boyd said he has also worked in 2008 for the Billy Graham Ministries on a part-time and full-time basis in the past, thoroughly enjoying that work as he was able to witness about his Christian faith and his deeply held belief in God and His Son, Jesus Christ.
Boyd said he had two strokes while working for the BGEA and had to leave as a result of that, but added he truly loved being there.
He and Kathy have two children, Gary, 52, and Lea Ellen Binderup, 48. The Boyd’s (Butch and Kathy) are the grandparents of three, and enjoy spending time with them when they can do so.
Of his retirement, Butch said though he planned to retire at the first of 2022 but things didn’t go quite as planned. He is currently battling a health issue but thanks to his strong faith in God and with the help of his family and friends, he said he is going to continue to get better.
As for retirement, Boyd said, “Honestly, I don’t know what I’m going to do now that I’m retiring. I’m a true workaholic! I have worked since I was 16,” he said.
Boyd served his country, he said, in the Vietnam War, from 1967 to 1968 and was there, he added, during the bloody Tet Offensive.
His friend and fellow Cherryville Family ‘Y’ employee, Sandy Homesley (Accounts Payable), said she was going to miss working with him on a daily basis, but she said he mentioned to her and others he will try as much as he can to try and get by to see them every now and then.
“I have worked with Butch now for 15 years,” she said. “We both have good memories of being here at the Cherryville Y. I will never forget him and those memories and the people we have known and have gotten to join the Y. Our legacy here together is, I believe, is helping all those people have a healthier lifestyle. Our members are our mission; I really believe that.”
Employee Debbie Lesenger, who has worked with Butch for six years, said, “I’m definitely going to miss him. He is fun to work with. His Christian life bled over into his work life.”
New Cherryville Family YMCA director Josey Messer said that while he only got to work with Butch for six months, Butch is “irreplaceable”.
Messer continued, “The community impact; the relationships he has cultivated and created; this means for me to hear. He (Butch) has touched the full triangle (Spirit. Mind, Body) of who we are at the Y and what we do.”
Ms. Padgett continued in her praise for Butch by noting, “He has served as our Number One Ambassador in Cherryville. He has taught group exercise classes at Peak (Resources); water aerobics at the Cherryville pool; Silver Sneakers classes at the Cherryville Y; started the ‘Live Y’rs’ senior social hour at the Y. He and Sandy Homesley (his side kick) have made the Cherryville Y a place to belong for many people over the years. He has invited many of his classes to his house for pool parties; he has prayed for almost every person at the Cherryville Y and he has spoken at the funerals of some of his dearest friends from the Cherryville Y.”
Padgett further stated, “Butch didn’t just show up for work – he showed up every day for his purpose! His purpose was to love people through the Y and share the love of Christ through his daily example at the Y. His daily presence will be missed, but I know without a doubt that you will see him from time to time sitting at the table, drinking his sweet, sweet tea and fellowshipping with his best friend...YOU, the Y member!”
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Food distributions at the Monday, June 27 Mobile Food Pantry event at St. John’s Lutheran Church’s parking lot. (photos by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

Church’s Mobile Food Pantry fulfills Christ’s command to feed the hungry

Next MFP event is Monday, July 25; Aug. 13 is school supplies giveaway


The many volunteers and workers who came out last Monday, June 27, to help St. John’s Lutheran Church’s Mobile Food Pantry ministry distribute food were fulfilling two of Christ’s commands to all believers – feed those who are hungry and help those who are in need.
One of the coordinators, Kim Eaker, noted the volunteers started working at 7:30 a.m., until noon, adding that the actual event runs from 10 a.m. until the supplies they have received to give out are all distributed. Another on-site was Ms. Barbara Decker, who is the Director of Community Affairs and Outreach Manager for the Mobile Food Pantry.
Kim also noted, as for time involved with the distribution, that, “On average we are done by 11:30 a.m.”, adding that Monday’s Mobile Food Pantry was hosted by the Cherryville Ministerial Association.
Eaker continued, “Hosting consists of paying for the truck’s transportation fee. Each Mobile Food Pantry is hosted (each month) by a different association, individual or group.”
For example, she stated that April’s pantry was hosted by Martha Beam; May’s pantry was hosted by First Presbyterian Church; July will be hosted by Mt. Zion Baptist Church; August will be hosted by the Eastern Star and September will be hosted by First United Methodist Church.
“On the actual day (of the distribution event) we have many volunteers from different churches. We  also  had students from John Chavis Middle School and Cherryville High School,” she said.
As for the food, she noted it is donated by Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina.
“We were given 31,782 pounds of food. We served 144 families, which equals 349 people,” Ms. Eaker said.
The Mobile Food Pantry has been going on now for two years, Kim noted, adding, “We started the mobile pantry in 2020. Cherryville Area Ministries partners with Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina and St. John’s Lutheran Church has partnered with us so we may use their parking lot as the hosting site. This is a group effort that requires time and dedication from all who volunteer.”
Eaker said their next Mobile Food Pantry food distribution will be on Monday, July 25, and she also is asking the community to come out and join them on Aug. 13 “…for a morning dedicated to giving to (the) children of the Cherryville community” by their giving out school supplies on that date.
Said Ms. Eaker, “The church hosting that event this year is First United Methodist Church, and it will be from 10 a.m., until 12 noon.”
St. John’s Lutheran Church is located at 601 N. Pink St., Cherryville, she said, adding for folks to please call Barbara at (704) 435-9264 (at St. John’s Lutheran) in order to register your children for that event starting now from now until July 30.
“We will also offer free haircuts the day of. When you call to register, please register for that also. There will also be special praise music. The Table of Grace will serve hotdogs with all the trimmings. This is a community event with churches and organizations in Cherryville,” she said.
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Cherryville Mayor H.L. Beam, III stands in front of a local business, looking over the work being done to the town’s sidewalks. (photo provided)

Mayor Beam praises construction progress as first sidewalks poured

SIT/REP: North alley almost complete with construction still slated to be completed by early fall


In a recent media release, Downtown Main Street Director David Day said Cherryville’s Mayor H.L. Beam, III praised the work that has been done so far, especially on the town’s sidewalks.
Said Mr. Day in the release, “Mayor H.L. Beam enthusiastically toured the first sidewalks to be poured as part of the downtown revitalization and praised Cherryville’s citizens for their vision and patience.”
“We’re all excited to see this moment,” said Beam. “Our citizens took a bold step. Now, they’re seeing our dream take shape.”
Day noted Mayor Beam was “particularly complimentary” of the citizens, downtown merchants, and owners.
“They’ve been really great,” said Beam. “Huge projects like this challenge us all. But they’ve more than met the test.”
Mr. Day noted Director of Public Works Brandon Abernathy said that the construction crews working downtown have battled the weather and shortages of materials and laborers.
Said Mr. Abernathy, “We really appreciate how diligent they’ve been to keep making progress. They’ve worked around every problem.”
Cherryville City Manager Brian Dalton said the plan is still to continue working west, section by section.
“Now that the first section is poured, we’re really going to see things move,” said Dalton, who also noted that once
the North Alley is complete, they will move to the South Alley to begin repaving there as well.
Downtown Director Day said he is in touch with merchants and citizens alike.
“We’re posting regularly on our website and on our Facebook page,” Day said, adding, “I talk to citizens every day. I hear about problems. But I also sense people’s enthusiasm. Seeing the progress is exciting for us all.”
Citizens with any questions can contact Mr. Day at the Chamber of Commerce at (704) 435-3451.

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Office manager for MainStreet Family Care, Dylan Lageman, wields the big scissors as he cuts the ribbon, officially opening the group’s Cherryville location, one of their newest of the 15 the currently staff and own. With Mr. Lageman are MSF-UC’s staff as well as Mayor H.L. Beam and City Manager Brian Dalton, along with members of the Cherryville Chamber and City staff and City Council, and a number of Cherryville business, community, and financial leaders. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

MainStreet Family Care
holds ribbon cutting

New urgent care will provide a number of services and be open 7 days a week


A new clinic has opened its doors to service Cherryville’s citizens, touting its motto as “Heal Better. Feel Better”.
MainStreet Family Care, an Alabama-based urgent care clinic, held a ribbon cutting last Thursday, June 16, at their location at 2501 Lincolnton Hwy., in Cherryville, just in front of the Walmart. Its doors will be open seven days a week.
Company spokesperson Betsy Stewart said they have been in North Carolina for a while now, with an initial location in Locust, NC. With Stewart was Whitney Letman, the company’s Marketing Coordinator and Community Engagement specialist.
Offering a host of services from COVID-19 rapid antigen testing to pregnancy tests, the urgent cares slick brochure also lists services such as state-of-the-art digital x-rays, sports and work physicals, to stitch-ups, burn treatments, UTI treatment and flu shots and vaccinations.
Spokesperson Betsy Stewart said they take Medicare and Medicaid managed plans as well as all major insurance
“We also provide a self-pay option,” said Stewart, who added that is $125. The brochure also notes they are “…committed to providing affordable, quality healthcare” to all.
Stewart also noted their staff includes an MD (a Dr. Taylor), located in Birmingham, to whom they communicate any health questions or requests requiring his expertise, as well as two in-house Nurse Practitioners and a Regional Medical Director (a Dr. Wood), who, with their other rotating staff of two teams (on-site at the ribbon cutting were: Dylan Lageman, Clinic Manager; Destiny Richardson; Beau Wakefield; and Brittani Heffner) are all there to provide for their client’s every medical and health needs and treatment.
Stewart noted the company, which started in 2015 and has over 15 sites across the South, also offers in-line registration, primary care, and occupational medicine.
Chamber Board Chairman Pete Craft welcomed everyone from City officials and staffers and City Council members to a handful of the community’s business and financial leaders for coming out on “such a warm day”, and said if the organization needs anything from the Chamber, don’t hesitate to ask.
Mayor H.L. Beam, III agreed, echoing Mr. Craft’s sentiments, adding, “We (the City) started lobbying for an urgent care clinic about 10 years ago”, noting the City is now blessed to have a number of them now, with another on the way.
“Please know,” he continued, “You are just a call away from City Hall if you need us for anything.”
Ms. Letman, the group’s Marketing Coordinator, said their organization is “…glad to be in Cherryville.”
Mr. Craft concluded by telling the MainStreet Family Care staff the Chamber and the City are “…looking forward to great things” happening for them.
MainStreet Family Care’s hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
There is no appointment required as you can register online at You can also call them at (704) 445-7162.
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The Cherryville ABC Board presented a $3,000 check to the Cherryville Shrine Club to be used by them in helping prevent underage drinking. Accepting the check for the Cherryville Shrine Club are First Vice President Bill Moss and Treasurer Russell Wingfield. Presenting the check are ABC store General Manager Allen Fraley and ABC Board Chairman James Russell Beam, Jr., and Board members Gail Jenkins and Tim Moss. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

ABC Board gives $3,000 to Cherryville Shrine Club

Funds will help organization promote the impact of underage drinking in the community


ABC store General Manager Allen Fraley and members of the Cherryville ABC Board gave a check for $3,000 to the Cherryville Shrine Club on Wednesday, June 8.
The NC Association of ABC Boards has a program, “Talk It Out”, part of its Alcohol Education Fund program, which annually works with various organizations in the state to utilize funds from store profits to assist with community betterment efforts at the local level.
According to the NC ABC website, the “Initiative to Reduce Underage Drinking” underscores the “Talk It Out NC multi-media campaign” which, as per the site’s info, “…was launched in 2014 by the NC ABC Commission to combat underage drinking by undertaking relevant research, spreading education about alcohol’s health risks, and raising awareness about the resources available to families, both in person and online.”
Mr. Fraley, in presenting the $3,000 to the Cherryville Shrine Club, noted the ABC boards are required to make a distribution of profits every year to organizations that make a difference in their community. This year, he said, “The Board voted to give it to the Cherryville Shrine Club.”
Shrine Club Treasurer Russell Wingfield, along with Club Vice President Bill Moss, accepted the check, thanking Fraley and the ABC Board members present at the presentation. Representing the ABC Board were Chairman James Russell Beam, Jr., Gail Jenkins, and Tim Moss.
Mr. Wingfield said, “We, as the Cherryville Shrine Club, appreciate the support of the community and the ABC Board, as they have given it to us throughout the years.”
Mr. Beam said, “I appreciate the Shriners and all they do for the community.”
Mr. Fraley noted that as the store’s sales increase they hope to be able to “bump up” the gift.
Mrs. Jenkins said of the generous gift, “I think it is wonderful. This (Shriners) organization does such good work for everyone!”
Club First Vice President Bill Moss noted, “Everything we do is about the kids.”
In a letter to Mr. Fraley, Shriner’s Club President Charles McCants stated, “These funds will help us to promote the impact of underage drinking in our community while working with local Shriners during various fundraising activities.”
McCants further stated in his letter, “We are planning to update our discussions and displays to incorporate underage drinking during our 2022 events. This will include our information stations at the Cherryville July 4th celebration; our fall Cruise-In; and golf tournament planned for this fall. We will also plan a program during our family Christmas gathering.”
Regarding that Cruise-In, Shrine Club Treasurer Wingfield noted the club’s first Cruise-In was held on May 14, at the Cherryville NAPA Auto Parts Store, located at 1313 Shelby Hwy., where they raised $500.
“We had around 50 cars and we thought this was a good showing for a first-time event. We will have another in the early fall at same location,” he said.
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Some of the CHS seniors lined up outside FBC of Cherryville prior to the start of the Baccalaureate ceremony. See more photos on page 10. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

2022 CHS Baccalaureate

The 2022 CHS Baccalaureate service, sponsored by the Cherryville Area Ministerial Association, was held at Cherryville’s First Baptist Church on Sunday, May 22, at 7 p.m. The seniors in attendance were welcomed by Association President the Rev. Dale Hendricks, pastor of Shady Grove Baptist Church and the message was given by Rev. Keith Huss, pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church of Cherryville.
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Cherryville Police Department Chaplain and Long Creek Presbyterian Church pastor Will Upchurch, and CPD officer Lt. Brandon Parker, Sgt. Wes Bennett, and Det. Lt. Mark Stout remembering the late Police Chief Albert L. Painter during National Police Week. (photo provided)

CPD lays wreath on fallen Cherryville officer’s grave

Chief Albert L. Painter’s end of watch came on Jan. 16, 1928


As part of National Law Enforcement Day, Cherryville Police Chief Cam Jenks and some of his officers remembered the City’s only fallen law enforcement officer, the late Police Chief Albert L. Painter, on Friday, May 20 by laying a wreath at his headstoane, which is located in St. John’s Lutheran Church’s cemetery.
A brief message was given and a prayer was offered by CPD Chaplain Will Upchurch, pastor of Long Creek Presbyterian Church. The wreath was laid by Chief Jenks’ 10-year-old son, Aiden.
Chief Jenks said the theme of this year’s was “Back The Badge NC” and their observance was just a small part of a state-wide memorial to those officers in the state who have been killed in the line of duty.
“The memorial is a way for all of us to thank our law enforcement officers for protecting and serving our communities,” noted Chief Jenks. “And in the process, we at CPD want to also thank all those who brought us food, desserts, and small goody bags.”
He noted how a group started an “Adopt-A-Cop” program in Mount Holly when Officer Tyler Herndon was killed, adding that CPD is part of that program. He said the person who started and organized the Back The Badge NC program lives in the Winston-Salem area and is the wife of a law enforcement officer.
“We also want to thank the churches and others of our community who reached out to us and provided meals,” he said.
Chief Jenks noted other fallen officers were honored at Gaston County’s ceremony earlier that week.
Said Chief Jenks, “We, the men and women of the Cherryville Police Department, are all very appreciative of the gifts and well-wishes we received from the public. It is very important we never forget these fallen heroes that sacrificed it all for our safety and freedom.
Jenks thanked his officers who were able to be at the ceremony as well as Chaplain Upchurch and St. John’s pastor, the Rev. G. Scott Homesley. Officers present or involved in the ceremony that day were (in addition to Chief Jenks): Det. Lt. Mark Stout; Lt. Brandon Parker; Sgt. Wes Bennett; and patrol officers Jessica Richardson and Grayson Stout.
Chief Jenks said all of his officers and staff received a goody bag, including their newest officer, Ayko, the K-9 officer, who is handled by Sgt. Josh Colvard.

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Instructor D.T. Carpenter, a retired Cherryville Fire Department captain, and current LCSO Special Operations instructor, teaches Scouts Instructions to some of troops attending the camp at Bud Schiele. (photo provided)

Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office teaches Search and Rescue to Boy Scouts

Courses taught to enable Scouts to earn the appropriate merit badge  

LINCOLNTON – This past weekend (May 14-15) members of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Land Search team were at Camp Bud Schiele in Rutherfordton, NC, teaching Search and Rescue (SAR) Merit Badge to some 216 Scouts. The Scouts present were from 11 counties surrounding Lincoln County.
Taking part in this was retired Cherryville Fire Department Captain and current Sergeant in charge of Special Operations for the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Trent Carpenter.
Lieutenant Larry Seagle, of the LCSO, said the SAR Merit Badge covers topics like First Aid, Land Navigation, Incident Command System, Search Tactics, and careers in Search and Rescue.
“Part of the Merit Badge also required the Scouts to participate in a mock search which was conducted on the Scout Reservation Saturday afternoon, May 14, 2022,” he said.
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The 2021 Chamber Member of the Year, Hannah Garrett with Chairman Pete Craft and presenter and Events Committee member, Tina Clark. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

Three “Of the Year” awards given at 2022 Chamber Annual meeting

Cherryville’s Business; Chamber Member; and Citizen of the Year honored at May 12 gala


The night of Thursday, May 12, 2022 annual gala and banquet was a great night for those members of the Cherryville Chamber of Commerce who are not just members of our community at large but are businesses and citizens that provide so many great services and love to this great small town in the northwestern corner of Gaston County.
The annual Chamber of Commerce meeting took place last Thursday night at the Cherryville Golf and Country Club and was opened up with a welcome and acknowledgement of all who came that night by Chamber Board of Directors chairman Pete Craft. Mr. Craft recognized and thanked the Board, asking those members present to stand, congratulating them on all their hard work. In addition to Craft (Stamey – Cherryville Funeral Home), the following members are: Mary Beth Tackett (Director/Events Coordinator); Jhoan Alfaro (Alfaro Media Designs); Donna Beringer (Carolina Federal Credit Union); Emily Blackburn (Piedmont Lithium); Johnny Brown (Allstate Insurance); Sarah Chambers (Peak Resources); Barry Heavner (Houser Drug Co.); Emily Hurst (FleetNet America); Hannah Garrett (Carpenter – Porter Funeral Home and Cremation Services); Pam McGinnis (McGinnis Furniture of Cherryville, Inc.); Steve Panton (City of Cherryville); Casey Blair Sipe (Modern Printing Co.); and Vickie Spurling (Vickie Spurling Realty).
Craft then called on Mayor H.L. Beam, III who came up and also welcomed everyone, adding, “We are proud of our Chamber.” Beam also mentioned other events put on by the Chamber, noting that this year’s Independence Day celebration will be moved to Rudisill Stadium this year due to the street construction going on in downtown.
After the invocation by Mr. Craft, Chamber Director Tackett gave the review of the past year 2021, a section of the night’s festivities normally reserved for Events Committee Chairman Gary Dellinger, who was currently out of town.
She showed a brief video of the Year in Review, which met with acclaim by those present, and she recognized the event’s sponsors as well as the program sponsors. Those sponsors were: Carolina Federal Credit Union; the Cherryville Eagle; Cherryville Golf and Country Club; Cherryville Little Theater; City of Cherryville; Dellinger Electric; Modern Printing Company; Sheila Houser, CPA; and Upchurch Garden Center.
The three awards were sponsored by the following: Member of the Year (Calvin Hastings/KTC Broadcasting); Business of the Year (Vickie Spurling Realty); and Citizen of the Year (Patrick O’Leary).
Craft then took the podium and did a brief “Looking Back” aspect in which he commented at the end of his remarks that, “It takes different people to make things happen in a community. Always remember your small businesses and support them.”
The event them moved on to the presentation of the three awards and resultant speeches and comments.
Starting things off was Chamber 2022 Events Committee member Tina Clark who introduced the Member of the Year, Hannah Garrett, of Carpenter – Porter Funeral Home and Cremation Services. Garrett thanked the Chamber and her husband, Scott, as well as the citizens of Cherryville for their love and support, adding that while she wasn’t originally a Cherryville native, she truly loves the community and the love and honor they have given since they arrived.
Former Cherryville mayor, Wade Stroupe, presented the Business of the Year award to Houser Drug. Co-owner/operator and pharmacist Tim Moss, co-owner Don Beam, and co-owner H.L. Beam, III, came up and received the award. Moss spoke about what being one of the oldest businesses means to them and of their love for, and service to, the Cherryville community.
Lastly, the Citizen of the Year award was introduced by Mr. Don Lawrence, who spoke glowingly of the recipient, Dr. Thomas Rhyne White.
“I am proud to call him not just my doctor but my friend and mentor, and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this award than him,” said Lawrence.
Doctor White took the podium and thanked the Chamber as well as his family and many friends present, noting that his and his wife’s decision to move back to Cherryville from Charlotte all those years ago, added to the love of the good folks of Cherryville, many of whom have been his patients at one time or another, has all culminated in this august award.
Mr. Craft, after the presentation of the awards, gave the closing remarks and the evening drew to a close.
(Additional information by Susan L. Powell)
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The W. Blaine Beam Falcon Radio Club took the top honor in the School Club Roundup by taking first place in the Elementary Division. (photo provided)

WBBI’s Falcon Ham Radio Club takes top honor in recent Roundup

Takes top honor by taking first place in the Elementary Division.


It’s no secret among ham radio aficionados… the School Club Roundup is an annual world-wide amateur radio contest and something to be desired as far as “wins”, or great accolades, go.
Why? Because students from all over the United States compete against other school radio clubs from across the nation to make as many contacts on the radio as possible over the course of a few days, said Mark Reep, of W. Blaine Beam Intermediate. Reep, one of the founding members of the club and a ham radio operator himself, said, “This year W. B. Beam Intermediate’s Falcon Radio Club (N2FRC) in Cherryville, NC, took the top honor by taking first place in the Elementary Division.”
The Falcon Radio Club was formed last year, Reep noted, and already has 77 students “…actively involved in learning about amateur radio and how it helps to teach children about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).”
This past February was the school’s first time competing in the event, said Reep, who added that the 4th and 5th grade club members “…did an incredible job racking up 105 contacts on the radio.”
Said Reep, WBBI’s School Counselor, via an email, “The students made voice contact with radio operators in 29 different states, nine school radio clubs, two countries, and two Canadian Provinces, for a total score of 8,190 points. As the club president and trustee, I am extremely proud of the students who participated in the event and all the hard work they have put into making this happen.”
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An artist’s rendering of what the finished Downtown Cherryville sidewalks will look like when finished. See construction work photo on page 3. (photo/graphic provided)

Businesses remain open on Main Street while construction progresses

Construction slated to be completed by late summer


In a recent media release, Downtown Director David Day noted Cherryville City officials say that despite some delays, construction crews are making great progress on the revitalization project in Downtown Cherryville with completion set for late summer.
“Meanwhile,” said Mr. Day, “businesses remain open.”
City Manager Brian Dalton said, “We’re making great progress on our downtown revitalization, but we’re being flexible as we work through challenges.”
Dalton continued, “As is the case with any large project, the crews have worked through delays caused by the weather, availability of materials and workers, and unforeseen construction issues.”
He further noted, “To keep us moving forward, we’ve slightly changed our plan. Soon we’ll work on replacing the sidewalks and light poles from Depot Street to Pink Street. At the same time, we’ll repave the north and south alleys.”
Said Mr. Dalton. “That’s going to allow folks to park behind the buildings and use the rear entrances while we work on Main Street.”
City Manager Dalton also noted that after the alleys are paved, the work will begin on replacing sidewalks and light poles from Pink Street to Mulberry Street.
Downtown Director Day emphasized that repaving Main Street and side streets will occur last.
Said Mr. Day, “We’re all looking forward to that great day. Our citizens have been very patient, and I know they will be excited with us to see the project complete. We’re planning a celebration in the early fall.”
For any citizens who have further questions about the ongoing Main Street construction work, Mr. Day said they may contact him at (704) 435-3451.
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Cherryville City Manager Brian Dalton and Planning and Zoning Director Alex Blackburn jotting down a few notes at the April 12 Gaston VISION 2040 meeting at the town’s Community Building. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

Gaston VISION 2040 kicks off with Cherryville workshop

Far-reaching agenda looking for stakeholders who want to change their future


In a series of Community Engagement workshops, Gaston VISION 2040 has officially launched their ongoing efforts to get input on farsighted goals to make the county a better place to live for our children.
The group’s main question is this: “Are you interested in the future of Gaston County? Let’s have a conversation”, and their primary goal, as stated on the group’s web site and a flier handed out at the Cherryville (and other subsequent) meeting(s), is “To engage county residents, businesses, and organizations in dialogue about their desires for the future of Gaston County, and to use that dialogue, along with an examination of data and trends, to create a VISION for what Gaston County can achieve between now and 2040.”
Furthermore, it is noted (also on the group’s information and web site) that “A community vision is an image of a community’s future. It describes the desired outcome – a place where participants agree they want to journey together.”
On Tuesday, April 12, at 3 p.m., Cherryville was the first spot selected to open up the first round of Community Engagement meetings, according to information from Gaston VISION 2040 (GV2040) and their steering committee, comprised of the following members:
Deborah Ally (Chair); Gaston County YMCA CEO Sharon Padgett (Acting Chair); Donyel Barber; Brandon Bellamy; Gaston County School Superintendent Dr. W. Jeffery Booker; Asst. Chief Nancy Brogdon; Stephen Crane; Cherryville Downtown Director David Day; Gaston County’s Dr. Kim Eagle; the Rev. Dr. Rodney Freeman; Juan Garcia; Thomas Gillespie; Vincent Ginski; Rev. Ray Hardee; Carl A. Harris, Sr.; Dr. Kelvin Harris; Steven Long; Ernest Sumner, II; Natalie Tindol; Dr. Valerie Holmes-Waddell; and Diana Willman.
That first meeting at Cherryville’s Community Building was followed by other meetings on April 12 (at 7 p.m., Bessemer City); April 14 at 3 p.m. (Gaston County Citizens Resource Center in Dallas); and April 14 at 7 p.m., at St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church (Gastonia).
There are to be meetings on Wednesday, April 27 at The Pointe Church in Belmont (at 2 p.m.), and Wednesday, April 27, at 7 p.m., at Belmont Abbey College Haid Theater. On Saturday, April 30, at 10 a.m., a Zoom Session is scheduled (find the link at
Sharon Padgett, the Acting Chairperson, noted a second round of workshops, as per a handout at the first Cherryville session, will be held to build on the topics discussed from the first round of meetings. Those second-round workshops are scheduled for Tuesday, May 24, at 3 and 7 p.m.; Wednesday, May 25, at 3 and 7 p.m.; Thursday; May 26, at 3 and 7 p.m.; and another Saturday Zoom meeting for May 28, at 10 a.m. The meetings are roughly 90 minutes each, Padgett noted.
After introductions at the Cherryville stakeholders meeting, emcee Glenn Walters, of Asheville’s Design Workshop, gave a presentation of the group’s goals, using the VISION’s talking points.
“We want to inspire acting leadership, and represent those things and activities that improve our lives,” said Mrs. Padgett, who added it is “important to be thorough”. In all that is undertaken.
She then quoted Ted Abernathy, an Economic Development Consultant (2019) who said, “Gaston County is at an inflection point”, noting that the county and its leaders “…have been on a journey for almost two years.”
The group, noted Mr. Walters, in “…on schedule to get it (the introduction to GV2040) wrapped by fall”, adding that what they have so far been hearing about, concerning the VISION, concerns the many challenges as well as the many opportunities.
“Please keep in mind,” he said, “this is not a one size fits all VISION.”
Additionally, it was pointed out by stakeholders at the Cherryville workshop, that growth is a big issue and that housing densities are really low, especially in Cherryville’s end of Gaston County.
Walters noted other factors that will be taken into consideration at these upcoming workshops include accessibility to parks, schools, and such for less-served groups of individuals, as well consideration of everyone’s cultural importance and history. Another important aspect, especially in light of the current political outlooks in today’s America and the world is our environment; more importantly, protecting our natural environment and our precious natural resources.
As per the handouts, some questions the group wants all to think about as GV2040 goes forward have to do with: What are the critical issues are facing the county; what are its greatest opportunities; how can a shared county-wide vision serve various organizations or the county’s constituents; and what (if any) limitations are seen, with existing planning for the future?
And, lastly: How can Gaston VISION 2040 help the citizens of the county to help us champion the effort going forward?
For more information, please visit their web site at
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In this publicity photo, originally taken in Watertown, NY, we see Ashley DeMar and her husband, Jeremy Homesley acting out a scene from the book and play, “The Diaries of Adam & Eve”, in which Eve picks out the names of the plants in the Garden of Eden. (photo by Maureen Hillabrandt)

Cherryville couple portray Adam and Eve in locally-hosted production

St. John’s Lutheran Church site for the Mark Twain-written piece scheduled for April 29 and 30


Cherryville couple Ashley DeMar and Jeremy Homesley are scheduled to perform the Mark Twain-written humorous, yet thought-provoking “The Diaries of Adam & Eve” on Friday and Saturday, April 29 and 30, at St. John’s Lutheran Church, in Cherryville.
The production starts at 7 p.m., and a free will offering will be taken with any donations given going to the church’s ministry to feed the hungry, “God’s Work, Our Hands” ministry.
The two, who moved to Cherryville in 2019 from New York, had lived here previously in 2016, said Ms. DeMar, who added she is originally from New York, but that Jeremy’s family is from Cherryville.
“We are lucky enough to live on the family farm – in the same house his grandparents built – and that’s an invaluable experience for us and for us to give to our son, Roan,” she said.
Jeremy said, “I’ve lived here since 2008 and I think it’s a great area. I initially moved here right after graduating from undergrad at Lenoir-Rhyne. We left in the summer of 2017 when I did a long section hike on the Appalachian Trail (from North Carolina to New York). And then we spent a bit of time in New York and a bit of time in Virginia before coming back in spring of 2019.”
Though they are far from retirement age, Ashley noted Jeremy is an English teacher at Bessemer City High School where he teaches British Literature, World Literature, Honors English and AP English, in addition to leading Drama Club. She works remotely as a writer/copywriter, in addition to her work in the theater and music world. Together, we also run a farm and Project Local, which is the non-profit Jeremy founded in 2017.
Said Jeremy, “Project Local is a non-profit agro-business founded on the idea that food production is an essential component of education. Incidentally, Project Local is also producing this play, as a part of our series Project Local Presents, aiming to apply “homegrown” not only to food, but to art, music, theater, poetry and all manner of creative pursuits.”
Working in and on plays is in their blood as Ashley said, “Well, Jeremy had been involved with a production of this play with the Lincoln Theatre Guild in 2016. And it was his idea to work on it together. Since it is only two people and limited tech needs, it’s something we can easily take with us wherever we may go. (And I said yes, because my grandmother took every opportunity to remind me that we distantly related to Mark Twain.)”
Jeremy agreed, adding, “Yeah, I wouldn’t have found it on my own, but after I did it with LTG. I thought it was a great piece to carry forward.”
The two have been performing “Adam & Eve” together since 2017, but have both been performing professionally and recreationally for many years beyond that, they said.
Said Ashley, “I have been performing since anyone would watch. But especially when I became heavily involved in community theater as a kid. This eventually led to pursuing a BFA in Theater Performance and I have been working professionally ever since. Over the years, I have been lucky enough to work with The Live Literature Company (London, England), The Rev Theatre Company (Auburn, NY), The Barter Theatre (Abingdon, VA), Liberty Mountain – The Revolutionary Drama (Kings Mountain, NC), Davidson Community Players (Charlotte, NC), and many more.”
Jeremy added, “I was always involved in music and performance throughout school. And fell back into it in 2015 with the premiere of ‘Liberty Mountain’ – I ended up working with Liberty Mountain for six seasons. I’ve also done a couple of other shows in the area, including ‘Robin Hood’ and ‘Adam & Eve’ with Lincoln Theater Guild.”
As for props, Ashley said, “ Our set and props are relatively minimalistic. But one of the coolest things about our set this time around, is that it was constructed from raw lumber that Jeremy milled himself on the farm.”
She also noted the show features flowers and set pieces decorated to imitate the Garden of Eden.
“So, we are also interested in partnering with local florists for some of this – we think it would add a really special community flair.”
When asked if there was a “message” they wished to convey by performing this play, Ashley said, “Honestly, for me the message is less about the story and more about the production itself. It’s to show that no matter where you may be in the world, you can always create something that wasn’t there before.”
Jeremy noted American author Mark Twain originally wrote this in two sections; the second one after his wife had passed.
“It’s a testament of his love for her that shines through to this day. And anyone who has ever felt like that can connect with this story. I cannot tell you, after the first time I did this show, how three or four older men had to come up and hug me afterward – they felt so seen. The play takes us through the whole spectrum of life: new life, new knowledge, love and loss. The spirit of the play is universal.”
Ashley and Jeremy both strongly support the ministry St. John’s has to offer.
“In particular, this production will go to benefit God’s Work Our Hands, an outreach ministry that provides food and resources for the community. (And yes, Jeremy’s father is the pastor there.),” noted Ashley.
For more information on the play, call St. John’s Lutheran Church at (704) 435-9264.
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Jane Billedeaux and Harris Putnam getting ready to tie the knot after many years apart. (photos provided)

After many decades apart, Shelby couple meet again; tie the knot


For Jane Billedeaux, 83, and Harris Putnam, 82, words like “hope” and “true love” aren’t just words, they really do mean what they say. They mean happiness can happen to anyone any time, no matter how much time has passed.
After all, it’s not every day, Jane said, you have an old flame call on you in order to propose to you after many decades apart and numerous marriages (with children too!) between them.
The loving couple tied the knot in November 2021 in the Walmart parking where she worked as a customer hostess. The minister was Gary Donaldson, who also worked nearby and knew Jane. Wedding guests (between 50 to 75, she said) were family and many of Jane’s fellow Walmart employees.
Mrs. Putnam said she and Harris were both born and raised in Earl, went to school there and became what she called “sweethearts” there in their fifth and sixth grade years.
After going their separate ways, marrying (three times for her, each ending in the death of her husband at the time), and the death of Harris’ wife, Jane said she felt it was not meant to be for her to be married. Little did she know that Harris had apparently never forgotten her and set about trying to find her. He did by going to the Earl post office, she said, and asking if they knew if she still lived there. Though she worked at a Walmart in Myrtle Beach, S.C., she still had her house in Earl and just happened to be visiting with family, so was back in town.
“I was home (August 2021) for a nine-day vacation from my job at the Myrtle Beach Walmart. Harris called me and we met at 8:30 a.m., on a Tuesday. He brought me a big, beautiful bouquet of roses. They were so big I couldn’t see him behind them!” she said, smiling. “He took me to Tryon to see waterfalls; he loves waterfalls. We were together eight of the nine days I had off.”
Jane said Harris must have still had some feelings for her in the 64 years they were apart, but it still hit her, as she said, “…like a ton of bricks” when he proposed to her.
“He said he wanted to marry me before Thanksgiving, but I didn’t give him an answer right then,” she said. She wanted to talk to her best friend, her daughter, Frances Pruitt. After that Jane said she felt she had to say “Yes!” to Harris.
Harris, said Jane, worked for the government for 30-plus years, retired from that, then worked at the Charlotte-Douglas Airport for a number of years.
The two are very active, she said, with there being three months difference in age between them, she noted, adding that she is the older of the two of them (her: March 27, to his: June 13).
Jane said she knows their wedding has even been on Google, adding she is grateful it has touched so many lives in a positive manner.
“Our story has given so many of all ages hope; that they too can find someone; find love. Don’t give up! Anything can happen.” she said.
Of their wedding, she said, “It’s like a big dream! It’s like a plaque we saw in Walmart about good things are yet to come. We bought it before our wedding. It’s now hanging in their bedroom in our house. Harris loves it as he is very romantic! I could not have gone out and found a better man than him.”
In closing, Jane, who still works as a customer hostess at the Shelby Walmart, said, “I am blessed; we are blessed. The Lord has been so good to me; to us.”
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Ashley Long (far right) and Katy Beam (far left) in their kindergarten class with Mayor Beam. (photo provided)

Mayor H.L. Beam visits Cherryville Elementary School students

Beam: “I was greatly impressed with their questions!”


Cherryville Elementary School Principal Mrs. Audrey Hovis said 2nd grade students in Mrs. Kelly Brown’s class wrote letters to Cherryville Mayor H.L. Beam III, asking him several questions about City government.
Their efforts didn’t go unnoticed she noted, adding, “Mayor Beam surprised the elementary school students and answered their questions in person,” last week. “The students were so excited!”
Additionally, Mayor Beam also spoke with teacher Katy Beam’s and teacher assistant Ashley Long’s kindergarten students as well.
When asked about his being a sort of “teacher for a day”, Mayor Beam said, “I had a ball. I have done it a couple of years ago, and Councilmember Jill Parker-Puett and I have also gone there and talked with the students as well.”
Mayor Beam said that while many of the kids’ questions were fairly serious and on-point, there were a few that were cute and humorous as well.
One in particular, he said, with a laugh, was when, “One little boy asked me what it was like to live in the White House. I told him I don’t live in the White House but in a red brick house not far from the school.”
Another humorous question was, after a little boy, in line with his fellow students and carrying his lunch back to class, passed the Mayor, Mrs. Hovis and Mrs. Long in the hall, he then whispered loudly to a little girl classmate behind him, saying, “Donald Trump is here today!”
“Mrs. Long and Mrs. Hovis told me I just got promoted,” said Mayor Beam, with a chuckle.
Mayor Beam noted how impressed he was with the students and their great questions.
“Their brains are like sponges and they can’t wait to get some new bit of information. They soak it up. They remember everything you say to them!” he said.
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And... It’s CUT! The ribbon is cut, signifying the opening of the new “digs” for the Cherryville Family YMCA, located on Mountain Street, across from the Cherryville Area Ministries building. Many dignitaries, both city, county, and state, were on hand as the bright red ribbon was cut by those with a stake in the new 2022 Cherryville Family YMCA! (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

New Cherryville “Y” ribbon cutting ceremony

“Y” CEO Padgett, staff and employees welcome city, county, state and other dignitaries to state-of-the-art facility


The weather was great for the ribbon cutting ceremony and grand opening of the new state-of-the-art Cherryville Family YMCA facility on Thursday, March 24.
Wishing everyone present a “good afternoon”, Chief Volunteer officer of the Gaston County Family YMCA Board of Directors David Rogers said further, as things got started, “This is an exciting day for our YMCA and especially for the community of Cherryville. Thank you for being here.”
Rogers then introduced Mt. Zion Baptist Church pastor, Rev. Keith Huss, as, “...our partner in after-school and summer camp” programs to lead everyone in an opening prayer.
Gaston Family YMCA Sharon Padgett, came to the podium and spoke from a prepared statement about the history of the YMCA in Cherryville.
Reading from her statement, Padgett said, “In 2001 there was a great group of Cherryville City Stakeholders – community members – many who are here today, who saw the need to have a YMCA in Cherryville. So, programs began and the planning started and in 2003 Main Street came to life with a new Cherryville Family YMCA. We are grateful, humbled and blessed to be where we are today.”
Fast forwarding to 2021, Padgett noted another great group of Cherryville City Stakeholders and community members, also many who were there at the ribbon cutting, saw, as she said, “...the need for a new, updated, state of the art YMCA in Cherryville that will carry us for another 20-plus years.”
Padgett also noted how “...many Cherryville families, adults, children and seniors have improved their spirit, mind and body through the doors of the YMCA – not because of the equipment or exercise classes we provide – those are just tools – but by the relationships and friendships that have been built over the years with each other.”
Sharon said “many hands, minds, hearts and prayers that have gone into the making of this new YMCA” and named the following and their contributions: Mr. Patrick and Karen O’Leary for their love for Cherryville and its people; for their passion for service above self and the sharing of their treasures, which fills up, as God’s Word says, “...the storehouses to overflowing.” Padgett added, “We are grateful and there are not enough words to express our gratitude!”
To Mrs. Vickie Spurling, of Spurling Realty, without whose stepping forward and saying, “Come see me, I gotta tell you something that you won’t believe!”, we would not be here standing in this parking lot celebrating.
Added Padgett, “I think she said that to me several times throughout this process!”
To the tireless work of Cherryville Family YMCA employees Butch Boyd and Sandy Homesley, she said, “Your prayers, the love you have for this Y, but mostly for the people of Cherryville, this has been a long day coming and we stand here celebrating because of the grace of God and His wonderful provision! Thank you for who you are and what you mean to this Y and to this community.”
She continued, “To the YMCA staff: not naming names because I will miss somebody. You are the cream of the crop! This Y appreciates you and values what you give day in, and day out to make the mission happen!”
To the Mabry’s (owners of the buildings that housed the former YMCA), she said, “Thank you! Many wonderful years in the Mabry buildings on Main Street. We were able to continue our mission in Cherryville all these years because of your commitment to the Y. Thank you!”
Padgett also thanked the Y’s Board of Advisors in Cherryville and their Board of Directors by saying, “Thank you for believing in this work (and) knowing that Cherryville is a part of the greater whole. When we all row in the same direction great things happen.” She also noted the “Y community and members” by saying, “You deserve this! You deserve it all and it is because of you that this happened! Our Cherryville community needs this Y and this Y needs you!”
In addition to the O’Leary family’s and the Spurling family’s contributions and hard work, Padgett also said, by way of a “shout out”, “Many hands make light work, but the work was not light and there were many hands that made this building possible: Chris Spurling Contractor; Vic with Hoyle Construction; Heath Jackson Plumbing; (Gary) Dellinger Electric; All American Corporation – HVAC contractor; A and A Painting; Chuck Sneed – Bricklayer; and GSM – Roofing.
Padgett also recognized local dignitaries: Mayor H.L. Beam, III, of Cherryville; Cherryville City Council members present; City Manager Brian Dalton (“So thankful for our partnership with the city in the past, now and in the future!”); former CEO of the GCFY, Phill Morgan; House of Representatives member Kelly Hastings and his work through the State of NC for the gift of $10,000 for the Cherryville Family YMCA; Gaston County Manager, Dr. Kim Eagle; and Gaston County Commissioner, Cherryville Township, Mr. Allen Fraley. Thank you! Our hearts are full today!”
Mr. O’Leary said he and his wife were delighted to be there at the opening and ribbon cutting of the new Cherryville Family YMCA.
“The idea to put the Y here was all Vickie Spurling’s idea. So thank her for that. The building and its barrel roof inside and out, it’s beautiful!” he said. “Also, I feel like I’m walking in the shoes of Mr. Dewey Beam,” said Mr. O’Leary, referencing Mr. Beam’s Chrysler/Plymouth dealership in Cherryville that was at the building now housing the new YMCA. The car dealership is said to have opened April 1, of 1947.
Patrick also noted that every dollar spent went to local vendors or to local businesses.
Said Mayor Beam, “It is wonderful to see this crowd her today. This is our fourth ribbon cutting this month! This building is state-of-the-art and it is beautiful! We are happy to have this facility her in our town and look forward to it being in Cherryville for many, many years to come.”
Cherryville Chamber Board of Directors Chairman Pete Craft agreed, adding, “Thanks to all for being here today. We are blessed to have the Cherryville Family Y folks here in this community. I just want you all to know that we here at the Chamber are here to serve you.”
Cherryville’s Downtown Main Street Director David Day said, “We look forward to years of working with you.”
Terri Spake, Branch Manager of Cherryville’s HomeTrust Bank presented a check for $53,000-plus to the Cherryville YMCA. 
Afterwards, Mrs. Padgett reminded folks that after the ribbon cutting, they can feel free to roam around the new Y.
“Staff will be in black polo’s and they can answer any questions you may have,“ she said. “Food is available in the Group Exercise room from 133 West, out of Kings Mountain. They will soon have a location here in Cherryville at the old Butter Me Up location!”
For more information on the new Y’s hours of operation, call (704) 445-9622. 
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Surrounded by family, friends, and Cherryville City staff and Chamber members, professional photographer Frank Zayas and his wife, Teddi cut the ribbon for their new photography business in Cherryville. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

Zayas’opens new photography business in Cherryville


A new business in Cherryville can help you with any needs you may have when it comes to images of weddings, portraits, and other such things that require the skills of a talented photographer – Frank Zayas Photography.
The business, located at 703 E. Main St., Cherryville, is the brainchild of Master Photographer Zayas and his wife Teddi, a daughter of the late John Kilby, a former Cherryville and Gaston County educator. The Zayas’ relocated her from Georgia, where he was, for 32 years, a professional photographer as well as the staff photographer for the DeKalb County School system.
The couple has been back in the community for a bit, they said, adding they are very glad to be back and are looking forward to working in and with the community, providing this professional experience for all.
“It is great to be in Cherryville,” said Frank, as he greeted the many family and friends who all came by to wish him and his wife well, and to welcome them to the city “…Where Life Blossoms!”
Chamber Board of Director’s Chairman Pete Craft spoke, welcoming the couple to the town, adding all were “…happy to be here!” His welcome was followed by the Rev. Dr. Billy Lowe, of Cherryville’s First Presbyterian Church’s oration of welcome, referencing the Old Testament’s Book of Deuteronomy, chapter 8, verse 18, and the resultant prayer for the success of the Zayas’ business.
Mayor H.L. Beam, III then spoke, recognizing City Council member Jill Parker-Puett’s presence; as well as that of City Manager Brian Dalton and City Clerk, Paige Green’s being there, along with other City, Chamber, and Main Street staff and personnel as well.
Said Mayor Beam, “It is a great pleasure for all of us from the City, Chamber, and Main Street to welcome you all and this great business adventure to Cherryville.”
Mayor Beam then went on to tell all there what Mr. Zayas  does as pertains to the particulars of his art and craft, all of which can be ascertained by going to his web site at
Zayas was also equally thankful to the City and all those who attended the ribbon cutting, but especially thanked his wife, Teddi, who he said, “…does a little bit of everything!”
Frank said that although he still does a great deal of work in and around Charlotte, he feels they are off to a good start here in Cherryville and around the area nearby, adding, “And we hope it will get better!”
To reach Frank Zayas Photography, call them at (678) 488-8819, or email them at
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Surrounded by his wife, Marci (to his left), and a host of Clinic staff, family and friends, as well as Cherryville City and Chamber officials, Dr. Bret Turner (center front) wields the big scissors as he cuts the ribbon, signifying that Turner Animal Clinic is officially “open for business” in Cherryville! (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

Thursday ribbon cutting officially opens Turner Animal Clinic

Dr. Turner noted how the town of Cherryville has grown


A Thursday, March 10, Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting officially opened a new business in Cherryville – Turner Animal Clinic, located at 600 West Church Street, Suite C.
The new veterinary clinic, which has been at their location since Jan. 31 of this year, officially opened Feb. 11. The Clinic is owned and operated by Dr. Bret M. Turner, DVM, and his wife, Marci, who is his Vet Tech. Former education professional and family friend, Millicent Heavner, rounds out the crew of three in the office. The clinic is in the space that formerly housed the medical practice of Dr. George Bradley, who is now retired.
Dr. Turner is an NC State grad and had worked previously at the Cherryville Animal Hospital.
Dr. Turner noted how the town of Cherryville has grown, adding he and his wife saw the town “had a demand” for their services to help in – and be a part of – that growth.
“We want to provide timely, affordable, quality care and meds for dogs, cats, and small animals in Cherryville and the surrounding community,” said Dr. Turner, who added he is a “small animal vet” and is not a large animal vet.
He continued, “Our focus is on preventative meds and treatment of non-critical and non-surgical illnesses.”
Cherryville Chamber Chairman Pete Craft welcomed the Turners to Cherryville and noted the crowd of supporters and well-wishers and family was “…one of the largest crowds I’ve ever seen at a recent ribbon-cutting.”
Mayor H.L. Beam, III, agreed adding that he too, along with the City Manager, City Council members and City staff members present, along with other City personnel, wanted to officially welcome the new business to town at this new location.
“Congratulations, and we appreciate you all,” he added.
Mr. Craft also told the Turners that if the Chamber could help them in any way they had but to ask.
Dr. Turner and his wife were moved by the outpouring from the City and family and friends. He said, “I want to thank my wife and Millicent, and I especially want to thank the Lord, Who paved the way for this to happen, and lastly, I especially want to thank the City of Cherryville for everything!”
The Clinic’s hours are Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m., to 5 p.m., and on Friday, 8 a.m., until 12 noon. Their office phone number is (704) 802-4299, and their fax number is (704) 802-4440. You may also reach them at
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Members of Chris Degree’s family and friends, as well as Cherryville City officials and staff, Chamber Board members and staff, and Cherryville Main Street members and staff pose at the March 3, ribbon cutting for Degree’s Tony T’zzz “Grill on Wheels.” Chris (with the Chamber’s big scissors), his wife, Angela, and their children and grandchildren all smiled as Chris cut the bright red ribbon. (photo by MEP/The Eagle/CF Media)

Tony Tzzz’s “Grill on Wheels” to be a great addition to Downtown


Long a sight at the City’s many festivals, as well as more than a few other festivals around Gaston County as well, Cherryville was pleased to announce last Thursday’s, March 3, ribbon cutting for Tony Tzzz’s “Grill on Wheels” Food Truck.
The food truck is the brainchild of Chris Degree and is well-known for its wonderful and flavorful food, cooked up and served with love and smiles.
Chris said his business, which has been around for quite a while, was named in honor of his oldest son, Tony, who was sadly killed in a car accident on Oct. 18, 1989.
“I have retired from Freightliner,” said Chris, “and I have done quite a lot of festivals in Cherryville and around the county. I am hoping we get to get here, weather permitting, every Friday and set up and cook some good food.”
Working with Chris are his son, C.J. Degree, 23, a well-known CHS athlete, and daughter, Brittany. His grandsons, Demario and Christian Chalk were also on hand helping out with getting things set up for the ribbon cutting. His oldest daughter is Chrissy, he said, and he that the family will also help out with the cooking tasks once things get going.
He laughed and said, “I’ve already had people stopping and asking me if they could order food! I had to tell them this was just for our ribbon cutting but that we would be back!”
Degree noted city’s and county’s have designated spots for food trucks to set up in so as not to impede traffic flow and such.
“I have been doing this for 20-plus years,” he said, adding, “I do this to remember Tony. We are usually here at the festivals all the time, except for when we couldn’t because of COVID.”
Chamber Board of Directors Chairman Pete Craft welcomed Chris and his family, saying, “We’re glad to have you here and to see this good turnout. The weather is great also. Chris, we wish you well in your endeavor. If there is anything the Chamber can do for you don’t hesitate to let us know.”
Mayor H.L. Beam, III, agreed, adding, “It’s a beautiful day here in the City Where Life Blossoms, and it’s a great day to recognize such a unique business, which is also a mobile business. We wish you much success and want to thank you all for choosing Cherryville and thank you for providing Cherryville with such a great service!”
Main Street Chairperson, Donna Beringer also welcomed Chris and his family, adding, “I just want to say thank you for coming here and for providing this service to Cherryville. If there is anything we can do for you all, please let us know.”
Chris said, though he wasn’t “much of a talker”, as he put it, he said, “We are glad to be here. We will serve you right. We do this the right way. Thank all of you for coming out.”
This was the first ribbon cutting, noted Craft and Mary Beth Tackett, for new Chamber Board members Barry Heavner (Houser Drug), Johnny Brown (Allstate Insurance), Emily Blackburn (Piedmont Lithium), and Sarah Chambers (Peak Resources).

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NC American Legion Baseball Hall of Fame ceremony March 5

Two Cherryville inductions gives town 15 of its own in auspicious Hall of Fame


On Saturday, March 5, two Cherryville men will be inducted into the 2021 class of the North Carolina American Legion Baseball Hall of Fame. The two are Post 100 American Legion Commander Mike Robinson and former umpire Sam Homesley, also a member of Post 100.
Returning once again to the “City Where Life Blossoms”, the 2022 ceremony will be held at the Cherryville Post 100 Legion Hut and starts at 6:30 p.m.
According to Area IV Baseball Commissioner Jerry Hudson the inductees are, in addition to Mr. Robinson and Mr. Homesley, David Ellis, of Post 102 (Ahoskie), and Jerald D. “Danny” Rollins, of Post 39 (Greenville). Also to be recognized are North Carolina Players of the Year, Will Blackburn (Junior Player of the Year), and Zach Wilson (Senior Player of the Year).
Last year, Mr. Hudson noted that he and Mark Cauble, and Terry Melton were all inducted at the American Legion Convention in Raleigh.
Said Jerry, “For many years the AL Hall of Fame has been at many different Posts throughout the state as hosted by those various Posts.”
Longtime sports writer Richard Walker’s web site,, noted that, “…Homesley is a Cherryville High and East Carolina graduate who was a longtime school teacher and coach at Burns High School.
“A 45-year Legion member and Vietnam veteran, Homesley also was a longtime high school and Legion baseball umpire who worked two Legion regional tournaments and 12 N.C. state tournaments.”
Walker’s site continued, “Robinson is a Cherryville High graduate who was a truck driver for 35 years. A Vietnam veteran, Robinson has been Cherryville Post 100 commander the past eight years during which time he has worked every Post 100 baseball game.”
Walker also went into more detail concerning the number of times the event has been hosted by Post 100.
Wrote Walker, “It’ll be the sixth time the event has been held in Cherryville and the eighth time in Gaston County. Cherryville hosted in 1977, 1982, 1985, 1987 and 1993, and Gastonia hosted in 1971 and 2005.”
His web site further noted, “The induction of Homesley and Robinson gives Cherryville 15 members of the N.C. American Legion Baseball Hall of Fame; Ezra V. Moss, Sr. (1971 class), Edmond Sullivan (1972), John R. Smith (1974), John Mosteller (1977), Aaron Moss (1981), Ronald 'Scoop’ Kiser (1984), Hugh Putnam (1986), Hugh 'Buzz’ Peeler (1988), Bill Abernethy (1998), Rocky Bennett (2006), Bobby Reynolds (2007), David 'Benny’ Blanton (2008) and Jerry Hudson (2020) were previous inductees.”
Hudson added that Sam, “…umpired high school (and) American Legion baseball for 37 years”, adding that for “…over 25 years” Sam and he umpired together high school, American Legion games, State Championships, and Regionals.”
Jerry said, “Bob Beason is Chairman of Hall of Fame Committee. Members are himself (Area IV Baseball Commissioner Hudson), and Mark Cauble, the NC State Baseball Chairman.
For his part, Post 100 member and veteran Sam Homesley said, “I am honored to be inducted! I had fun and appreciate the American Legion recognizing me for all the hard work I put in.”
Cherryville’s Post 100 American Legion Commander Mike Robinson said, “I really do appreciate the honor to be inducted. However, it’s all thanks to my veteran brothers and sisters at Post 100. It is all of them that have helped me get any recognition I have gotten now and over the years. This honor and my induction is as much about them as it is me, especially for me to be in the position I am in at this time, as their Post Commander. Honestly, we are all like a family here at Post 100. I appreciate all of them!”
For more information on this or other Cherryville or local high school or Legion sports history, visit Richard Walker’s website, at
For those wishing to come to the ceremony, Mr. Hudson said tickets can be purchased at the door.
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At the Feb. 11 retirement ceremony for Capt. Chris “Pudge” Cash, held at the Cherryville Fire Department, Assistant Chief Colby Heffner, Mayor H.L. Beam, III, and retired CFD fire chief Jeff Cash all pose with the man of the hour, Chris “Pudge” Cash as he poses with a signed photo of the word, “Retired” spelled out using captured images, forming the letters of the word. (photo by MEP/The Eagle)

CFD Capt. Chris “Pudge” Cash retires after 36 years of service

Began serving his community as a Junior Firefighter while at CHS


Cherryville Fire Department Captain Chris “Pudge” Cash has decided – after more than three decades of selfless service to his beloved hometown – to retire.
Cash, younger brother to retired Chief Jeff Cash, started his career in the fire service, he said, as a young lad while he was still in high school.
“I started in 1984 at Hugh’s Pond Volunteer Fire Department when I was 16, then went to Cherryville’s Fire Department,” he said. “(The late) Joe Vandyke was the chief then and it was him that developed the junior firefighter program.”
“Pudge” graduated from CHS in 1985 and never looked back, so far as getting more firmly entrenched in the career he loves so much, and getting to serve others is, for him, just more icing on the professional cake.
Serving others in the fire services runs in the family as Chris, his older brother, Jeff, a couple of uncles, a number of sons and cousins, and, well, you get the picture… have all chosen to, some way, somehow, get active and help folks by being firefighters either in Cherryville, Shelby, Charlotte, or other towns nearby.
Pudge had his retirement ceremony on Friday, Feb. 11, and many of his family, friends, and fellow smoke-eaters came by during the 3 to 5 p.m. “drop-in” event just to say a kind word and to wish him well in his retirement.
Mayor H.L. Beam, III said probably what was on just about everyone’s mind that day when he said, “I’m gonna miss him! He’s one of the good ones!”
Mayor Beam talked about Pudge’s well-known humorous made-up awards and their presentations during the annual CFD Awards and Christmas Banquet, saying that he always made people laugh.
Presenting Pudge with his Captain’s helmet was Assistant Fire Chief Coby Heffner.
Said AC Heffner, “Pudge was my first (fire) captain, and he has meant a lot to me over the years I have been here.” This brought a tear or three to Pudge’s eyes as he remembered how young Colby came up in the ranks, first as a junior firefighter, then a Driver/Engineer, then later moving through the ranks to eventually become the Assistant Chief upon Jason Wofford becoming Fire Chief.
Of Colby, Pudge said, “One of the greatest parts of my job was to see this young man become the young man he is today. I got to train him and my son, Travis, and my nephews, Chad and Quentin, as well as many others.”
He continued, “It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve with everyone of the men and women here. I am going to miss all of you!”
Of his retirement, Pudge said, “It’s going to be a big change for me.”
Chris said he will continue to work at his uncle Hugh Eaker’s business, Eaker Car Ports (aka Eaker Enterprises) and enjoy spending time with his wife, Danya, and their family. The two met through work, said Pudge, in 2011, and they have four children: Travis Cash (a Charlotte firefighter with Engine Co. #12); Lanie Cash (an RN, who plans to marry her fiancé, Jacob Harrell in March); Lawson Harkey; and Mallory Harkey. Mallory’s boyfriend, Chase Cheatum, was there congratulating Pudge on his retirement as well.
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In this image of Main Street’s improvements, the image on the left is what the City currently looks like, and the image on the right is an artistic rendering of what it will look like with the newly-completed sidewalks and brick work.

Downtown Streetscape construction moving quickly

Streetscape progreses with completion set for late summer


There have been many questions about the state of affairs with Cherryville’s City Streetscape work in the Downtown area lately. Citizens look around and can see what has been done so far, and what is still being done.
To that end, and thanks to a recent media release from Cherryville’s Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Program, spokesman Steve Panton and Chamber Director David Day, as well as Mayor H.L. Beam, III, City Manager Brian Dalton, and City Public Works Director Brandon Abernathy, all addressed those questions and concerns.
The City staff personnel and officials noted they “…are pleased with the progress (of the ongoing) Downtown construction,” adding, “And they’re looking forward to being finished before late summer.
City Manager Brian Dalton said in the release, he was pleased with how things were moving along.
“Our contractors have been great,” said City Manager Dalton, who added, “We’ve had good weather and they’ve moved really fast. The first phases are already complete.”
According to Mr. Dalton, Dominion Energy completed their gas line work in October, and the  construction  company, Cajan, finished their sewer work in November.
Mr. Dalton added he expects Sealand’s work on the water lines to be finished “…within weeks.”
Mr. Day also noted that next up, work will begin on the streetscape to lay new sidewalks, bury cables, erect new streetlamps, put in new plantings, and repave Main Street.
Mr. Dalton continued, “They’ll start at Depot Street and move west section by section. Once they reach Mulberry Street in late summer, Main Street will be totally transformed.”
As Mr. Abernathy, public works director, stated in the media release, “The city will work hard to keep disruption to businesses to a minimum.”
He continued, “One key initiative will be to lay new temporary surfaces in the alleys behind the businesses on both the north and south sides of the street before any street construction starts. That’s going to open up parking and allow people to enter our merchants through their back doors.”
Cherryville Downtown Director Day said, “The Main Street Program office will keep merchants, community members, and visitors informed,” adding, “We have a website page that we’ll update frequently. And, we’ll have signs directing street and pedestrian traffic.”
Cherryville Mayor H.L. Beam, III, pointed to the citizens of Cherryville as the driving force behind the project’s success to date.  Said Mayor Beam, “Our citizens saw the need. Then, they stepped up, voted, and met it.”
He continued, “So far, our citizens have delt amazingly well with the interruptions. We know the last phase will be the hardest. But, we’re on the home stretch now. Generations of Cherryville’s citizens will be blessed because of the sacrifices of this one.”
Mr. Day was enthusiastic about what the changes will mean for the economic development of Cherryville’s downtown.
Said Day, “Savvy investors are already pouring millions of dollars into renovating our old buildings. We’re expecting several new restaurants and a brewery in the near future.”
Day continued, “But that’s not all. We’ll soon see new retail and office space and many new apartments.”
Additionally, Day noted how several new restaurants have expressed interest in joining the Main Street community of merchants.
“Downtown’s future is bright,” said Mr. Day.
For those who have further questions or just want more information about downtown construction, Mr. Day said to call the Main Street Program office at (704) 435-3451, or visit the City’s new website at

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All the principal actors in attendance at the movie premiere of “El Dedo Rojo”, from left to right: Timmy Flemming (a.k.a. Orange Crush), Jason Wofford (a.k.a. Redfinger), Matt Smith (a.k.a. Mateo) and Maria Ellis (who plays Mateo’s caddy). (photo provided)

CHS Spanish teacher stirs interest in students with self made videos

“El Dedo Rojo” one in a long line of neat teaching tools/productions


By day, he is mild-mannered CHS Spanish teacher Matt Smith; by, well, also by day (mostly), he is the Spanish James (or is it Diego?) Bond – Spanish-speaking superspy “Mateo”, whose wit (and golf score) are seldom equaled, because, I mean, who wants to anyway?
Seriously folks, CHS Spanish teacher Matt Smith puts a great deal of effort into making learning fun for his students, as do many of his teaching peers. Smith does this by making mostly quick and short iPhone videos for their perusal and enjoyment.
Such was the case with his newest – and possibly longest – endeavor to date, a campy, roughly 23-plus minute “remake” (of sorts) of the Ian Fleming classic James Bond thriller, “Goldfinger”.
The mini-masterpiece, titled “El Dedo Rojo”, or “Redfinger”, for short (and artistic purposes) is a video idea, said Smith recently, whose filming “…was really generated during the pandemic.”
Smith, 48, has been teaching for 20 years after a stint in the business world up near Raleigh. The father of two said, “Last year, on our virtual days I would film mini 'virtual lectures’ and post them to my Canvas page. These started out as purely instructional, pretty much me explaining Spanish grammar concepts, but I couldn’t help but notice that I got more views from students if I put a little comedy in the lectures.
“So, it then occurred to me to recruit other Cherryville teachers/staff to help act out little skits revolving around these instructional concepts. Again, those started off pretty simple, for example, Robert Webb and I did a bit about a piece of macaroni stuck to the inside of the teacher lounge microwave (we were studying Spanish foods at the time). Gradually, these skits became more elaborate – I’d throw in some edited images, perhaps a little music.
“Well, it came as no surprise by then that with the better quality videos the number of students watching them went up as well.  Now, I should point out that all of these videos were filmed with an iPhone, not professional movie equipment, so we had limitations. Still, I decided that for my final video of last year, CHS staff and I would act out an entire restaurant scene – I got eight different staff members to appear in that one, which was approximately eight minutes long. The skit supposedly centers around a Scrabble grudge match that (the CHS media center’s) Nancy Olls were having, but the real purpose was for the teachers and I to
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model a restaurant skit dialogue for my students, since they had to create one of their own for the final exam. And again, it worked well; the student skits were creative and fun to watch.”
Smith continued, “Well, over the summer I started thinking about how much fun all the teachers and I had making the restaurant video. I knew my final year of teaching was approaching (Mat6t said he is retiring to Florida at the end of this year), so I decided to give it a go one last time. The result was 'El Dedo Rojo’ an almost 24-minute long movie featuring approximately 15 CHS students, 15 staff members, and even some community members such as our (current) fire chief. The resulting video was less about instruction and more of a tribute to the town of Cherryville, although I did use it again as the basis for my students’ final exam in December. We even had a movie premiere here at school, with most cast members in attendance. Incidentally, James Bond fans might notice 'El Dedo Rojo’ (Redfinger) is largely a spoof of my favorite James Bond movie, Goldfinger. I even got a friend of mine, country music recording artist, David Britt, to record an original theme song, which is featured at the end of the movie.”
Smith loves playing golf almost as much as he loves teaching, and what with growing up in Florida and with playing the sport of golf, as he says, “most of (his) adult life”, Florida seemed like a great place to make his retirement haven.
“I’m originally from Charlotte,” noted Smith, who also added this year was his second at CHS. He graduated with a degree in Spanish in 1996 from NC State, playing – he said – quite a bit of golf there when he had time off from his studies. He later got a job in telecommunications. Smith said his handicap is “probably a solid 8” and he noted he shoots “around 80”.
Back to the video.
“The idea, again, came in bits and pieces,” said Smith, adding he is most proud of being able to get many members of the Cherryville community involved in and engaged with the instructive video.
“Bottom line? I like that it (the video) became something that engaged my students as well as the community,” he said.
One of the actors in the video, Mrs. Carrie B. Dalton, CHS Secretary and Head Girls Basketball Coach, said, “I had a great time helping with the film. Mateo always does a great job and puts on a great production.”
Cherryville Fire Chief Jason Wofford also had a great deal of fun playing the antagonist, El Dedo Rojo, a.k.a. Redfinger. He said of the video, “I enjoyed worked with Mr. Smith during this video. I thought it was an awesome idea to spur interest in (the) Spanish (language).”
Smith said those interested in looking at the video, which can be found on Youtube (search El Dedo Rojo), might be better served by going to his url at
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Retired CFD Chief Jeff Cash with OLLP Award. (photo provided)

Retired Fire Chief Cash recipient of Order of Long Leaf Pine Award

He joins a long list of winners of the
auspicious, celebrated state award


Being honored with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award is no trivial thing and it is to be noted more than a few folks from Cherryville have been blessed with the auspicious honor.
Now, after 40-plus years of service to his community and his home state, retired Cherryville Fire Chief Jeffrey C. Cash can count himself as one of those who have received the honor and the beautiful award that goes with it.
To say he was surprised by the award, given to him by longtime friend and fellow Fire Chief Jake Whisnant at the Dec. 12, 2021 CFD Banquet, would be an understatement.
On receiving the honor, Jeff said, “I did not know about the award until Jake made the presentation at our annual Christmas banquet. I was honored to be given this award and very appreciative of the award for what it represents. After 43 years in the fire service, it was great to receive this level of an award.  My career, over 43 years in the fire service, was not really a job. I always felt like it was a ‘calling’. I was blessed to work with some great folks over the years and the City of Cherryville was very good to me and my family. I always hoped, in my travels across the
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country, that I was an ambassador for Cherryville. I am truly a blessed individual.”
At the 2021 banquet, Chief Whisnant, of Shelby FD, regaled those there with humorous stories and memories of his and Jeff’s time serving together first at Shelby, then later working to get grants or to get something done for firefighters and their families.
“Before I present him with this gift, which I don’t know if he knows what it is or not, thought he probably does, I just want to say to you Jeff, that Sen. Kathy Harrington sends her heartfelt regrets that she can’t be here tonight, but wishes you and Cynthia and your family all the best,” said Chief Whisnant, in a previous Eagle article.
Mr. Cash was presented him with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the state’s highest recognition of honor for one of its citizens, and, clearly moved by all of the presentations and words of kindness, thanked everyone, saying then, “I love all of you and your families. I am so thankful for my family. I am a blessed man!”
Retired Chief Cash reiterated that Sen. Kathy Harrington “…helped expedite the nomination to the Governor’s office,” adding, “The nomination actually came from Jake Whisnant, Executive Director of the NC Association of Fire Chiefs & Retired Deputy Chief of Shelby Fire Department.”
Cash continued, “Jake was assisted with the application by my family, Cynthia, (and sons) Chad and Quentin.”
Jeff noted he started his fire services career in 1979 in Rock Hill, SC.
“I moved from Rock Hill Fire Department to Shelby Fire Department and then came to Cherryville Fire Department in 1981.”
As for his career choice inspiration, he said, “Of course, my inspiration was my mom and dad, but I was also greatly influenced by my uncle, who was a Cherryville volunteer firefighter. His name was Wayne Eaker. My dad was a truck driver and was gone a lot. Uncle Wayne’s only child was a daughter (Debbie Eaker); therefore, he allowed me to tag along with him on fire calls and he also took me fishing regularly.  One particular winter day, he allowed me to go with him to a house fire on Putnam Street in Cherryville. I was about 12 years old. This fire call confirmed for me that all I wanted to do was become a firefighter.”
He continued, “On this particular house fire, Uncle Wayne was assigned to the roof, to cut a hole in the roof, and I can still see in my mind him on the roof of the house doing his best to help the family in need. Thus began my love for the fire service! One of the key reasons that I have had such a wonderful career is especially due to my wife, Cynthia, and to our sons, Chad and Quentin. This also includes extended family members who have been a great encouragement to me and have also been involved in the fire service as well. Over the years there have been countless times that Cynthia has had to take up my responsibilities because I was on an emergency or out of town receiving training. Without my family’s support, this would not have been possible.”
Jeff also noted it has been one of his and Cynthia’s objectives as parents to instill in Chad and Quentin a strong work ethic and a commitment to the community and always the willingness to give back.
“To be a giver, not a taker. We think we have been successful in this area with both Chad and Quentin. Both are successful in their careers and in their communities,” said retired Chief Cash.  The couple’s long-range plans are to retire in the North Myrtle Beach area.
“We both love the coast; however, we really want to stay in the Carolinas. We love beach music and love dancing ‘shagging’. There’s no place like North Myrtle Beach, the home of the Shag dance. Until then, we will continue to be involved with our church, First Baptist Church of Cherryville, the fire service, and the Billy Graham Library ministry,” noted Mr. Cash.
Jeff readily admits he has been very blessed since his retirement.
“I currently have multiple opportunities in part-time capacities and am currently working with NASCAR, in training at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in the area of safety. I am also going to be doing some training coordination for the NC Volunteer Fire Insurance Services.
“I have also been consulting for the past 15 plus years. This past year I formalized the consulting business and we are now ‘Bucket Brigade Consulting, LLC’ Cherryville. I have approximately 26 clients, which are municipalities and counties and have three projects that I am currently working on in regards to my consulting.”
Cash noted he serves as the President, with son, Quentin serving as Vice-President; son, Chad as Treasurer; and wife, Cynthia serving as Secretary.
“As you can see,” he added, “Bucket Brigade Consulting, LLC is a family business!”
Cash also noted the name of the business, Bucket Brigade, is a spinoff of early firefighting techniques.
“We have been blessed in this area and it continues to grow and expand. We are excited about where these opportunities may lead our family! Once again, we are truly blessed.”
Cynthia said of her industrious husband and his Long Leaf Pine Award, “I am so proud of Jeff and I know of no one else who is more deserving of the NC Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award than him. He faithfully served the City of Cherryville and the citizens of our great city for 40 years. He has always had a real love for Cherryville and serving was his ‘calling’, not a job. His dedication, professionalism, servanthood, customer service and love for the Fire Service in our city, state and nation have been outstanding. He is a Godly man, wonderful husband and wonderful father to our sons and daughters-in-law, Chad and his wife Heidi, and Quentin and his wife Erin. We are so proud of him and all that he has accomplished and we look forward to what God has in store for him and our family for the rest of our journey for years to come!”
Son, Quentin said, “Largely, I would echo the comments from Mom. But as far as from my perspective as a firefighter and now as President of the North Carolina State Firefighters’ Association I would add, ‘Jeff Cash is the definition of service and humility. He has been a leader of the NC fire service for over 40 years serving in the past as President of the Western NC Firefighters Association, President of the North Carolina Firefighters’ Association, Deputy Director of the North Carolina Associate of Fire Chiefs, and serving on the Executive Board of the National Volunteer Fire Council.’
“As great as all four of those accolades are, that isn’t what defines Jeff Cash or his service as Fire Chief. What defines Dad is the legacy he is leaving behind. He started building the people of the Cherryville Fire Department years ago. He was mentoring and preparing the future fire service leaders of the Cherryville FD, Gaston County and the state as a whole. You can’t go anywhere from ‘Murphy to Manteo’ without hearing about Chief Jeff Cash from ‘Churville’. About all accolades to us though, ‘Dad’ and ‘Hero’ is always what he will always be!”
Son, Chad, who is the Chief Operations Officer for Carolina Federal Credit Union as well as a Cherryville firefighter, said, “We are so proud of my dad. He had such an amazing career, and he did it the right way. I have always looked up to him since a young age and he is still my mentor to this day. His leadership and integrity are something I strive for daily. He always told us, ‘Give everything you do 110 percent and make sure to take care of the small things because if you do that the big things will take care of themselves.’ He loves the Lord, my mom, his family, and his community with a passion. For over 40-plus years he gave his blood, sweat, and tears to this community and our state. He isn’t defined by awards or accolades but having said that, he deserves this honor and again we are so proud of him!”
Cherryville Fire Chief Jason Wofford, a long-time friend and fellow firefighter, said of his former Chief and mentor, “I am happy to see Jeff receive such a prestigious award. For 32 years I have admired his service to our community but also for his work and dedication to the North Carolina fire service. He has testified before Congress, served on many national committees, and has served on many state boards. His hard work is much deserving of this honor.”