John and Dorothy Crawford were awarded the 2013 Citizen(s) of the Year Award on Tuesday evening at the annual Franklin Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet.
Franklin Chamber of Commerce board member Stacy Guffey, who presented the award, reviewed the rich history of the couple who will celebrate their 72nd wedding anniversary this year. They met in 1940 while studying at the University of North Carolina and were married in 1942, moving back to John's hometown of Franklin in 1945.
Dorothy began working for the Macon County Department of Social Services in 1952, became director in 1959 and worked there until she retired in 1984.
John is a veteran and flew for the Army Air Corps. After their return to Franklin, he began delivering mail for Macon County's Route Five, which according to his quote in an article in The Macon County News "was 102 miles long and had 502 mailboxes on it." And according to Ronnie Beale, who as a kid lived on Route Five, he always had candy for the kids he met along the route.
“Many of us have rolled down our windows for him on the corner of Main and Iotla streets to donate money towards his efforts to raise money for needy veterans through the Buddy Poppy Program,” said Guffey.
Since retiring in 1984, the couple began volunteering on boards and working with organizations in the region and throughout the state.
A charter member of the N.C. Senior Tar Heel Legislature, Dorothy has tirelessly advocated on all issues affecting the aging; protective service, placement, health, mental health, and financial, among many others. She is widely regarded as one of the few private citizens in the state who can get the governor to answer her telephone calls. She helped establish the first adult day care center in the county and the first in-home service program that is now Home Health. She advocated for and got an adult care facility and later a nursing home in the county. She successfully advocated for the establishment of the Senior Aide program and for dental and eye care for all. She has served as state coordinator of Health Advocacy Services of AARP; volunteered for more than 20 years in SHIIP (Senior Health Insurance Information Program); member of area Agency on Aging Advisory Committee; member of Board of Smoky Mountain Mental Health; member of Macon Adult Care Home and Nursing Home Advisory Committee; and N.C. Medicare Beneficiary Committee.
In addition, she has served on numerous boards and task forces, including Western North Carolina Tomorrow, Chair of Human Resource Committee, with emphasis on long term care; and Friends of Residents in long term care. She has worked tirelessly on nursing home and adult care home quality issues and has helped organizations to get political policy makers on panels to address these issues. She organizes annual forums on Medicare and Medicaid to keep consumers up-dated; She has helped organize workshops on end of life issues, especially health power of attorney.
As the couple accepted the award, they reassured those assembled that they would continue to work for the county with no plans to retire.
Presentation of Awards
The Franklin Chamber of Commerce holds its annual awards banquet to recognize the volunteers and community members whose contributions are making a difference in Macon County.
A new category on the program this year was Special Recognition Awards. Linda Harbuck, chamber executive director, presented the awards to the organzations who contributed to the continuing success of the chamber sponsored Mountain High Barbecue and Music Festival. Receiving the awards were Connie Grubermann for Distinguished Service; Awards of Excellence to Microtel Inn, J&B Disposal, Pepsi Cola; Macon Bank; Bi-Lo; The Franklin Press; WFSC/WNCC radio; 13 WLOS-TV; Tourism Development Commission and the Macon County Fair Association.
Bob Crawford of Smoky Mountain Chevrolet was named Chamber Member of the Year with Harbuck presenting.
Judy Chapman presented the Club/Organization of the Year to the Franklin Community Care Clinic, represented by Sissy Pattillo.
The Duke Energy Citizenship and Service Award went to County Commissioner Ronnie Beale, who was unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict. Chamber past president Pam Bell and incoming president Donald Holland tracked Beale down at the commissioners’ meeting after the banquet to present him with the award.
Chamber member Eric Haggert presented the 2013 Youth Rising Citizen Award to Franklin High School student Amber Sellino for her suicide awareness campaign.