Dickersons earn Rotary Award

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 5, 2008

GATESVILLE – And the winner is…..

Laura and Daniel Dickerson of Gatesville earned the Gates County Rotary Club’s prestigious Service Above Self Award during a recognition luncheon held last week.

As nominees, the Dickersons were among some very elite company as both John Fletcher Willey of Corapeake, whose family traces its Gates County roots back seven generations, and well-respected businessman Ray Felton of Eure were also among the finalists.

However, it was the effort put forth by the Dickersons to spearhead an effort to deter the US Navy from building an Outlying Landing Field (OLF) in Gates County that pushed the young couple over the top in the Rotary’s selection process.

“The Rotary spirit of service above self is alive and well here in Gates County,” Daniel Dickerson said as he joined his wife in accepting the honor from the Gates County Rotary Club member Cleveland Hawkins. “People in this county have a genuine spirit to help others. We’re just honored to be a part of that.”

The Dickersons were nominated for “working tirelessly to let citizens know of the Navy’s plans to build an OLF in Gates County. They planned local meetings and also attended meetings at the state and national levels.”

The nomination also praised the Dickersons for being active within their church.

Meanwhile, Willey was hailed as a man who was very dedicated to his native county, working hard to address the concerns of its citizens and to present those concerns to the county government.

Willey, a former teacher and farmer, was likened to a true bulldog….once he set his teeth into a project, he would not let go.

Felton was nominated due to his big heart and generous spirit. Hawkins, in reading Felton’s nomination information, said “he has a passion for helping people and offers words of encouragement to others, especially those battling cancer. He dedicates time and money to the Hertford-Gates Relay for Life.”

With three deserving candidates, Hawkins said it was extremely tough to narrow the choice to just one winner.

Following the awards ceremony, Willey was honored as a Paul Harris Fellow, Rotary International’s highest honor. Paul Harris Fellow recognition was created in memory of Paul Harris, the founder of Rotary, as a way to show appreciation for contributions to the Foundation’s charitable and educational programs.

During this special recognition, Willey was joined by his son, John Fletcher Willey IV.

Gates County Rotary Club President Lois Hofler presided over the ceremony, the fourth annual Service Above Self program hosted by the local members.