It is almost spring and each spring since 2004 the Twin County Hall of Fame has asked the public to nominate people worthy of being inducted. Nominations are collected and reviewed by a special committee of people representing both Edgecombe and Nash counties and Rocky Mount. The committee then proposes a list to the board to be inducted in the fall.
The first eight classes have included 73 individuals who have “ made broad and lasting contributions to the betterment of the community or brought positive recognition to the community through their accomplishments” and who have been a resident of Edgecombe or Nash County.
Each class is inducted in November at a special banquet that recognizes the inductees with a special portrait created by Edgecombe County artist Susan Fecho. The inductee, or a family member if the person is deceased, is given a copy of the portrait. The original is hung in the Twin County Hall of Fame Museum located in the Rocky Mount Amtrak station.
The unveiling of the new class of portraits will be Sunday, March 18 at 2:30 at the Museum. The public is invited to meet the living inductees . The class of 2011 included former Edgecombe Community College president Hartwell Fuller, educator and musician Walter Plemmer, and Pinetops native and agriculture specialist Norfleet Sugg.
Past inductees have including artists, athletes , authors, business leaders, community leaders, educators, musicians, physicians, and political leaders. Some of the past Edgecombe inductees have been Gen. Hugh Shelton, Dr. Milton Quigless, Robert Barnhill, Westry Boyce, Ruth Cherry, Dred Wimberly, NC Governors Henry T Clark and Elias Carr, Dr. Moses Ray, Joel Bourne, Kelvin Bryant, Harvie Ward, Dr. Edward Robinson, and Congressional Medal of Honor winner Aldolphus Staton.
What does the Twin County Hall of Fame have to do with my monthly column? Well, the good news is that everyone who has been inducted will be part of a new book about the area titled Legendary Locals of Edgecombe and Nash Counties published by Arcadia. The book will focus on about 150 individuals and a few groups who have made a significant contribution to this area’s history and culture.
In addition to the Twin County inductees, the book will include photos and stories of other individuals and selected groups such as teams or choirs. The book will go to press this summer and be released in the spring of 2013. This is a new format for Arcadia which has published two pictorial histories, one collection of oral histories, and a narrative history of Edgecombe County as well as a pictorial history of Rocky Mount and Nash County. Copies of all the books are in the local libraries and are sold at the Blount Bridgers House and selected gift shops.
Do you know of someone who should be included in the book? Is there someone in your community that has been a lasting influence on others? Then gather information, a picture of the person and complete a nomination for the Twin County Hall of Fame. The person may be living or deceased. Nominees do not have to be current residents, but they must have made a significant contribution to the culture of this area.
All inductees will be included in the new book focusing on Legendary Locals. Some of the people featured in previous columns would be good nominees such as Coca-Cola Brown or Kate Cheshire. Other people are very worthy of nominations, but no one has submitted a nomination. Examples are L.H. Fountain who served 15 terms in the US House of Representatives or William Fuller who was a member of the historic Tuskeegee Airmen in World War II.
Anyone can nominate area citizens. Nominations must be submitted by April 30, 2012. To see who has already been inducted, and to get a nomination forms, visit the website www.twincountryhalloffame.com or visit the museum which is open most Friday, Saturday and Sundays. People who have been nominated in the past, but not yet selected, can be nominated again.
Nominations are kept on file at the Hall of Fame for up to five years. Photos submitted with the nominations will be kept and not returned. Everyone who is nominated will not be inducted and nominations are not made public, only the inductions.