A Difficult 2020, but We Are Resilient

Leaders from Fayetteville, Hope Mills, Spring Lake, Fort Bragg and the county address the State of the Community, and while COVID-19 and other issues have tested all of us, we are a community strong in our resolve.

 

            All will tell us this has been a difficult 2020, particularly with social unrest and all the more with COVID-19, but Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin, Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner, Spring Mayor Pro Tem Taimoor Aziz, Cumberland County Board of Commissioners chairman Marshall Faircloth and Fort Bragg Garrison Commander Col. Scott Pence say we are a community faring well.

            All were on hand Monday for the virtual State of the Community gathering sponsored by the Greater Fayetteville Chamber. 

            “The greatest lesson I have learned in the past year about this community is never underestimate the strength, courage and adaptability of Cumberland County,” Faircloth said. “We have had to step up, from multiple hurricanes, flooding and now a pandemic, and I salute the people of Cumberland County as they have stepped up. Our motto should be, ‘We don’t just want to survive. We want to thrive.’”

            Colvin said the city has been out in front of the coronavirus, and that he is in daily communication with Dr. Jennifer Green, director of the Cumberland County Health Department, and Mike Nagowski, chief executive officer of Cape Fear Valley Health.

            “We’ve stayed calm,” Warner says about Hope Mills, where residents are reaching out to one another, with strong support from the Hope Mills Police Department.

            Aziz says Spring Lake has struggled with the pandemic with the closure of a number of businesses, but the town has been steadfast.

            “We have been blessed to be at the low end of the spectrum,” Aziz says about COVID-19. “While we have seen loss, we have seen growth. We have remained strong.” The opening of new businesses, to include a soon-to-open Circle K, is encouraging.

            Pence says the military base has dealt with limiting patrons at restaurants, in-school closures and reducing participation at the annual Fourth of July celebration.

            “But people did understand the safety of everyone was important,” Pence said.

            And Pence offered assurance that all of the base’s “54,000 service members are always poised to deploy at a moment’s notice.”

            His remark was not lost on Christine Michaels, president and chief executive officer of the chamber who is departing Friday for a similar position in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

            “Having the military in our backyard has been a blessing,” Michaels said. “Your chamber has been here 120 years and will remain a stalwart for the quality of life.”

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            “As a recipient of the Beth Bryan Creative Arts Fund Scholarship, I am deeply saddened to hear of Mr. Bryan’s passing,” Jonathan Piland writes on the Tribute Wall for the obituary of David Carroll Bryan, the Fayetteville businessman who died at age 80 on Sept. 10 from the effects of COVID-19. “His legacy of philanthropism is currently allowing me to attend Duke University, where I cannot only obtain an engineering degree, but also pursue the passion I have for violin performance. Without his generosity, I would not have the current joy of being selected for a chamber music ensemble at Duke and receiving the opportunity to study as part of the private studio of professor Eric Pritchard of the Ciompi Quartet. In his community engagement and quiet generosity, Mr. Bryan sowed seeds of kindness that are helping others to reach their full potential. I am extremely grateful for everything he has done for myself and my community, and I am honored to be a part of his legacy.” When it came to this community, David C. Bryan gave generously and without fanfare to the Cape Fear Regional Theatre, to the arts and science programs of Methodist University, to the creation of the Fayetteville Animal Protection Society, to the proposed N.C. Civil War and Reconstruction History Center, and to young people such as Jonathan Piland with their own dreams of tomorrow.

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            “Mr. Kirby, my sister sent Billy and me a subscription for CityView Magazine, as she knows how much we enjoy your writings, and ‘A Friendship to Remember’ is a wonderful story,” Faye Horne writes about our October edition featuring the long friendship of oral surgeons Dr. Gary Jones and the late Dr. Jerry Beatty.

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            “I just finished the article you wrote about Ronnie Schell and Elizabeth MacRae,” William Pearson writes in an email about our September issue of CityView Magazine, with a column that featured Elizabeth MacRae, the Fayetteville actress who portrayed Jim Nabors’ girlfriend, Lou Ann Poovey, on the 1960s Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. television comedy. “I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I shared it on my Facebook page and in the three Facebook groups, which I manage. The post I made is getting great comments and a lot reactions.” Glad to hear it, Mr. Pearson.

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            Gladys Hill is going door-to-door throughout community neighborhoods and hoping you will purchase a pink lightbulb in support of her “Light Up Fayetteville Pink!” fundraising effort to raise $10,000 for The Cancer Centers of Cape Fear Valley Health as part of October Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The lightbulbs are $5, and you will find them glowing at homes and businesses throughout the community. If Miss Hill hasn’t knocked on your door, she says you can purchase a pink lightbulb at Mid-South Lighting at3633 Sycamore Dairy Road, Fayetteville, thanks to the generosity of Carl and Chris Birk.

 

            Bill Kirby Jr. can be reached at bkirby@cityviewnc.com, billkirby49@gmail.com or 910-624-1961