by Bob Keith

Each year the Hickory Nut Gorge Foundation recognizes an individual, couple or organization that has made a significant contribution to our community that helps to protect, preserve and enrich our community for the benefit of its citizens and visitors alike. This makes the 9th year and presentation of the award. In honor of the founder of the Hickory Nut Gorge Foundation, the award now and in the future is renamed the Jim Dunn Community Impact Award. This year’s deserving recipients are Melinda and Todd Morse.

In 2009, Melinda and Todd moved to Lake Lure. The Lake Lure Classical Academy was just getting off the ground. They saw this as an opportunity to get involved in this monumental community effort. Melinda became a founding Board member and served as Board Secretary, Chair of the Curriculum Committee, Vice-Chair of the Facilities Committee and a member of the Board Development and Nominating Committee. She was everywhere including Thanksgiving Day feasts, sporting events, teacher appreciation events, open houses, field trips, proctoring for end of year testing, walking the halls greeting students and teachers each day, waving goodbye at carpool, manning booths at public events/festivals, tutoring students …. well, you’ve got the idea.

During the same time, Todd helped co-found the Lake Lure Community Education Foundation, served on the LLCA marketing and finance committee and organized and participated in the 5-K Raptor run. Probably the most significant contribution was helping lead the effort to secure USDA financing for the LLCA gymnatorium (combined gymnasium and auditorium). This loan consolidated and paid off all outstanding debt for LLCA at a better interest rate and payoff schedule. The ribbon cutting for the new facility was earlier this month. Mission accomplished!

Thank you, Melinda and Todd, for your personal and continuing support of our community. You are a special couple and very deserving of this year’s recognition.

Odds and ends

We are extremely fortunate to have a new couple moving to our community and establishing the Lake Lure Rowing Club. This will provide a year round activity and should produce a Regatta or two each year. This will attract athletic folks from across the southeast and perhaps rowing clubs from across the country. Although this is a “Masters” organization, they have already spoken with LLCA about the formation of a high school team, another plus for our area. The Lake Lure club (now at only six members) recently competed in the Dogwood Regatta in Tennessee and walked off with three gold medals. Congratulations and welcome to Wade Oppliger and Leslie Rowland.

The Olympiad team launched the first spring, long distance swim event on June 8th. Over 100 swimmers competed in either a 1 1/2 mile or 3 mile swim on an overcast and somewhat rainy day. Do you think the swimmers really cared if it rained? The Olympiad organization received tremendous support from the Lake Lure Inn, Lake Lure Tours, the Town of Lake Lure and a host of volunteers. Because of the enthusiastic and energetic participation, it’s anticipated that this will become an annual event. See accompanying pictures by Buddy Morrison Photographers.

In closing….It’s Summertime. Get out and take advantage of all that Hickory Nut Gorge and Rutherford County has to offer. It’s all about community spirit!