Father’s Day is Sunday and we wish all dads in town the very best. This special day for fathers always brings to mind the quotation from Mark Twain:
“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man learned in seven years.”
Bet lots of our readers are smiling. … Today Around Davidson visits with Ashley Thomas, a short timer at DUMC. We also congratulate new Eagle Scouts, Patrick and Daniel Griffeth. In addition, we introduce you to Benjamin Thomas Anderson who received the Vincent Campagna Award at Davidson Elementary School last week. What is the award, anyway? We recount the history behind this annual recognition.
A CHURCH OF HER OWN
This month the Davidson United Methodist Church (DUMC) bids a fond farewell to Ashley Thomas who has been the Associate Pastor for Campus Ministry and Young Adults for the past five years. Arriving at DUMC, her first church assignment after seminary at Duke University, Ashley Pickerel was then a single young lady dropped into a large, bustling congregation. Quite a challenge but all can agree that in her years in Davidson, she has grown to the task and some 20 months ago, on Oct. 8, 2011, married A.J. Thomas, who is currently serving as the Senior Pastor of St. Paul United Methodist Church in Charlotte.
What’s next for Ashley and A.J.? They will move on July 2 from their home on South Street in Davidson to the manse of Stokesdale United Methodist Church, near Greensboro. Ashley will be the pastor of the Stokesdale church and A.J. will begin his assignment at Morehead United Methodist Church in Greensboro. After A.J.’s commute on I-77 to Charlotte, they are delighted that their new churches will be only 12 miles from one another.
Around Davidson asked Ashley for a few thoughts on her years in Davidson. She replied:
“I have loved being an associate pastor in this community. It has been an extraordinary five years doing all kinds of ministry: from putting up siding in the snow in West Virginia with the Davidson College students during their Spring Break, to assisting chapel services at The Pines, to blessing animals on the Green, and more cups of coffee and conversations at Summit than I will ever be able to count! What a joy it has been. Plus, I got married here. It’s hard to beat that! Davidson and DUMC will forever be a special and dear place to me.”
We wish Ashley and A.J. the very best and hope they will stay in touch. If you wish to greet her personally, be sure to attend a farewell reception in her honor this Sunday, June 16, at DUMC following the morning worship times of 8:15, 9:30 and 11 a.m.
GRIFFETH BROTHERS MAKE EAGLE
Last Sunday afternoon, June 9, was a special day for the Griffeth family of Pine Road. Linda and Joe Griffeth watched as their sons, Patrick (18) and Daniel (16) were awarded the rank of Eagle Scout by Troop 58. The Court of Honor began at 3 p.m. in the Congregation House of the Davidson College Presbyterian Church. Scoutmasters Ben Yarborough, Van Beck, Rob Krebs and John Bragg led the ceremony with many scouts in Troop 58 participating.
Eagle Scout Sam Barger came from his home in Raleigh to participate in the ceremony and spoke of the help that Eagle Scout, dad Joe Griffeth, had given him during his scouting years in Davidson. Good friend and retired Presbyterian minister, John Lyles, gave the invocation and benediction.
The Court of Honor was dedicated to the memory of the late Allen Brindisi, the family’s inspiring minister, great friend and “mowing buddy.”
Patrick Leonard Griffeth (18) is a recent graduate of Davidson Day School who will attend CPCC in the fall. He spent 12 years in scouting in Davidson earning 27 merit badges. For his Eagle project, Patrick built a kiosk and park bench at North Mecklenburg Park in Huntersville, and implemented landscaping for the Town of Huntersville and the Tarheel Trailblazers Mountain Bike Club. Favorite memories of his scouting years were the backpacking trips on the Appalachian Trail with leaders Van Beck and Martin Kerr.
Younger brother, Daniel Timmons Griffeth, 16, has been in scouting for the past 10 years and recently joined Troop 58 Venture Crew enabling him to continue with scouting adventures until the age of 21. Daniel is a rising junior at Davidson Day School and earned 30 merit badges on his path to Eagle. Daniel’s Eagle project resulted in the wonderful landscaping at our Davidson Post Office and the installation of a Flag Disposal Box. (In just a few months, Daniel has collected 102 flags!) His favorite scouting trip was a Venture Crew week on Wadmalaw Island last summer with leaders Chris Willingham and Rob Krebs, which included big sail sailing, scuba diving and kayaking.
Patrick and Daniel become the 83d and 85th Eagle Scouts in Troop 58, the oldest Boy Scout Troop in Mecklenburg County which awarded its first Eagle in 1938. (We will catch up with Adam Brown, the 84th Eagle, in a future Around Davidson.) On hand to congratulate these newly “marked men” were grandmothers, Ann Griffeth and Barbara Timmons, Uncle Jack Griffeth, and Terri and Rick Brisson, aunt and uncle. In addition there were numerous cousins as well as Laura and Emory Thomas, godparents to both Patrick and Daniel. Cousin Robert Griffeth will soon receive his Eagle rank.
CAMPAGNA AWARD GOES TO – BEN ANDERSON
Congratulations to Ben Anderson, son of Mary and Tom Anderson of the Pages Pond neighborhood, off Davidson-Concord Road. Ben received the 2013 Vincent P. Campagna Award at Davidson Elementary School’s (DES) graduation exercises last Friday, June 7. Excerpts from DES Principal Dana Jarrett’s comments about Ben are as follows:
“This student…is able to achieve excellence as well as respect of the community… this student is active in all parts of the school and is well liked among students, teachers and administrators. The student is kind-hearted. This student consistently contributes to the school and the community. This student served on the morning news crew, consistently made honor roll, served on math Olympiad team, green team, served on the Executive Board of the Student Council, was positive role model as a PE peer support helper, this student was selected by teachers and administrators…the most recognizable attribute is that this student always greets everyone with a smile. I would like to invite the parents of this child to the stage as we make this announcement as your child’s success is due in part to the lessons learned from the most important role models, the parents. It is my honor and privilege to introduce this year’s winner of the Vincent P. Campagna Citizenship Memorial Award, Mr. Benjamin Thomas Anderson.”
It was a most deserving award to a young man who has been involved in so many activities at DES. The Anderson family moved to Davidson in July 2010 when Dad Tom’s company, Electrolux, relocated their North American Headquarters to Charlotte from Augusta, GA. The family is originally from Iowa. Ben’s sister, Rachel, is a rising 11th grader at HoughHigh School. His younger brother, Nick, will enter Kindergarten next year at Davidson Elementary.
Not knowing the background of the Campagna Award, the Andersons asked DavidsonNews.net to research it. For those who have lived in Davidson for the past 40 years, “Campagna” is a household word. For other newcomers, Around Davidson wants to introduce you to a wonderful family.
MEET THE CAMPAGNAS
It was 1970. Bette and Will Campagna were living in Davidson (in the Bailey home on Concord Road). Will was an assistant football coach at Davidson College under Dave Fagg. Bette and Will had four sons: Vincent, Tony, Danny and Willie. Vacationing at the beach, Vincent, a fourth grader at DES, and his grandmother (Bette’s mother) ran out on an errand and were both killed in an automobile accident.
The teachers and staff at DES, with principal Wayne Roberts, reached out to the family over the next months and donated a painting in Vincent’s memory (which hangs in the conference room of the school). Will and Bette, an active volunteer at the school, wanted to give something back to the Davidson Elementary, where Vince’s brother, Tony, was then a first grader, and decided on a annual award to a graduating 6th grader. (As middle school became popular, the award was changed to recognize a graduating 5th grader.)
A permanent plaque hangs in the DES reception office with names of those awarded the prize. The very first Campagna award for outstanding citizenship was given in 1972 to one of the late Vincent’s very best friends, Martin Davis III (Jan Tevepaugh’s brother). The names etched on the wall are familiar to many in our town – including Beam, Bagnall, Barkley, Barber, Caldwell, Dortch, Gochnauer, Kimbrough, Kazee, Kessler, McRee and Cosgrove to name but a few. Congratulations to Ben Anderson as the 43d recipient this year.
A member of the Campagna family tries to be present each year to take part in the award ceremony at the final assembly at DES. Tony Campagna has done this in the past several years. He now lives in Mooresville while his younger brother Danny lives in Cornelius and youngest brother, Willie, is in Salisbury. Their parents, Bette and Will, left Davidson for a few years to live in Albemarle but then Will returned to NorthMecklenburgHigh School where he taught PE, Health, Weight Lifting and coached North Meck Viking football for 36 years until his retirement in 1994. Sadly, Will passed away in August of 2011 but his widow, Bette, continues to live in Mooresville near her son, Tony.
Thanks to Bette Campagna, former school secretary Shirley Couch, and former principal Gene Davis for contributing to this article.
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Have news for Around Davidson? Write to Brenda Barger at firstname.lastname@example.org.