Hall battles cancer, continues active role in community


First Posted: 3/26/2009

From the Surry County Board of Education to the Zephyr Ruritan Club, Jeff Hall has been a prominent member of the community for a number of years.
He and his wife, Debra, have been married for 33 years and have two children, Kristy and Scott. Kristy is married to Tony Cox, and they have two children, Noah and Mason. Kristy teaches at Central Middle School, and Scotts fianc is doing student teaching at White Plains Elementary.
His decision to become a member of the Surry County Board of Education did not come as much of a surprise to those who know him. He has always been interested in holding a political office, and in 2004, he decided the time had come for him to run.
I wanted a little bit of common sense with the school board, he said. They needed a normal, everyday person. It was time for me to run.
He also knew of the pressing need for more space for students and thought his background in building inspection could be of some use. He has since come to serve on the auxiliary committee for the board and deals with issues such as transportation, child nutrition, maintenance and policies. Recently he has worked on the new drug testing policy and field trip policy as well as trying to get more cameras installed on school buses.
We run things through the group and refer them back to the full board to see if that would be OK to do, he said of his work on the committee.
For the past couple of years, Hall has been an integral part of beginning the process of constructing two new schools in the county, an elementary school in Dobson and a middle school in Pilot Mountain.
Undertaking two schools is by far the biggest thing weve done, he said of the school board since he has been a member. Weve been working on the school for a couple of years. Its been a thrill to me to get in and work on some projects.
He feels that Surry Countys sense of a tight-knit community has helped the school system to prosper and has allowed the board to continue to work on good terms when so many other school systems cannot.
We work to make the decision the best it can be. There is no grudge-holding. We work very well together and all leave friends at the end of the night, he said of the board. Its a tight-knit community. You can see that in the PTOs and ball games and the little ones that play on Saturdays at the gym. Its a caring community that wants to do whats right. Were not a small school system, but its people coming together.
In addition to serving on the school board, Hall is a past president and former member of the Zephyr Ruritan Club. He stopped participating when the meeting nights conflicted with school board meetings, but hopes to start up again soon since the Ruritan Club has changed meeting nights.
He is an active member of Mountain Park Baptist Church and serves as a deacon. He is also a part-time Sunday school teacher at the church and does a month rotation at a time.
On Fathers Day in 2008, Hall was forced to face a bigger issue than school construction or budget cuts. His doctor found a tumor on his left kidney which had to be removed and tested. They found that it was kidney cancer, known as renal cell carcinoma.
The doctors thought they had removed all of the cancerous material, but on Dec. 30, they found a couple of spots on his liver and lung.
Some of the cancer was back, said Hall. We had three or four options that we like. My kids got online and found treatments at Duke and Charlotte Memorial. We decided on the interleukin-2 treatment. Its an immuno-therapy.
Interleukin-2 is a biological response modifier. It is a type of protein that works to increase the production and function of components of the immune system, specifically T cells and natural killer cells. These cells attack the cancer cells while causing little to no damage to healthy cells.
Its the only scientifically proven cure at 15 to 17 percent, he said. Our faith is the Lord is going to take care of the problem. Next time, were looking to have everything done.
Throughout the process, Hall has relied on his family and friends for support and has even received some from relative strangers. His daughter found out about a Web site, www.caringbridge.org, which allows the family to post updates and explain what is going on.
The last time we looked, there were 4,700 hits, said Hall. A lot of people still care about their fellow man. It lightens my heart a little bit to see that.
Ive gotten calls and cards. Some are from people I dont really even know, he said. That that many people call and think about you is a lot. Im thankful there is still a lot of caring people out there.
A couple of weeks ago, students at White Plains Elementary School further displayed that sense of caring about community members. For their Relay for Life event, they decided to raise money and donate it to the cause in honor of Hall. The school raised about $1,500.
It was sort of an overwhelming and humbling experience, he said. Each of the kids made a card and theyre displayed on the dining room table for everyone to see.
Throughout the whole process, Hall has continued to attend school board meetings whenever he can in continuing to play an active role in education and the community. During the last election, he and Michele Hunter both ran unopposed.
Thats a good statement that were doing a pretty good job. We try to do our best, he said.
Contact Morgan Wall at [email protected] or 719-1929.

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