First Posted: 11/21/2009
A few nights ago Mount Airy Commissioner David Beal suggested the city find some way to permanently honor the recently deceased Floyd E. Flip Rees.
Its a dangerous precedent to start honoring prominent citizens, because once you honor one, where do you stop? Who decides what is worthy of permanent and public remembrance, and what isnt?
Those are questions the commissioners should seriously consider before making the move to confer some sort of, as Beal said, permanent honor, on a local resident or former resident.
However, we believe Rees, who died n Nov. 9 at age 94, would certainly be worthy of such notice.
He is widely recognized as having played a major role in the growth and revitalization of downtown Mount Airy, having his store there since 1946 and launching a number of other business enterprises in the city.
Like a number of his contemporaries Rees was dedicated to community service, working with the Lions Club, the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce, the Main Street Program, and he helped with the formation of Surry Community College and served on the board there for more than 20 years.
Rees also was the very first person to win the Mount Airy Merchant of the Year award, and he was one of an elite group of people honored over the years with the chambers Person of the Year award.
In 2005 Rees received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, which is presented by the states governor to individuals with a record of extraordinary service to the state. Rees joined such notable personalities as Rick Hendrick, Billy Graham, Michael Jordan, Charles Kuralt, and Benny Parsons in being recipients of this honor.
While those men, and others who received the award, often made their name nationally, Rees earned the honor through his tireless dedication to Mount Airy, his community.
Yes, there could be some debate over just what constitutes enough of a life-long body of service to merit permanent honor by local officials, but there should be no argument in the case of Flip Rees. We hope the commissioners will pursue this idea, and see that he is honored in some fitting fashion.