Mount Airy’s Downtown Business Association began the process of gearing up for events in the new year at its regular meeting on Thursday at the city’s municipal hall.
Alzheimer’s North Carolina Inc. representatives Richard Hiatt and Alice Watkins made a presentation about the mission and goals of the group which will be helping the association with an Alzheimer’s walk tentatively scheduled for April 20.
“It’s (Alzheimer’s) a devastating disease. Not only for the person who has it but for the family who in effect loses that person to the disease,” began Hiatt, a Lowgap native who has served on the association’s board. He explained how debilitating Alzheimer’s has been to his grandmother and how her sisters have had to adjust to taking care of her.
He explained the non-profit organization was founded at Duke University in 1980 and relocated to Raleigh in 1985 on a grant from the Kate B. Reynolds Health Care Trust. It moved to the Cameron Village area of Raleigh in 1989 and additional office space for a family resource center in 1992. The organization has since relocated to 1305 Navaho Drive in Raleigh.
Hiatt said the organization’s mission is to provide education and support to individuals with dementia, their families, health care professionals and the general public. It also wants to raise awareness and funding for research of the cause, treatment, prevention and a cure for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
He told the board that more than 170,000 people in North Carolina are affected by Alzheimer’s and this is expected to quadruple by 2025. Watkins told the board the organization chose to drop its national affiliation, which cost it $100,000, yearly to use the funds to benefit local research and treatment.
“We’re really excited about what we can do here,” said Watkins. “Not that Mount Airy needs a lot of publicity. You already have big fans in our offices.”
Hiatt told the board that being associated with Mount Airy had opened a lot of doors for him and encouraged the board to plan activities to complement the walk and create a “festive” atmosphere for the benefit walk.
“As much as you need my assistance to plan the event I will be there four you,” promised Hiatt. “I can also help with sponsorship and to set realistic goals. We realize for instance, the goals for Elizabeth City will not be the same as the (Piedmont ) Triangle. We want you to develop your own specific style for the brochures and the event. Johnston County combines their walk with a Ham and Yam Festival. Whatever fits four you own county. Whatever you think is best will get recognition for Surry County, the DBA and North Carolina. That’s what it’s about.”
Association President Phil Marsh and Treasurer Jennie Lowry opened a brief discussion about combining the walk with the city’s staging another “Twist” dance event. Marsh said perhaps Mount Airy could try and break its own record for people doing the dance on Main Street.
“I believe Mount Airy is a great place. When people come here to visit they come back,” added Hiatt. “Folks will look at places to go and shop when they are here for the walk.” Hiatt suggested the organizers arrange the walking course so it circles other activities begin held around its center in downtown Mount Airy.
The tentative schedule of events from the association set its bridal fair for March 23 and the art walk for April 13. The Budbreak Wine Festival and Downtown Sidewalk Sale has been slated for May 4. The Mayberry Farm Festival is being planned for May 18 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
In other action, the board passed a measure to move its meeting location to the DBA office downtown. Meetings will still be held the first Tuesday of the month at 8:30 a.m. President Phil Marsh suggested this because he said attendance seemed to be better when meetings were held at that location.
Board member Jenna Puckett reported to the board there has been good response to ads already placed announcing the Bridal Fair and urged members to finish work on information to put in brochures for the event. Member Jessica Roberts said these flyers are an important part of “bridal gift bags” the Chamber of Commerce regularly gives to new brides.
New members and members re-appointed to the board included Michella Huff, Steve Talley and Brack Lewellyn. The agenda for the board’s next meeting on Jan 9 at 8:30 a.m. includes action on which members will serve at specific positions.
Reach David Broyles at email@example.com or 719-1952.