When Commissioner Paul Johnson began reading out the resume of the 2011 Surry County Volunteer of the Year, a look of sheer surprise crossed Van Tucker’s face. Johnson was describing him.
“They’ve probably got the wrong guy,” Tucker remarked afterward, but he was in fact the annual volunteer recognized by the Surry County Board of Commissioners for dedicated service to a county board or commission.
The commissioners presented Tucker with a plaque at the annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner on Thursday night at Cross Creek Country Club in Mount Airy. Thanks to the skillful planning of wife Karen, Tucker’s parents, Wilma and Calvin, and his children, Jon, Beth and Zach, arrived in time to surprise him by joining him up front for the presentation.
Tucker, who some at the dinner compared to a bird dog with his ability to sniff out information, said he had no clue he was going to be named volunteer of the year.
“I’m humbled,” he said. “I felt like it’s probably undeserved. A lot of people do a lot of things for the county. I think we all had to give back some, and I’ve done some of that. I appreciate them being so thoughtful to recognize me.”
Tucker’s history of service on county boards and commissions is extensive. He served on the Surry County Health Board from January 1989 until October 1996, serving as chairman from December 1995 until October 1996; on the Northern Hospital Board of Trustees from October 1999 until July 2011; on the Surry County Recreation Committee; on the Surry County Cooperative Extension Advisory Council; and on the Surry County Farmer’s Home Administration Advisory Board from 1985 to 1989. He now serves on the Surry Community College Board of Trustees.
Tucker is a lifelong resident of the Shoals community and a member of Fair View United Methodist Church, where he served on the administrative council and on other committees. Through the years, Tucker was voted Outstanding Young Farmer by the Pilot Mountain Jaycees and president of the East Surry High School student body, going on to attend High Point University. He is the founder and owner of Senior Quality Care Inc. in Pilot Mountain.
To select a volunteer of the year, the commissioners accepted nominations from the boards and made some of their own. They deliberated and voted unanimously to select Tucker as this year’s recipient, Johnson said.
Of why Tucker was selected, Johnson said, “Because Van has been active for so many years. He’s served on various committees and commissions.” Johnson also noted that Tucker was active at the schools his children attended and worked to help secure grants for the schools.
The announcement of the volunteer of the year came near the end of the dinner, which was open to members of various boards in the county. The dinner is held each year to celebrate the many volunteers appointed to boards by the county. Commissioner Garry Scearce said at the dinner that the county has 27 boards and commissions.
Commissioner Jimmy Miller said during the dinner, “We’ve got the best service in the world and it’s all because of you volunteers.”
Also invited this year were former county commissioners, a number of whom attended. They were recognized near the start of the dinner.
The guests enjoyed a meal and entertainment from Michael Reno Harrell, an award-winning storyteller, singer and speaker. Harrell sang songs he has written about Southern life and told stories about his experiences living in Tennessee and North Carolina.
After the special presentation was made, the county gave out door prizes. Van and Karen Tucker won a gift certificate to take home with the plaque.
“Undeserved but much appreciated,” said Volunteer of the Year Van Tucker at the end of the night as he looked at the plaque.
Contact Meghann Evans at email@example.com.