Community leaders honored for dedication, contributions

Clyde Hooker Awards (left to right): Michael Bradshaw, president of Triangle Electric; Heidi Pinkston, Piedmont Arts executive director; Dr. Barry Dorsey

Piedmont Arts presented Dr. Barry Dorsey and Triangle Electric with the Clyde Hooker Award in an Aug. 20 ceremony held at the museum.

Henry County Schools Superintendent Sandy Strayer and Dr. Zeb Talley, superintendent of the Martinsville City Public Schools, also received Arts in Education awards during the 18th Annual Clyde Hooker Award Ceremony.

Dorsey, described as a “pillar of the community,” has served as interim head of Carlisle School and was the founding executive director of New College Institute, where he worked with public and private colleges and universities across the commonwealth to bring 18 degree and certificate programs to the college.

Dorsey also served three terms on the Piedmont Arts Board of Directors, chaired the museum’s Annual Giving Campaign and volunteered countless hours in support of the arts and arts education in Martinsville-Henry County.

“Barry’s dedication to Piedmont Arts is unwavering,” Executive Director Heidi Pinkston said. “He believes that the arts build communities and has worked tirelessly to support the arts and arts education in our community through Piedmont Arts, NCI, TheatreWorks and many other organizations.”

“Dr. Dorsey has been an integral part of fostering collaborations between community organizations,” Natalie Hodge, president of the Piedmont Arts Board of Directors, said when introducing Dorsey. “He is the ultimate bridge builder and his active involvement over the years demonstrates his deep commitment to making our community an amazing place, where residents thrive, and visitors have remarkable experiences.”

Although recovering from a hip replacement, Dorsey opted to stand at the podium to deliver his speech.

“I feel like Clyde Hooker tonight,” Dorsey said. “Some time ago when he won the award from the Home Furnishing Society, he said at the time that “I’ve been blessed to serve with many talented and great people. On behalf of them, I accept the award.’”

Dorsey thanked his family and friends Mervyn and Virginia King, who he invited to stand with him.

“Clyde Hooker was a great person, and I’m honored by the award,” Dorsey said. “I accept it, thanking all the people that got me to this point. I congratulate the other award winners for tonight.”

Triangle Electric Corporation has been providing professional electrical services to Martinsville-Henry County and the surrounding areas for 55 years. The company’s mission is to provide safe, efficient, reliable and cost-effective electrical services, while meeting and exceeding the needs and expectations of their customers.

For more than 20 years, Triangle has supported Piedmont Arts through low-cost electrical work, allowing the museum to focus funds on arts-based programs for the community.

In 2019, Triangle worked with Solid Stone Fabrics and Piedmont Arts to create the museum’s new sign. It also recently worked with the Henry County Department of Public Safety to upgrade the lighting system at its first responders training facility, allowing fire and EMS students to safely train at night.

“Triangle is a long-time friend of the arts,” said Pinkston. “They have supported Piedmont Arts for many years, and are generous friends of the community, donating their time and financial support to local causes.”

“While we are extremely grateful to have members of the Triangle Electric team here with us tonight, we would be remiss if we did not acknowledge the absence of two visionary leaders in the organization,” said Hodge. “Nancy Bradshaw, who passed away in June 2019, and Charles Bradshaw, who passed away alongside his wife in December 2019. This award is certainly a memoriam to their incredible contributions.”

Arts in Education Awards (left to right): Sandy Strayer, superintendent of Henry County Public Schools; Heidi Pinkston, Piedmont Arts executive director; Dr. Zebedee “Zeb” Talley, Jr., superintendent of Martinsville City Public Schools.

The Clyde Hooker Award was established in 2003 by the Piedmont Arts Board of Directors to recognize businesses and individuals that are involved in and support Piedmont Arts and other arts and cultural organizations in Martinsville-Henry County. It is named in honor of J. Clyde Hooker, Jr. for his support of the arts.

“Clyde was a longtime leader of Hooker Furniture,” said Pinkston. “But he was so much more than the leader of a prominent furniture company. Mr. Hooker’s nephew, Paul Toms, chairman and CEO of Hooker Furniture, said it best, ‘Clyde had a significant, positive impact on so many people’s lives in Hooker Furniture, in the industry and our community. No matter how you define a life well lived, Clyde achieved extraordinary success, but most important was his impact on others. He was a mentor, friend and father figure to generations.’”

Piedmont Arts also recognized Strayer and Talley as Arts in Education Award recipients. The award was created in 2005 to honor educators who believe exposure to the arts is an important part of the overall education of a child.

“We recognize Sandy and Zeb for their outstanding efforts to bring Piedmont Arts (programs) to their students,” said Pinkston. “They understand the power of using the arts to enhance instruction and are genuinely excited to bring unique experiences to their students.”

Piedmont Arts also presented the Harold Knowlton Work Memorial Art Scholarship to Breanna Ferguson, a graduate of Bassett High School and Patrick Henry Community College, who is now a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University where she is majoring in visual arts and education; and Caitlyn Kidd, a graduate of Magna Vista High School, who attends Old Dominion University where she is majoring in music education.

“These scholarships are funded annually through the Work Memorial Scholarship Fund, established by Harold’s wife, Julia Ascough Work, to continue higher education studies in the visual and performing arts,” said Piedmont Arts Scholarship Committee Member Dr. Joan Montgomery. “Julie and Harold shared a lifelong passion and respect for education and the arts. This memorial scholarship ensures that their legacy of learning and imagination lives on by supporting the artists of future generations.”




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