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New faces, honors for old friends at YMA annual meeting

A balmy spring evening greeted members of Yates Mill Associates for our 23rd annual meeting on May 2, where we chose new officers and board members, and honored longtime friends.

John Vandenbergh and Carolyn Solomon

Carolyn Solomon presents a photo, one of several gifts, to departing president John Vandenbergh

Just as our mill has weathered many changes over more than 250 years, YMA marked a major change as longtime leader John Vandenbergh stepped down as president. Among the tributes presented to John in honor of his many years of service to YMA was a striking handcrafted table made by head miller William Robbins, using wood taken from the old mill.

We honored a number of YMA volunteers for their generous support of the organization. The Henry Marshall award for outstanding service was presented to George Lennon, an attorney who has given essential advice during ongoing negotiations for a new joint operating agreement between Wake County and Yates Mill Associates. We also paid tribute to two “Friends of Yates Mill,” secretary Todd Wahler and board member Jason Herndon, both of whom are stepping down. We also thanked departing board member Debbie Hamrick for her work.

Hugh Liner presided over his last meeting as chairman of the board, though he remains as a director. His role will be taken over by board member Larry Hancock, who brings strong background in charitable endeavors to the job.

Board member Dick Thompson, our ambassador in the Coastal Plain, was elected to another three-year term.

The membership elected four new board members to replace directors who either stepped down or agreed to serve as officers on our executive committee. The new directors are:

  • Jill Adams: This longtime volunteer works at the A.E. Finley Foundation and is a lifetime member of the Cary Jaycees. Jill is a member and past co-chair of the gala committee at J.C. Raulston Arboretum, and has already put her organizational skills to work for YMA with events and mailings.
  • Jeffrey Gray: Jeff’s interest in history led not only to his membership in YMA but also in the Battleship North Carolina Historic Detachment. He’s an attorney who has served on the boards of Triangle Pastoral Counseling, Camp Albermarle and the N.C. Bar Association Foundation.
  • Howard Harrell: Howard spent four years as YMA’s treasurer, but his history with Yates Mill Associates goes back to his pre-retirement role as N.C. State University’s director of real estate, in which he negotiated early leases for Yates Mill. Last year, Howard was honored with the Henry Marshall Award as our top volunteer.
  • Gary Hunter: You might recognize him best in his costume for corn-grinding weekends, one of many volunteer jobs Gary has taken on since Historic Yates Mill County Park opened in 2006. He also serves on the park advisory board and on the boards of the Antique Automobile Club of America and the American Red Cross.
2012 YMA annual meeting

Hugh Liner (far right) steps up to open the 2012 Yates Mill Associates annual meeting

After the meeting, the board elected new officers. Due to a change in the bylaws approved at the meeting, each will serve a one-year term. They are:

  • Margaret Lillard, President: Margaret is a neighbor of the park and has taken on a number of volunteer roles including tour guide, costumed interpreter and trail-builder. She brings abundant experience from volunteer and leadership roles in several area nonprofits, including her job as communications director for the Conservation Trust for North Carolina.
  • Carolyn Solomon, Vice-President: Carolyn returns for another term in this office, where her organizational skills and attention to detail have been essential to YMA’s success in recent years. Carolyn is a major force behind many events including our annual holiday sale.
  • Sheila Hunter-Wooten, Treasurer: Sheila was appointed treasurer on an interim basis this winter, and her performance netted her election to a full term. An accountant in private practice, Sheila has helped reconcile several months’ of donations and membership payments and will help us budget for repairs to Yates Mill that are due to begin in the fall.
  • Gary Coates, Secretary: Gary – whose middle name, not coincidentally, is Yates – is another board member who is simply adding one more title to the many duties he performs for Yates Mill Associates. Another NCSU retiree, Gary guides visitors during corn-grinding weekends and operates the mill during other tours. He will work with head miller William Robbins to organize the upcoming mill repairs, among other tasks.

We can’t quit without a word of thanks to our supporters who provided gifts for the annual raffle, ranging from a round of golf to gift certificates to wine and a brewery tour. Thanks to Jeanne Robbins, Margaret Lillard, Carolyn and Dan Solomon, Debbie Hamrick, Hugh Liner, Craig Mitchell and the family of Kit Boney for their generosity.

 

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