Highlands has a great tradition of community engagement and volunteer support organizations. The Highlands Volunteer Fire Department and its members epitomize this spirit of community support. On behalf of the town of Highlands, let me thank those volunteer firefighters for their past support and the support they will continue to give to the community. Like our law enforcement officers, firefighters take an oath to serve and protect the public, even to the point of risking their own life and safety. They are always faithful to that commitment. We are grateful for their service.
I also want to thank Josh Ward, our town manager, Chief Ryan Gearhart, and the fire department board of directors for their hard work in planning this new state-of-the-art facility. I also want to thank the local subcontractors and construction workers who labored to make this new facility a reality. We must recognize the work of DR Reynolds in managing the construction and holding down costs in this super inflationary building environment.
I also want to thank the Highlands town board of commissioners, Amy Patterson, Brian Stiehler, John Dotson, Marc Hehn, Eric Pierson, and past commissioner Donnie Calloway for their vision and decision to fund the building of this new fire station which will serve this community for decades to come. Let me express our appreciation to the Macon County Board of Commissioners for their partnership that we have enjoyed in providing fire protection to the residents of the Highlands Plateau. We look forward to working with the county in the future.
I want to offer a special thanks and gratitude to the Late Ms. Jane Woodruff who was so generous in selling this valuable piece of land to the town for a new fire station. Without her commitment, this project may have not taken place. It is just one example of many of Ms. Woodruff’s love and commitment to the people of Highlands. I also want to recognize the work and expertise of Pat Allen in making sure the real estate transaction became a reality.
Ms. Woodruff had only one condition for the sale of the property that the new building be beautiful and enhance the appearance of the community. I promised her it would. Just before construction, the town manager, fire chief, and I visited Ms. Woodruff to share with her the design and plans. She was pleased. I wish she could be with us today. I am certain Ms. Jane would be delighted to see this new, beautiful, state-of-the-art building. She was the key player in the building of our wonderful hospital, the recreation center, the PAC, and now the new fire station. Thank you, Ms. Woodruff, for your many years of service and dedication to Highlands.
The new fire station will be more than a place to house fire trucks. Fire Fighters today have many tasks, and just this new, full equipment bay underscores these tasks. A fireman does fight fires, like the one we had on Sage Woods this winter where all this equipment was used, but they also do search and rescue missions, hazmat control of chemical spills, extractions of car accident victims, and assist law enforcement in emergency response situations. They must have the best equipment and the best training. As a community, we owe that to our first responders. This building will house equipment, be a barracks, an educational training center, and a headquarters and staging facility in emergency situations such as major search and rescue efforts and disasters.
Yes, this new facility cost the taxpayers more money, but it will pay dividends back to this fire district in years to come. We can all be proud of the Highlands Fire Department, Macon County Station Number 12.
Pictured left to right. Kirk Dornbush, Past President of Mountaintop Rotary, Mayor Patrick Taylor, Gorge Vavrek, President of the Mountaintop Rotary and Andy Walker new Rotary member and President of the King Mountain Community Association.
As Mayor of Highlands I have proclaimed April in Highlands as Ukrainian Financial Relief Month. I hope all Highlanders will lend their support to providing financial relief to the war torn country of Ukraine. The Mountaintop Rotary Club is mounting and effort to support relief efforts. I encourage Highlanders to donate for Ukrainian relief through the Mountaintop Rotary Club at the address below. Donations are tax deductible and will go directly to aid for Ukraine. Donations can also be made to ShelterBox which is a Rotary International program that is providing relief. Everyone is encouraged to donate to Doctors Without Borders and the World Central Kitchen. Type the name of any of these charities on a search engine, and donation information is only a couple of clicks away. Thank you for your support in these critical aid and relief efforts.
Mountaintop Rotary Attention: Ukraine PO Box 372 Highlands, NC 28741 ShelterBox Doctors w/o Borders World Central Kitchen
Mayor and Sallie really love the Western Carolina outdoors. Backpack camping trip to Panther Town. Nice mid thirty degree night.
It was great fun to be part of this year's parade. The weather was hot, the crowd was loud, the participants were colorful, enthusiastic and children loved them all: Llamas, floats, the bands, the cars, the firetrucks, the dancers and especially Santa Clause. My thanks to the Highlands Chamber of Commerce and all the great folks who supported the event. Merry Christmas to all.