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home : community : community January 22, 2019

11/19/2018 2:11:00 AM
Jody Rhyne, Lincoln County Man Of The Year
Jody Rhyne
Jody Rhyne

Wayne Howard
Staff Writer

At the Lincolnton-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce's annual banquet Thursday night (Nov. 15th) at Laboratory Mill, the Man and Woman of the Year were announced.  The Woman of the Year award is sponsored by the BPW and the Man of the Year by the Lincolnton Rotary Club.  [We'll have an article about the Woman of the Year later this week.]

Tony Worley, president of the Rotary Club announced this year's honoree:

It is time for us all to stand and cheer for the doer, the achiever - the one who recognizes the challenge and does something about it,” said Vince Lombardi and this year’s recipient just DOES IT!

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He created early success in his business and immediately began winning awards with his agency. He has been a Leaders Club producer for 22 years and an industry wide Million Dollar Round Table producer for just as long. His dedication to his field and desire to perform his absolute best for his clients, prompted him to attain three different designations: Chartered Life Underwriter, Chartered Financial Consultant and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER. His general agent, way back in 1995 said, “This individual, though young in experience, has already developed a very strong state of mind about our business - a very deep and powerful sense of responsibility and a belief he is working for something well beyond his own success. He has the conviction that it will take to get beyond the obstacles he will face and the strength to try new things and continually expand his horizons.”

And to piggy back on these words, the recipient, himself, quotes on his business website, “If we do right by our clients, this business rewards me by allowing me to offer the best of myself to what’s most important to me: my family, my community and my work.”

His volunteer efforts are vast and exceptional.

He has been a Chamber Board Member and especially enjoyed chairing the Education Committee. Most folks don't realize that he implemented the Adult Spelling Bee in 1998 and of course the Top Ten Banquet was always a highlight of his year. He was a Small Business Council member as well as the chair in 1997. As a matter of fact, he won Small Business Person of the Year in 2001. And a few years previous, he won the Sam Walton Business Leader Award in 1998.

He was nominated also in 1998 for the WSOC-TV  “9 Who Care” Award and represented Lincoln County in our 12 county region.

He was a member of the NC Symphony Board of Directors, and the United Way Board and was a Boy Scouts of America Friends of Scouting team captain.

He was a graduate of the first Leadership Lincoln class of 1999.

He was a member of the Lincoln Medical Center Foundation Board and has recently joined the Atrium - Lincoln Hospital Board.

The YMCA has been near and dear to his heart as well. He was the Capital Campaign Chairman for the Key Gift Division and raised over $300,000, exceeding the division goal. Those of you who work out at the Y and attend group exercise classes have this fellow to thank. He secured the funding for that very room. On behalf of these efforts, he was awarded the George Williams Award, the highest honor a YMCA branch can bestow. He has chaired the Board at the Y and is currently serving again.

He has been Secretary and President of the Lincolnton Rotary Club, is a Paul Harris sustaining member and has been race director of the Apple Festival Road Race for many years, catapulting the number of runners and the earnings. He has proven to be a pivotal and crucial force on the Item Control team at the annual Rotary Auction for Education. He is the liaison for the Interact Club at Lincolnton High School and is responsible for initiating the $1500 scholarship each year for an involved Interact member. One highlight of his Rotary membership has been hosting a foreign exchange student from Brazil, Bruna, for her senior year at Lincolnton High School. Bruna mentioned that after three weeks she had learned more from living with this man’s family than she had in her entire life. Bruna’s relationship with her American dad was quite special and particularly rewarding. Our recipient has continued to host foreign exchange students from all over the world for weekend activities.

His minister, Pastor Gary Dittman, shared some words about him as he took on the role of chairman of the church council during controversial times in the Lutheran church… “Thank you! For the way you care, the way you lead the community and congregation. Thank you- for your commitment, for your example, for being laid back and relaxed and adding honesty and directness to the conversation. God has used you in many ways! Keep letting Christ’s light shine through you.”

That light shines through in a golf tournament he chairs every year in memory of Sally Brookins’ son, Jonathan, an outstanding baseball player who was tragically killed in a single car accident at the age of 19. This Jonathan Brookins Golf tournament has raised, thus far, $100,000 in scholarships directed to deserving high school baseball players graduating from the five high schools in Lincoln County in order to further their education.

Relay for Life has been an especially important organization to this year’s recipient since he lost his mother to cancer in 2005. He has presented special seminars as part of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in order to secure $1000 grants from Mass Mutual for our local fundraising efforts. His firm is a yearly participant and team member and has achieved the All Star Team Gold Level on numerous occasions.

He has chaired the Lincoln County Public Education Foundation and received the Mass Mutual Community Service Award on behalf of his volunteer efforts for this foundation. Because he sponsored the RF8K for five years to raise funds for the Education Foundation, this organization received a $10,000 grant in his honor.

He has always taken seriously the opportunity to positively impact the young people of Lincoln County. Years ago he and his wife were co-presidents of the S. Ray Lowder PTA and, among other things, he implemented and organized the infamous car wash for the staff members during the school day using parent volunteers. He has mentored several times along with serving as a board member for Communities in Schools. He was awarded a Quality of Life Grant by the Million Dollar Round Table Foundation for his work with Communities in Schools and a $2500 grant was given to our local chapter on his behalf.

And yet, perhaps, nothing, and I mean NOTHING gives this man more pleasure than to coach! He has served as a volunteer coach for the youth flag football teams at the City of Lincolnton Recreation Department. He has volunteered as an assistant basketball coach for the Lady Wolves basketball team at Lincolnton High School, who won their conference championship last year. And he has LOVED coaching basketball through the Lincolnton Optimist program since 1996. He is a current Optimist Board member and is highly regarded for his basketball knowledge, but more importantly, for his ability to pass along his love and passion for the game to the players. His greatest accomplishments, other than his own three biological children, are the successes and advancements of quite a few of his players.

Destiny Wilson, a former member of the varsity girls’ team at LHS, shares… “This year’s recipient was nothing less than a father figure to me. He always made sure that not only was I excelling on the court, but excelling in the classroom as well. While helping me perfect my three point shot, he always told me to “just keep shooting” no matter how many times I missed. I’ve taken that lesson and applied it to my life now, as a young woman. No matter how hard life gets, never give up, or in other words, never stop shooting. This coach taught me how to love the game and even gave me the opportunity to coach at the optimist level, which grew my love for the game and for children as well. I’ve taken what I’ve learned about both and decided to further my education to become an elementary school teacher and eventually a coach and I thank him for that. My main goal is to have the same positive impact on my students and my team as he had on me.”

And one more story… a young man named Ta’kiy was hanging around the Optimist gym, two years ago, EVERY Saturday without being a team member, just a spectator. This year’s recipient took a liking to Ta’kiy, who had never played any organized sports. And this is what Ta’kiy has to say…” There’s a lot of stuff about this man. I listen to him and I don't play around when I am with him. He has helped me get into basketball and get better. He keeps me out of trouble. I like it when he comes around!”

Ta’kiy Robinson was a captain of the middle school football team this past season, he is currently wrestling and has won every match in his 160 pound weight class, and HE HAS MADE THE A/B HONOR ROLL for the first time ever!

According to Bo King, who recommended our recipient, “the list could go on and on as there are many areas and organizations that have benefited from the interest he has taken in making Lincoln County the best it can be. Perhaps what speaks best of his character is what is not easily recognizable. He does not hesitate to help someone in need and has demonstrated true concern and generosity. In doing so, he always tries to set an example for their three children in how to treat all of those around them. Without a doubt, he is one of the finest among us.”

This year’s recipient certainly embodies the motto of Rotary International which is to provide service to others, promote integrity and advance understanding, goodwill and peace. And I would go so far as to say that he embodies our motto at Lincolnton High School as well…Love Kids, Build Relationships, Awaken Possibilities… So as president of the Lincolnton Rotary Club, principal of Lincolnton High School, and good friend and cohort, it is my distinct honor and pleasure to congratulate Jody Rhyne, as our 2018 Lincoln County Man of the Year!

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