Recent Programs


On May 22, 2024, the Caldwell County Rotary Club continued its tradition of awarding partial scholarshipsto graduating HS seniors from each district in Caldwell County.

Pictured left is Madelyn Wright of Hibriten HS. She will attend Duke University in the fall, and plans to go to medical school. Pictured right is Erin Shows. She recently graduated from Caldwell Early College HS, and is the representative from SCHS district. Erin will enter NC State University in the fall, and plans to study animal science and become a veterinarian. (Not pictured is the winner from West Caldwell HS, Madison Eaches.)


Mr. Jesse Plaster spoke to the club on May 14, 2023.. Plaster is an architect who grew up in Happy Valley. He and his wife Angela own Happy Valley Filling Station, which opened two years ago. Plaster described the business as a "gateway" to the Happy Valley community, and it serves wood-fired brick oven sourdough pizza and won an award for best new brewery in NC.  Plaster also spoke of his various renovations of older properties in downtown Lenoir which have been completed and ones that are still ongoing, such as the old Marvin's One Stop Record Shop and old Bentley Roofing building.


Dr. David Lowery, President and CEO of UNC Health-Caldwell spoke to the club on April 16, 2024.. Lowery is a Tennessee native who grew up in Ohio.  He is a US Air Force veteran. Dr. Lowery has served at UNC Health Caldwell for 19 years.  He previously served as UNC Health-Caldwell's Chief Medical Officer, and  he stepped into the CEO role in December 2023, replacing Laura Easton who retired at the end of the year. 

UNC Health took over Caldwell Memorial Hospital approximately 10 years ago and has invested $100 million dollars in the UNC Health facilities in Caldwell County.   

For more information visit


Dr. Jack Hodges, Senior Pastor at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Morganton spoke to the club on April 9, 2024. Hodges is a Burke County native who majored in Education at Appalachian State University. He and his wife served as Christian missionaries in Gaza, Palestine after college in the 1980s and up to the Gulf War in 1991. He spoke of his experiences there, and shared insights related to the current conflict between Israel and Hamas-ruled Gaza.


Rotarian Kent Spears spoke to the club On April 2, 2024, about the role of NC Probation/Parole Officers who work within the NC Department of Adult Correction. A Lenoir native, Spears will retire this month after 35 years in the division. He is the Assistant Judicial District Manager for Caldwell, Burke, and Catawba counties which consists of about 90 employees (including about 70 certified officers) that supervise almost 3,000 adult offenders on probation or parole in the three counties.


Lenoir City Manager Scott Hildebran (pictured center) spoke to the club on March 26, 2024 about new businesses that opened in the city in 2023, as well as coming new businesses and city projects. Hildebran noted that the largest city taxpayer is Google, the 2nd largest is now Excela. Bernhardt Furniture is the largest employer within the City of Lenoir. Pictured right, is Joshua Harris, City of Lenoir Communication & Public Info Director. And pictured left is Rotarian Ralph Prestwood.


Mr. Bryan Moore, President & CEO of the Caldwell County Chamber of Commerce, spoke to the club on March 19, 2024. A native of NY state, Moore worked in the hotel industry prior, including Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock.  The Chamber's mission is Strengthening Local Business, and the chamber now has 410 members.  

Links for more info...


John Moore, owner of Brushy Mountain Builders, spoke to the club on March 12, 2024. Moore spoke about the challengesassociated with the residential housing industry. The demand for affordable housing is great and and NC is a destination state. Moore also indicated that water and sewer infrastructure is needed for growth and residential development.



Mr. Ben Willis, Community and Economic Development Director with Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG) spoke to the club on February 27, 2024 about their Homelessness Response Team. The WPCOG serves Alexander, Caldwell, Catawba, and Burke counties and provides consulting and support in for local governments and non-profits in dealing with issues surrounding homelessness.


Rotarian Pierre Lavignette spoke to the club on February 13, 2024 about the upcoming CALDWELL ROTARY GOLF FOR SCHOLARSHIPS Tournament scheduled for April 26 at 1pm at Cedar Rock Golf & Country Club. For information, visit


City of Lenoir Public Services Director Radford Thomas (left) spoke to the club on January 30, 2024. He discussed several projects the city is involved with including "brownfield site" evaluations and a water interconnection project with Valdese. Rotarian Jeff Church (pictured right) arranged for the program speaker.


Mr. Micah Turner, the Samaritan's Purse operations manager for "Operation Heal Our Patriots", spoke to the club on January 23, 2024. The program is geared toward assisting post-9/11 veterans and their spouses. The adverse effects of war on those couples is dealt with in a faith-based therapeutic setting in an Alaskan retreat.

For more information visit

On December 19, 2023, Caldwell Rotary Club made its annual Christmas donations to area agencies that make a positive impact on our community. Pictured (L to R) are Angel Moretz with Lenoir Soup Kitchen, club president Seth Nagy, Caldwell DSS Director Kim Arnett (accepting donation for annual DSS Foster Children's Christmas Party) and Lisa Clontz with the Shelter Home of Caldwell County.

Not pictured, but receiving donations are:West Caldwell High School Chorus (trip to competition in Canada), and Foothills Robotics 6888 (youth education organization).


On December 12, 2023, Caldwell Rotary welcomed the local First Robotics 6888 Team, a youth organization who participates in competitions for the betterment and advancement of youth technical education.

Pictured left to right are:  Rotarian Chris Cole, Joe/Aiden/Addie/Brielle Pepoli, and Rotarian Pierre Lavignette.


On December 5, 2023,, Robin’s Nest, Children’s Advocacy Center of Caldwell County presented their mission, progress and goals to the Rotary Club of Caldwell County.  Pictured L-R:  Caldwell Rotarian Pierre Lavignette, Melissa Dunn- Robin's Nest, Community Outreach and Awareness Specialist, Rebecca Dellinger-Robin's Nest, Finance Director and Seth Nagy – President,  Caldwell County Rotary Club.

For more information about Robin's Nest visit


Michelle Pennell (center) and Kurt Gobble (right) spoke to the club on November 28 about services offered by the NC Department of Health and Human Services Division of Services for the Blind.

Pennell is a social worker for the blind working out of Caldwell Department of Social Services.  Gobble is a US Air Force veteran who is visually-impaired, and he works in the area of vocational rehabilitation for blind or visually impaired over multiple counties in the Winston-Salem/northwest NC region. 

Rotarian Kent Greer (left) arranged the program. 

For more information visit

Caldwell Rotarian David Gray spoke to the club on November 22 about the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is a public-private partnership led by national governments with six core partners - the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Its goal is to eradicate polio worldwide.

For more information visit

Mr. Jeff Bentley (left) is pictured with club president Seth Nagy. Bentley spoke to the club on November 14 about his role as Director of Performing Arts at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center. The Civic Center hosts about 300 different events per year, in addition to their annual line up of entertainment at their 1,000 seat auditorium known as "Showcase of The Stars". 

For additional information about shows and tickets follow link below:


Mr. Andrew Massey spoke to the Caldwell County Rotary Club on Septmeber 26th about the upcoming COALESCE MUSIC AND ARTS FESTIVAL on October 7th at the WNC Sculpture Center located at Patterson School.   The festival is an all-day event (10am-9pm) and will feature 15 bands of different music genres, including many local artists.  *Three food trucks will be on site, as well as two beer vendors (Liquid Roots Brewing Project and Happy Valley Filling Station).


Alicia Stanislaw, Service Line Director of Psychiatry, Women & Children for Caldwell UNC Healthcare, spoke to the Caldwell County Rotary Club on September 12. She spoke of the rate of emergency department care of  psychiatric patients, and of the new Jonas Hill Hospital and Clinic which is located on the campus of Caldwell UNC Hospital.  Jonas Hill has 27 beds for adult inpatient psychiatric hospitalization and an outpatient psychiatric Clinic.


Ashley Bolick, Caldwell Coouny  Economic Development Director, spoke to the club on Tuesday, August 22  Bolick is a Caldwell Co. native and graduate of Lenoir-Rhyne University. 
She spoke of the makeup of the Economic Development Advisory Committee, and shared excerpts of the Economic Development Strategic Plan, which can be viewed at 

Rotarian Jeff Church introduced recently-named Lenoir Fire Department Chief Norman Staines (pictured right) spoke to the club on August 1. Chief Staines has 28 years of experience in the fire service, and has been teaching firefighting and public safety for more than 20 years.  Congratulations Chief Staines and thank you Lenoir Fire Department for your service!


Chris Eidse, Connections Pastor at WaterLife Church spoke to the club this morning about the church's recent mission trip to Guatemala.  The trip was coordinated via Praying Pelican Missions, and Mr. Eidse likened the trip to a "family visit" in which American christians pay a visit to their brothers and sisters in Christ who are in another country.

Stefanie Keller spoke to the club on June 20, 2023. She and her husband Jason are the owners of Wolf Moon Salt Cave & Stress Reduction Center.   The downtown Lenoir business (which is celebrating it's one-year anniversary) features a Himalayan salt cave and private salt room, massage therapy, aesthetics, and yoga classes. Keller is a Caldwell native and is a former employee of Caldwell Co Schools. For more information go to

Michael Dineen (left) spoke to the club on June 13, 2023 about his recent trip to the annual Rotary International Convention in Melbourne, Australia.  Dineen is the incoming president of the Lenoir club. He spoke of the various countries represented at the RI convention,  and of some of Rotary's service projects around the world such as polio eradication, bridge projects, water purification, cancer and Alzheimers research,  and dental clinics.   

Kent Greer (pictured right) arranged the program.


Lisa Clontz,  Director of the Shelter Home of Caldwell County, talked with the club members on the morning of June 6, 2023. She spoke of the ongoing facility upgrades, and of the domestic violence shelter's increase in bed capacity from 40 to 56.  

Caldwell Rotary Club thanks the Shelter Home staff members , board members, and all who have supported this worthwhile entity throughout the years!


The Caldwell Rotary Club was proud to award partial scholarship funds to these three Caldwell County 2023 graduating seniors!

Pictured left to right are Faith McIntyre, Maggie Hudson, and Riley Carter.

Ms. McIntyre is graduating from Caldwell Applied Sciences Academy, and will attend East Carolina University this fall to participate in their Honors College to study in the Clinical Lab Science program. She plans to enter the medical field. 

Ms. Hudson is graduating from South Caldwell High School and will enter Lenoir-Rhyne University this fall to study nursing. She is a Certified Nursing Assistant.

Ms. Carter is graduating from West Caldwell High School and will enter UNC-Asheville this fall to participate in their Honors College program,  and will major in Fine Arts.


Local attorney, and Caldwell Rotarian, Bruce Cannon spoke to the club on May 2, 2023. Cannon has practiced law in Lenoir for the past 47 years.  He spoke of the challenges brought on by the pandemic, as well as the recent improvements made with regards to technological advancements/efficiency in law practice, and courthouse security.

Pastor Paul Pruitt of Bethel Colony of Mercy spoke to the club April 25, 2023. Bethel Colony is a Christian-based recovery and transformation center that is nearing it's 75 anniversary.  The men's campus is located in Lower Creek and the women's campus is located in the former Camp Carolwood location in Buffalo Cove. Caldwell Rotary salutes Pruitt, his staff, and  all who have supported Bethel Colony through the years!


Chris Aiken of Aiken Controls spoke to the club on April 11, 2023 about the high tech software and controls his company produces. His company (shop located in downtown Lenoir) is a supplier of high performance industrial controls, vision systems, and automation solutions as well as a certified UL 508A control panel builder.  Aiken has over 30 years of automation and optimization experience and  a deep understanding of heavy manufacturing with a focus in the wood and wood products industries. Aiken is a Lenoir native and graduate of West Caldwell HS,  and UNC-Chapel Hill.

Brittany Bonn, Executive Director of  Helping Hands Clinic, spoke to the club April 4, 2023.  Bonn was named to the position in October 2022.  The clinic has helped provide medications for Caldwell County's uninsured and low-income adults since 1998.  The clinic has expanded services to include primary and urgent care, as well as mental health counseling care, most recently.


On March 21, 2023, Lenoir Parks & Recreation's new Director, Phil Harper (left), and Lenoir City Manager Scott Hildebran (right) spoke to the club on recent and upcoming city projects. Harper is a Caldwell County native who has worked in the recreation field since the 1980s in locations in NC and California. 

Rotarian and Lenoir City Council member Kent Greer (center) arranged the program.


Sarah Kocher, who is  the 4-H Youth Development Agent serving Caldwell County, spoke on January 3, 2023. 

Kocher is a Kansas native and Kansas State University graduate. She shared that there are seven active 4-H clubs in Caldwell County, that 607 youths participated in the different 4-H programs in 2022, and that 4-H  participants range in age from 5-18 years old. Interested youth or adults interested in serving as a volunteer are welcome to contact her.


On the morning of December 12, 2022, the Caldwell Rotary made their annual monetary gifts to selected local agencies who serve our community so well. Caldwell Rotary wishes to THANK all who support their fundraisers throughout the year! Representatives of agencies receiving gifts pictured from left are:  

Will Wakefield (gift for Caldwell DSS-Foster Children's Christmas party)

Lisa Clontz (Shelter Home of Caldwell Co.)

Sharon Harmon (gift for Yokefellow-LEOS)

Lloyd Bridges  (gift for Lenoir Soup Kitchen), and Chris Cole (Caldwell Rotary club treasurer)



Mr. Jon Hogan spoke to the club on the morning of December 6th, 2022. He was hired as the City of Lenoir's Public Works Director in July.
Hogan, who worked for the City of Hickory for 18 years, spoke on current and planned projects for the city. We appreciate all the hard work put in each day by the men and women of the public works department.


Laura Easton, President and CEO of Caldwell UNC Health/Hospital, spoke to the club on the morning of November 22. Easton spoke on the events of recent years and the ongoing efforts of Caldwell UNC Health, to include the opening of the new Jonas Hill Hospital and Clinic, which provides inpatient and outpatient mental healthcare.


Mr. Andy Puhl spoke to the club during the morning of November 8, 2022. He is the Assistant Superintendent of Auxiliary Services for Caldwell County Schools.  He has served as the principal for multiple schools in Burke and Caldwell schools, and is new in his current role.  Mr. Puhl also spoke on projects such as the construction at Granite Falls Middle School, security upgrades in Caldwell Schools, as well as the grant funded electric activity bus with charging station.


April Austin, Executive Director of the Caldwell Senior Center, spoke to the Caldwell Rotary club on the morning of August 30th.  The Senior Center was incorporated by senior citizens in 1985 and the Center building was completed in 1987. The non-profit is certified as a "Senior Center of Excellence" and is governed by a board of directors composed of seniors and offers a host of programs and activities for any Caldwell seniors. For more information visit:


District 7670 Governor Tammy Mosteller spoke to the Caldwell County Rotary Club on August 16, 2022.  Mosteller, a member of the Lincoln Sunrise Rotary Club,  is the current District Governor for District 7670, which is comprised of nearly 50 clubs and over 2000 Rotary members in western NC.
She shared information related to the upcoming membership summit, and facilitated a discussion on the Caldwell County Rotary Club's ongoing service projects.


Lenoir Rotary club member Sarah Wert spoke to the Caldwell Rotary Club on August 9th, 2022 on the topic of recruiting new Rotarians.  New ideas and approaches were presented, which in turn leads to growing membership. Want to impact your community in a positive way while networking with others? Take a look at Rotary!




Mr. Michael Mesa, a recent graduate of South Caldwell HS spoke to the Caldwell Rotary Club on the morning of July 12, 2022.  Mesa is one of the recipients of the club's partial scholarships to be awarded.  He will enter UNC-Chapel Hill next month, and will major in Business and Public Policy with a concentration in International Affairs.  He is the son of Ricardo and Luz Mesa of Lenoir.  



Deborah Ashley Smith spoke to the Caldwell Rotary club on the morning of June 7, 2022 about the upcoming 2022 Happy Valley Fiddlers Convention. The event will be held Labor Day weekend  on the Tony Jones Farm property on Hwy. 268 in Happy Valley.  The annual event, which began in 2005 to promote and preserve the cultural heritage of the community, was not held in 2020 and 2021.  However, it is slated to resume September 2-4, 2022 and opportunities are still available for potential vendors, volunteers,  sponsors, musicians, etc.

For more information please visit HAPPYVALLEYFIDDLERS.ORG

Caldwell Rotarian Ralph Prestwood spoke to the club during the morning of May 31, 2022 regarding preparations for the upcoming "Golf For Scholarships" benefit golf tournament by Caldwell Rotary.

This year's tournament will be held on Friday, August 5th at Lenoir Golf Club, with check-in & lunch starting at 11am, and the shotgun start is at 1pm.  For tournament information, sign up to play, and sponsorship opportunities please visit

or contact Ralph Prestwood at 828-612-4618 or email: or

Bud Watts at 828-217-0736 or email:



The Caldwell Rotary club made partial scholarship awards to two local high school graduates on May 24, 2022.

Mary Catherine Ford (top photo), of West Caldwell High School, plans to attend UNC-Wilmington this fall. She will study nursing and wants to become a Nurse Practitioner.

Steele Moore (bottom photo), of Hibriten High School, will attend Western Carolina University this fall. He will study Construction Management.

Congratulations to these deserving award winners!


Caldwell County Manager Donald Duncan spoke to the Caldwell Rotary Club on May 17, 2022. Duncan was hired by Caldwell County in the Fall of 2021. He is the former Conover City Manager and currently serves as President of the Newton-Conover Rotary club.  He spoke of reorganizations/improvements in the County's Animal Care & Enforcement Division and the Environmental Health Division. He indicated building permit requests in Caldwell County have greatly increased in 2022.


Lenoir City Manager Scott Hildebran spoke to the Caldwell Rotary Club on the morning of May 10, 2020.Mr. Hildebran shared a presentation about recent city projects and improvements.

For a summary of the city's departments and roles go to


Brittany Vaughn, Director of Development for Amorem (formerly known as Burke Hospice and Palliative Care, Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care), spoke to the Caldwell Rotary Club during the morning of May 3, 2022.

May 3rd is actually the 1st anniversary of the merger of Burke/Caldwell Hospice and creation of  Amorem (Latin for "love"), which continues to be a non-profit entity governed by its own board of directors, etc.

Amorem offers hospice care, palliative medicine, grief support, advance care planning, advanced cardiac care planning, grief support, and respite care.

For more information visit



Rotarian and Caldwell Agricultural Extension Agent Seth Nagy (pictured) spoke to the Caldwell County Roatary Club on April 26, 2022 reagarding the N.C.Plant Sciences Initiative (N.C. PSI) at NC State University.  The agricultural industry in NC has an estimated $100 billion annual economic impact as of 2020.

NC also being home to 13 agriculture research stations, as well as the Research Triangle Park, made it a logical fit for the PSI, which is located in the Centennial Campus at NCSU. The PSI utilizes collaborative research (horticulture, biology, engineering, chemistry, technology, etc) as well as a partnership between businesses and research.  

For more information visit


Ann Smith (pictured) spoke to the Caldwell Rotary Club on April 19, 2022 regarding the 1st Annual Camp Enterprise to be held April 27-29 at the HUB Station. Smith is a retired baker and long-time Rotarian.
Camp Enterprise is a joint project of The HUB Station and IMPACT Rotary Club of the Foothills. Twenty selected Caldwell County high school students will particiapte in the inaugural camp, where they will be exposed to many aspects of entrepreneurship and have opprtunities for learning/mentorship.


Kenny Story, City of Lenoir's Director of Parks and Recreation, spoke to the Caldwell Rotary Club on April 12, 2022. The city is applying for a 50/50 matching grant, mainly for upgrades to the Lenoir Aquatic and Fitness Center.


Radford Thomas (pictured left), Director of Public Utilities for the City of Lenoir, spoke to the club Tuesday, April 5th. Mr. Thomas gave an overview of the new upgrade at the Lower Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. The new equipment reduces the amount of waste that has to be disposed of in the landfill. The project cost was 6.6 million dollars and the equipment was manufactured in the USA.
Rotarian Charles Beck (pictured right) arranged the program speaker.


Patrick Crouch (pictured right) spoke to the Caldwell Rotary club on March 1, 2022 about the upcoming 24th Annual Caldwell Traditional Musicians Showcase. Patrick and Rotarian Kent Spears (left) also performed some traditional-blues songs.

Kay and Patrick Crouch host the annual showcase, and this year's show will be held 7:30pm on March 5th at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center. The show features Strictly Clean and Decent, The Page Brothers, The NeverB's (sisters Sara and Caitlyn King), and The Shelby Rae Moore Band.

For more information follow the links below:

Caldwell Rotarian, and County Cooperative  Extension Director Seth Nagy spoke to the club on February 22 about the upcoming edible plant sale. Plants arrive on March 24th. For an order form and information, follow the link below:


Matthew Anthony, with Downtown Lenoir Economic Development and Main Street Community Engagement, spoke to the Caldwell Rotary Club on February 1st.  He shared information related to the emphasis on economic vitality thru historic preservation, which makes our own downtown unique and appealing. Anthony also shared information on upcoming downtown 2022 events such as Moonjoy Meadery's spring festival 3/19, cruise-ins, family bike-fest, Chamber of Commerce's BlackBerry Festival, and Southern Sundown 4-miler by Liquid Roots Brewing Project.




Lenoir Rotarian Patrick Longano spoke to the Caldwell Rotary Club on Tuesday, January 25th.  Longano currently serves as the Rotary District 7670 Club Membership Chair.  He discussed membership trends in U.S. civic clubs, as well as Rotary clubs.  He also spoke on non-traditional Rotary clubs and their growing role in service projects in our communities.  For more information on service opportunities,  find "IMPACT by the Rotary Club of the Foothills" on facebook.


Craig Styron, Principal at West Caldwell HS, spoke to the Caldwell Rotary Club on Tuesday, January 11.  Styron has served as Principal at West for the past four years after serving as Principal at Collettsville Elementary, and before that he taught and coached at W. Caldwell.  He spoke of the current enrollment at WCHS (699) and student demographics.
Styron discussed the different programs and activities at the school, and told the club of the community involvement (businesses, churches, individuals) as it relates to expanding internet connectivity for students to utilize outside of the school.


On Tuesday, December 7,  Caldwell Rotary presented their annual monetary gifts to selected local agencies who serve our community so well. Caldwell Rotary members want to sincerely thank all who support their fundraisers throughout the year!

Pictured from left are Will Wakefield (gift for Caldwell DSS-Foster Children's Christmas party), Jeff Hoover  (gift for Lenoir Soup Kitchen), Sharon Harmon (gift for Yokefellow-LEOS), Esther Wakefield and Craig Styron (W. Caldwell HS Interact club's gifts to needy), and Chris Cole (Caldwell Rotary club treasurer).


Durung the Caldwell County Rotary Club meeting on November 30, 2021, Rotarian Ralph Prestwood spoke to the club on the topic of the ASVAB, which stands for Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery. The test is basically a military enlistment test which determines if an individual is qualified to enter the armed services, and what would be an appropriate job for the individual.
Roughly 70% take a computerized version of the ASVAB.  The test measures aptitudes in four domains:  Verbal, Math, Science/Technical, and Spatial.