B.J. Drye Column: Let’s create a Stanly County Walk of Fame

Published 3:26 pm Friday, January 4, 2019

When Stanly County residents were glued to their seats watching Kellie Pickler’s run on “American Idol,” it was a sight to behold. People packed into Downtown Albemarle on performance nights to “Pick Pickler,” helping push her to place sixth during season five of the show.

Even more people packed downtown when she returned home for a welcoming that included 96.9 FM The Kat DJ Paul Schadt as guest emcee.

So it seemed only natural, I guess, that a sign was erected in Courthouse Square Park honoring Pickler.

But why is it there?

Haven’t we had other people who have made it big in the entertainment or sports worlds?

We did before her and we have since then.

Albemarle Councilman Dexter Townsend brought this up at the last City Council meeting, asking the city and county to “be more inclusive in recognition” of natives who have went on to successful careers.

So does the placement of signage set a precedent?

Maybe we should recognize the likes of Denico Autry, R.J. Prince, B.J. Hill, Bryan Blanton, Zach Almond and others who have amassed a local and national following, as Townsend suggested. Councilman Bill Aldridge also mentioned Josh Baldwin, a recording artist. We have quite a few connections to Nashville and elsewhere.

Speaking for Albemarle, maybe we should designate certain parts of the city for specific endeavors. Since Pickler is already present in the Square, maybe it could be home for entertainment. Another part could be home to tribute to sports figures.

I mean we already have the Stanly County Sports Hall of Fame, but is that enough? We have a plaque recognizing the 1940 American Legion championship baseball team.

What if we create a Stanly County Walk of Fame?

If all the cities, towns and the village could agree, there could be a coordinated effort to recognize the people from Stanly County who have made a mark on the greater humanity.

There could be a centralized fund and committee and a voting system to add so many people per year to the walk. It would be a true Stanly County Hall of Fame, not just sports.

Just something to think about as we begin the new year.

B.J. Drye is editor of The Stanly News & Press. Contact him at 704-982-2123, bj.drye@stanlynewspress.com or follow bjdrye1 on Twitter.