One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about “friends of my friends”. The post below is the story for May 12, 2015.
My goal in 2015 is to learn or get re-acquainted with 365 people and doing a daily post on the “the friend of a friend” is helping me get closer to my goal.
Over the years I have met a number of special people and leaders by serving on non-profit boards or observing their leadership on one. That is surely the case with a friend named Dr. Wiley Barrett.
Photo below of Wiley speaking at 2015 UNC Pembroke Commencement.
Last evening Wiley invited my wife along with the three other couples to their home to an informal cookout. We all got together to celebrate the impending retirement of UNC Pembroke’s Chancellor Dr. Kyle Carter and his wife Sarah. They will be leaving the university at the end of June and be moving to Asheville, NC.
Wiley is a retired educator from Southern Pines, NC who currently is serving as the Chairman of the UNC Pembroke Board of Trustees. He is a 1969 graduate of UNC Pembroke and also a former collegiate basketball player. Wiley joined the board of trustees in April 2012 and was elected chair in March 2013. He is also a former elected member and chair of the Moore County (NC) School Board.
I actually got to get to know Wiley because of a strong avocation he had for officiating college and high school sports. I got to meet Wiley early in my coaching career at Pembroke and he often would give me good leads on players he had seen. I probably recruited no less than a dozen players that Wiley had given me a great recommendation on. Wiley was always interested in UNC Pembroke being successful in basketball and that still exists today. He has become a fixture at home and often away basketball games for the Braves. He has developed a strong friendship with UNC Pembroke Head Basketball Coach Ben Miller and his dad Eldon.
Wiley officiating abilities were recently recognized by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA). He was one of four outstanding individuals from the world of high school officiating that were honored with the ninth annual Golden Whistle Merit Award. The criteria for the award include demonstrating leadership, performance, service and training for the betterment of officiating, possessing officiating abilities emulated by fellow officials, being regarded as a person of integrity and character, and a minimum of 10 years of experience as an active official. Wiley received his award at the NCHSAA Annual Meeting on Thursday May 7th at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill, NC.
In addition to his service to various boards and officiating Wiley likes to travel. He has been on a number of cruises and loves to take his RV on extended trips. He also is an excellent golfer and plays not only on his home course Southern Pines Country Club but in a number of local and regional tournaments. One of my great memories of Wiley involves his RV and a charity fundraising dinner at our home.
In the summer of 2013 my wife and I agreed to host a Cajun dinner for 12 people at our home to raise money for the UNC Pembroke Braves Club. Wiley and his wife Dianne are great supporters of the University in fact they have created an endowed scholarship for basketball at the university. That support also went to them successfully bidding on that Cajun dinner.
Wiley at 2015 UNCP Cash Bash with Heather Miller and Mira Kenney
They arrived at our house with the RV loaded up with themselves and 10 guests. It was one of the best nights we have ever had in our home. Included in the group was the mayor of Southern Pines David McNeill.
Wiley Barrett at the wheel and Mayor David McNeill backseat co-pilot.
RV getting ready to roll out
The Friend-WILEY BARRETT
The Friend of the Friend-DAVID MCNEILL
(l-r) Cheryl McNeill, David McNeill, and their dog Raleigh
The Mayor comes to town in a RV
The mayor of Southern Pines, NC is David McNeill. He and I had never met before he came to our home with Wiley and Dianne Barrett for the Cajun Dinner but we found out we had a few things in common.
David McNeill like me had two degrees from East Carolina University and we both had great experiences in Greenville, NC. David prior to becoming elected mayor in Southern Pines had served as County Manager for 15 years in Moore County, NC before moving on to Guilford County, NC. He retired in 2008 and moved from Greensboro, NC back to Southern Pines.
In 2009 David ran successfully for a councilman position in Southern Pines, NC. In 2011 he ran and was elected Mayor. David has been singled out for both his professional and personal accomplishments which include Rotary Club of the Sandhills, “Service Above Self Award” and the NC City and County Managers Association, “Life Membership Award”.
The neatest thing about meeting Mayor David McNeill was the small world connection we had the evening of the Cajun Dinner. We had asked two of our best friends Tony and Tina Jenkins to help be part of our wait staff that evening. Tony and Tina had lived in Lumberton, NC for about 10 years but had moved to Pinehurst, NC in the summer of 2012. Tony works in Pinebluff, NC at Atex Technologies and Tina is nursing faculty member at Sandhills Community College.
David McNeill’s wife Cheryl is the chairman of the nursing department at Sandhills Community College.
Tina was one of Cheryl’s faculty members. We all laughed that neither Tina nor Cheryl realized that the other would be at the event. They spent a good part of the night talking about work.
The conversation, laughter, camaraderie, and memories from that Cajun dinner were all fantastic. Hope the mayor and the RV make another trip to Lumberton soon.
Photo of Dinner Group