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Civic Leader James M. Deal, Jr. Honored with Lifetime Community Service Award

Jim Deal, Attorney. Photo submitted.

The Boone Sunrise Rotary Club, for only the fourth time in its 36-year history, has presented a local resident with their Lifetime Community Service Award.  The honor was bestowed upon James M. (Jim) Deal, Jr. at the organization’s annual meeting held on June 30, 2022 at Hound Ears Club.  Deal, a partner in the law firm Deal, Moseley, & Smith, LLP, joins previous recipients Joe Miller, Ken Wilcox, and Bettie Bond in receiving the award. Deal is an eighth generation High Country resident whose family dates back to the 1790s in Watauga County. 

“Jim Deal has done so much through his community service and, especially, leadership to make Boone and Watauga County a better place to live,” said Mast Store Chairman John Cooper, who nominated Deal for the honor. “Our local school system is among the best in the state, due in large part to Jim’s efforts as chair of both the Watauga County Board of Education and the Watauga County Commission. There is no one more deserving of this award,” Cooper said. 

Outgoing President Jim Street of Ridgeline Leadership echoed Cooper’s comments and added, “The aim of Rotary is ‘service above self,’ and no one better exemplifies that motto than Jim Deal.” 

Rather than cite the long list of Deal’s community service accomplishments, awards, and recognitions, his longtime friend Lane Robinson of Creekside Electronics offered a toast in the form of a rhyming poem, written for the occasion by Keith Martin from the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country. It read as follows:

Tonight we are honoring one of our own, 

Co-founder, life member, a man widely-known.

While Joe Miller, Ken Wilcox, Bettie Bond, all had zeal,

This recipient is, at last… the “Real Deal.”

With Shelia, his wife of forty-five years,

And four loving children whose vict’ries he cheers.

A man of great faith, pillar of Boone U.M.C.,

Never rests on his laurels, I think you’ll agree. 

His hobbies are many, from golfing to hist’ry,

Bleeds “Carolina Blue,” a fact that’s no myst’ry.

Education’s his passion, loves people… no question,

A champion for others, and the legal profession. 

The wisdom of Lincoln, the genius of Darrow,

Like Atticus Finch, he’s straight as an arrow.

His pro bono work appears never ending,

To numerous causes, beyond comprehending. 

When running for office, this man’s undefeated,

On School Board and County Commission was seated,

He chaired both bodies, plus App’s Board of Trustees,

UNC’s Board of Gov’nors? There, too, the big cheese. 

The App Theatre, App Healthcare, and Habitat, too,

There’s simply no end to the wonders he’ll do. 

Our Recreation Commission, and Foundations galore,

To continue this litany, y’all would be bored.

Suffice it to say this legend’s a saint,

So let’s raise a glass and show no restraint,

To a lifetime of community service genteel,

Dear Rotary colleagues, a toast… to Jim Deal. 

In accepting the award, Deal quoted Luke 12:48 in saying, “One of the parts in the Bible to which I pay the most attention is the phrase, ‘to whom much is given, much is required.’  I’ve been given so much, and I’ve not done nearly as much as I should have done, but I’m thankful to have done a little bit.”  

“You’re the ones who make this community special,” Deal said. “People like me, and like many of you, we get the opportunity to serve from time to time, but it’s the people who make it special.”

Other business at the annual meeting included presentation of the Paul Harris Award to Sunrise Rotary members Jesse Lutabingwa from Appalachian State University and Lane Robinson of Creekside Electronics, and the recognition of Mike Roberts, formerly of Cheap Joe’s Arts Stuff, for contributing the highest number of service hours in 2021-22. The passing of the gavel to incoming President Brian Irving of Truist Bank was made, with formal installation by Assistant Governor of Rotary District 7670 Jesse Pope of Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, assisted by the ten former club presidents who were in attendance at the event.

Courtesy of Boone Sunrise Rotary

Paul Harris Award Recipients Jesse Lutabingwa (left) and Lane Robinson with Bob Miller, Rotary Past President & Club Historian. Photo submitted.