Rotary Club of Morganton salutes the Morganton Distinguished person of the Year

Each year, the Rotary Club of Morganton singles out one person who has contributed significantly to the betterment of the community.  It is a special honor that transcends politics and personalities, and it is reserved for those individuals whose leadership and service extend far beyond the range of the average citizen, exemplifying the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self.”

In 1948, the late J.D. Fitz, an outstanding Rotarian and past Club President, conceived the idea of a “Man of the Year” award, which evolved into an annual testimonial and banquet.  This tradition continued until the fall of 2015 when the Club changed the name of the award to the “Distinguished Person of the Year” and made women eligible to receive the award.

Nominations are solicited from throughout the community and the award recipient is selected by a secret committee appointed by that year’s Rotary Club President.

Many of the award winners have been honored for a lifetime of community service, while others have been chosen primarily for spearheading a single, extraordinary project.  Their spheres of influence are as wide and diverse as the community itself:  education, commerce, athletics, religion and charitable endeavors, to name a few.

Each recipient has been welcomed into an exclusive fellowship of men and women whose deeds and vision have helped enhance the quality of life in this community for over 60 years.

The Rotary Club of Morganton is very proud to present the “Distinguished Person of the Year” and welcomes all the past award winners.



Morganton Distinguished Person of the Year 2018 Recipient

Alexander Corpening

Since 1948 The Rotary Club of Morganton has named the Distinguished Person of the Year.  The 2017 award goes to Alexander Corpening, known as the Chief, and “is the ultimate personification of outstanding commitment to volunteerism”, according to his friends. As the Fire Chief Lake James Fire and Rescue Department, he serves as the main incident commander for the majority of the emergency fire, rescue and medical response calls in his area. 



Former Distinguished Persons of the Year

2017 - John Cantrell


2016: Scott Whisnant
2015: Barbara C. Norvell
2014: John D. Greene
2013: Rev. Dr. George K. Logan

2012: John T. Branstrom
2011: Jerry T. Norvell, Jr.
2010: Claude SItton

2009: Ron Martin
2008: Waits Gordon II
2007: David Burleson
2006: David Rust
2005: Paul M. Braun

2004: Thomas A. Bland, Jr.
2003: Carl Evans
2002: Wayne Abele
2001: Robert E. Benner
2000: Fred B. Bentley

1999: William J. Allman
1998: Gary W. Leonhardt
1997: Ed G. Redman
1996: John T. Watkins, Jr.
1995: Fred M. Robertson

1994: L.S. Inscoe, Jr.
1993: Otto H. Woerner
1992: Lloyd W. Turner
1991: Charles V. Burleson
1990: Bob D. Shepherd

1989: Robert B. Byrd
1988: George M. Fouts
1987: Howard Haworth
1986: Tom Peeler
1985: Andrew M. Kistler II

1984: William P. Widenhouse
1983: Melvin C. Cohen
1982: Clarence Perkins Reinhardt
1981: William L. McCombs
1980: H. Clinton Foust, Jr.

1979: D. Holman Sigmon
1978: Richard E. Gordon
1977: Jack Kirksey
1976: Dr. C. Miller Sigmon
1975: W.F. McIntosh, Jr.

1974: Paul S. Cash
1973: Dr. Fletcher Nelson
1972: J.D. Fitz
1971: Burand L. McGinnis
1970: John D. Smith

1969: Jack H. Campbell
1968: Donnell VanNoppen
1967: A.B. Stoney
1965: Robert L. Patton
1964: C.K. Avery
1963: Dr. E. W. Phifer, Jr.
1962: James F. McGimpsey
1961: Frank C. Patton
1960: W. Stanley Moore
1959: Dr. W.H. Kibler
1958: J.O. Barber

1957: William J. Branstrom, Jr.
1956: John M. Mull
1955: Robert O. Huffman
1954: Sen. S.J. Ervin, Jr.
1953: W.R. Williams
1952: H.L. Riddle
1951: A.C. Chaffee
1950: A.M. Ingold
1949: H.L. Shuey
1948: E.A. Kirksey