Col. Archie B. Taylor, Jr. was named Vance County’s 2020 Citizen of the Year during the 83rd annual meeting of the Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce, held virtually on Thursday, June 17.
Taylor is retired from the military and, upon returning to Vance County, immersed himself in community activities, from working with the Vance County Public School Foundation to the Embassy Cultural Center Foundation, and many other things besides.
In accepting the award, Taylor thanked the Chamber for the honor. He said he grew up in Vance County, working in tobacco fields and picking cucumbers. When it was time for him to retire, said “the only place I wanted to come back to was Vance County.”
Taylor accepted the award from the 2019 recipients, Tommy and Carolyn Farmer. This year’s winner “has been involved in volunteerism on just about every level of local community service since his retirement: a supporter of area youth programs, an advocate for improved education, a civic leader, a promoter of the arts, a financial backer for non-profit causes, and a champion for quality medical care in our community.”
The Farmers said Taylor’s “community spirit is admirable” as they shared some of his accomplishments and his involvement with local groups. He is a member of Rotary and is a Paul Harris Fellow; he has given many hours of his time serving the Boy Scouts in a hands-on fashion to raise funds or to help start new troops in the Occoneechee Counci. He has received the George Watkins-Awahili District Citizen of the Year, one of the highest honors in scouting.
Taylor also is a member of the board of trustees for Maria Parham Health; and his support of Henderson Collegiate and the Vance County Public School Foundation all contribute to Taylor’s selection as the Citizen of the Year.
He stepped in as chairman of the foundation board and has continued in that leadership role for more than 15 years.
“He has been instrumental in making sure the Foundation’s primary fundraiser, Arts Alive, a student art, music, and drama spotlight production, became a reality and continued each year,” they added. “Under his leadership and with his active involvement, the Vance County Public School Foundation has supported and awarded student achievement, scholastic growth in the schools, teacher recruitment and retention efforts, and advanced innovative programs such as STEM. His education endeavors also involve being active in the support and promotion of the Henderson Collegiate School.”
Taylor was nominated by numerous members of the community, and those nominators described him as a “small town diplomat,” a “roll-up-your-sleeves worker,” and someone who always wants what is “best for the community,” and a “model citizen who puts in the time and effort and energy to make our city and county a better place.”