By Cindy Garfield- The 26th Annual Charles H. Taylor Holiday Dinner took place Saturday at the Crowne Plaza in Asheville. The ballroom was filled with poinsettias and holiday cheer. The Congressman invites a special guest from Washington, DC to address his guests.
Former special guests include Governor Mike Huckabee, Vice President Dick Cheney, Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Majority Leader Tom DeLay, and National Security Advisor John Bolton. This year special guest were Senator Thom Tillis, Congressman Elect Mark Harris, and State Treasurer Dale Folwell who also acted as Master of Ceremony.
Immediately following the Salute to the American Flag and singing of the National Anthem, Senator Tillis was introduced. He spoke about the release of Pastor Andrew Brunson from incarceration in Turkey for over 2 years and the diplomatic process that eventually culminated in the Pastor Brunson’s release.
The process involved 70 US Senators who worked cooperatively to free Brunson. Some of President Trump’s accomplishments were described as well as Tillis’ desire to work unilaterally in the upcoming Congress.
Sam Whaley, of Word of Faith Fellowship, presented the Invocation. Congressman Taylor presented two Individual American Eagles Awards. Forest Jarrett was the recipient of the 2018 Individual America Eagle Award for Public Service. The 90-year-old, cowboy hat wearing distinguished public servant was recognized for his role in the development of the Marshall Depot renovation.
Through community grants, the historic building has since been renovated and now utilized by the community. Indefatigable Forest Jarrett was also recognized for his role in the purchase of a lake and tract of land once owned by Carolina Power and Light along the Buncombe/Madison County line. The property is now managed by the Wildlife Department for public recreational purposes.
Next, the 2018 Individual American Eagle Award for Business was presented to Mike Summey. A genuine American success story, Mr. Summey was honored for his numerous acts of public service and his inspiration to others. From his humble beginning in the coalfields of West Virginia, Summey was determined to become a millionaire by the age of 30 and retire by the age of 50. The entrepreneur, best-selling author, and pilot became a champion for “the little man”. His financial empire was built on the three D’s of success: Desire, Discipline, and Dedication.
Following Senator Tills was the Keynote Speaker, Congressman Elect Mark Harris NC District 9. Dr. Harris, an ordained Baptist minister, captivated the audience with details of his challenging race and ongoing investigation. President Trump’s fulfilled promises of tax cuts, job growth, appointments of judges who support the Constitution, the relocation of the Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, and fair trade were the opening of his speech. Dr. Harris then used the President Trump’s motto, Promises Made Promises Kept to segue into the true meaning of Christmas.
The evening concluded after a speech by State Treasurer Dale Folwell. “Money goes where it is invited and stays where it is welcome” was a catchphrase repeated several times as Folwell discussed the economic growth of North Carolina.