Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

August 12, 2013

Athens-Concord University Town Social gives opportunity for fellowship

ATHENS — Hundreds of people dodged a few raindrops on Sunday to hear some great music, enjoy delicious food, recognize some worthy local citizens and spend a day enjoying fellowship with citizens of Athens and students of Concord University.

“I like everything I’ve seen here,” Anna Ayrapetyan said. “I like seeing the old cars, all the things to do, the people you meet, things to buy and the music. I wish they would have a town social like this two or three times a year.”

Ayrapetyan, 21, of Armenia, recently arrived in the United States as part of the Global UGRAD (Undergraduate) program that provides student leaders with an opportunity to spend one semester studying abroad. Ayrapetyan, along with Marzhan Nurzhan, also 21, of Kazakhstan and Yousuf Ishaq, 21, of Pakistan — all part of the Global UGRAD Program — spent a few days in the Washington, D.C., area before arriving in Athens this weekend.

“I have never seen old cars like the ones I saw here,” Nurzhan said after visiting the car show sponsored by the Concord United Methodist Church. “They are beautiful.”

Ayrapetyan will spend her semester at Concord in the U.S. Studies program while Nurzhan will be in the social studies program. Ishaq will be studying business administration.

“That was what I was studying in Pakistan,” Ishaq said. “I have never been on a campus this big before.”

CU’s front lawn was filled with people as the 27th annual Athens-Concord University Town Social swung into action.

“We sure appreciate the town of Athens,” Dr. Kendra Boggess, interim CU president said by way of welcoming people attending the social. “I hope each of you has a wonderful time.”

The Reverend Gregory Godwin, pastor of Concord United Methodist and his wife Lisa Godwin, were walking through the social, enjoying the vendors. The Godwins have been in the area for eight years and have visited the town/university social every year.

“Someone said this is the first year it actually rained during the social,” Lisa Godwin said.

As always, the awards ceremony was a highlight for many people attending the event. Boggess presented the 2013 Total Community Involvement Award to the entire Concord University baseball team that contributed 1,000 hours of community service to the town and campus while they were winning the 2013 conference championship. Head Coach Andrew Wright and two of his players, Devin Smith and Justin Willard accepted the award on behalf of the team.

Dr. Carol Bard presented the Elder Citizen Award to 92-year-old Gypsy Lane, in recognition to the lifetime of service that she and her late husband, Dr. Charles Lane gave to the community. The Lanes were married 64 years. Their daughter, Pam Garner accepted the award on behalf of Mrs. Lane.

Steve Lilly of Lilly Tax Service received the Business Longevity Award. Lilly studied taxes when he was in the military, worked for the Internal Revenue Service, then opened Lilly Tax Service in 1979. Lilly earned a degree in business and accounting from CU in 1990, and according to Bard, Lilly as well as his wife and each of their 7 children have all earned undergraduate degrees from CU.

Jennifer Ford and Kayla Gray received scholarships from the Athens-Concord Social Committee. Dr. David Bard received the Athens’ Lions Club Citizen of the year award while the Concord University staff received the Beautification Award.

The theme for this year’s event was, “A Neighborly Scene in 2013.” With the exception of some rain, the event lived up to its theme.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com

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