11/22/05 — Two inducted into Wayne Hall of Fame

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Two inducted into Wayne Hall of Fame

By Turner Walston
Published in News on November 22, 2005 1:46 PM

Mary Kneeshaw, Atlas Price and Mary Gardner were recognized Monday night at the annual Farm-City Banquet at the Wayne Center in downtown Goldsboro.

Mrs. Kneeshaw and Price were named to the Wayne County Agriculture Hall of Fame. Mrs. Gardner was named the 2005 Outstanding Woman in Agriculture.

The theme of the Farm-City Week was "Wayne County: The Place to Live."

Steve Hicks, president of the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce, said the farm and urban communities work together to develop a stronger county.

"We all represent Wayne County," he said. "We all contribute to Wayne County being a better place to live."

The new members of the Hall of Fame were inducted by Cooperative Extension Agent Kevin Johnson.

Mary Elizabeth Helms Kneeshaw moved to New Hope with husband, Dalton, in 1938. She became the Home Economics teacher at New Hope High School, now Eastern Wayne.

"She was an educator who influenced thousands of students and was involved in numerous community projects," said Johnson.

Mrs. Kneeshaw was a member of the New Hope Grange, Wayne County Agriculture Credit Union, and at one time served as director of the Wayne County Agricultural Fair, Johnson said. She died in January 1976. She joins her husband, a 1996 inductee, in the Wayne County Agriculture Hall of Fame.

"This room is full of people who worked with her," said Mrs. Kneeshaw's daughter, Sue Ella Yagel. "Her legacy lives in many, many of you. After being gone 30 years, that's extremely significant."

Price was the second in-ductee into the Hall of Fame this year. A member of the Pricetown community, Price was named Outstanding County Commissioner of the Year in North Carolina for 2005. He has served on the board of commissioners since 1999, and also served from 1986-1992. His service to Wayne County also includes time on the Board of Education.

"This is truly an honor for me tonight," Price said, thanking family and friends for their love, help and support.

"Without the help and support of all these people I mentioned, I would not be standing before you today," Price said. "They share a part of the honor that you have bestowed upon me."

"It's sort of like a dream to have been honored twice in one year," Price said. "You can't hardly believe it."

Anne Smith honored Mary Rowe Gardner as the 2005 Outstanding Woman in Agriculture. Mrs. Gardner has worked with the county's Farm Service Agency for 18 years, and serves on the advisory board for the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls.

"As much as has changed in the last 18 years in Farm Service Agency, our middle name is service, and that's what we're here to do, is to serve the farmers of Wayne County," Mrs. Gardner said in accepting the award.

Larry Wooten, president of North Carolina Farm Bureau, addressed the crowd of about 225 prior to the induction ceremonies.

"It looks like a who's who of Wayne County," Wooten said as he surveyed the attendees.

Critical issues face today's farmer, Wooten said. He explained the importance of research-based knowledge, farmland preservation, and finding new markets. He also touted the increasing role of technology in the state's agriculture industry.

"Technology, especially biotechnology, allows American farmers today to be the most efficient farmers in the world," Wooten said.

Wooten said farmers in the state should continue to work together to ensure the stability of the state's food supply.

"We must never become dependent on others to supply our food as we depend on others to supply our oil," he said.

Wooten honored the relationship between farm and city in Wayne County. "Our strength as a people and as a community lies in our diversity," he said. "Neither can exist by itself. We are totally dependent on each other."

The banquet was sponsored by North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Wayne County Chamber of Commerce and the Wayne County Farm Bureau Federation.