NEWTON, N.C. (Aug. 30, 2016)– The Newton Appearance Commission recently named the winners of the 2016 Paint the Town Red, White and Blue contest.
The annual contest is organized by the Appearance Commission to encourage members of the community to show off their patriotic spirit and pride.
Sylvia Long was named winner of the contest in the residential category.
Patriotic decorations are everywhere you look at Young’s home on East 6th Street. There’s red, white and blue garland around the porch, bunting on the windows, and whirligigs and solar lights in the yard.
“I’m patriotic year round,” Young said, standing on her porch while wearing an American-themed outfit from head to toe, including a red, white and blue headband and American flag shoes.
“We have a lot of family members in the military, and we like to support them,” she said. Relatives of Young and her husband, Corey, serve in the Navy and the Marines.
Young started collecting patriotic decorations after she made a “Proud to be an American” jean jacket for young son during the Gulf War in the early 1990s. Since then, her collection has expanded, and her friends and neighbors are always on the lookout for decorations to give to her. Many of her decorations are handmade, including an Uncle Sam statue and an American flag bench that sits on her porch.
Abundant Life Florist & Gifts was named winner of the contest in the business category.
Abundant Life’s front windows were festooned with American flags and red, white and blue floral arrangements. The highlight of their windows was a display of uniforms, photographs and military gear provided by Jimmy C. Stephens of Hickory.
Stephens joined the National Guard in 1955, while he was a sophomore in high school. He remained in the National Guard until he was honorably discharged as a first lieutenant in 1966.
In the early 2000s, Stephens joined the North Carolina State Guard Association. The State Guard Association is an unarmed, all-volunteer service organization whose members are dedicated to assisting fellow citizens during emergency situations or natural disasters. Stephens rose to the rank of major general in the State Guard Association and served as the state commander of the organization.
“I want to give something back to our community,” Stephens said of his service in the State Guard Association. “You just do it because you should. I’ve never seen a group of volunteers so eager to do something and expect nothing in return.”
Cindy Whitener, owner of Abundant Life, said that when she learned of Stephens’ service, she was happy to be able to partner with him and decorate her shop windows with memorabilia from his collection.
Abundant Life is located at 29 East A St.
The Appearance Commission presented The Dapper Daisy with an award for honorable mention in the Paint the Town contest. The clothing, jewelry, and accessory store is located at 29 North College Ave.
“It’s a pleasure to see Newton come together in this patriotic contest,” said Collette Touchette, Appearance Commission chair. “I’d like to thank each of the residents and business owners who helped us paint Newton red, white and blue again this year.”