Thomasville man receives state's highest civic honor
Hollis Blair was stunned speechless when he was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Nov. 7.
Thomasville City Councilman Joel Pierce presented the award in a surprise ceremony at the Thomasville Area Chamber of Commerce.
"I'm just a little overwhelmed and at a loss for words," Blair said. "I'm kind of a private person, and don't really like to toot my own horn."
Fortunately for Blair, there were plenty of others who were more than happy to do it for him. His family gathered to reflect on their relative's substantial contributions to the Chair City community. Blair's wife Jane, daughter Robin and son Brent were on hand with their families for the ceremony.
Hollis and Jane Blair have been integral members of the Thomasville community for many years as the owners of Elliott Florist and Greenhouses, a family business they began running in 1973. They sold the business in 1998, but remain dedicated to the betterment of Thomasville.
"Since I've been a councilman, I've always been able to count on Hollis to be there," Pierce said. "A lot of the things we take for granted, he has been involved in so many of them in Thomasville and Davidson County. Hollis is someone who does not seek recognition, but certainly deserves it."
Blair has served in several important roles since graduating from High Point College — now High Point University — in 1962. He was a member of the Thomasville chamber from 1977 to 1998, helped found the Davidson County Economic Development Commission and is currently an active member of the City Beautification Committee.
He was a part of the chamber's Civic Affairs Committee that helped to revive the Everybody's Day festival in 1984. Helping to save the state's oldest festival was but one of Hollis Blair's many lifetime achievements.
During the one year he spent as chairman of the Thomasville chamber in 1986, the Lexington and Thomasville chambers joined forces to form the Economic Development Commission (EDC). When he stepped into the familiar chamber office Thursday, he did not have the slightest idea why he was there.
"We've been planning this for three months and sneaking around behind his back with information," Jane Blair said. "We've just been real sneaky, because we were so afraid he'd find out."
While serving on the EDC board of directors, he was appointed to Davidson County Community College's Board of Trustees, a post he claims to be one of his proudest contributions.
Hollis Blair also served at Fair Grove United Methodist Church for more than 50 years.
"He deserves it," Robin Blair said. "He's worked hard from childhood."
Staff Writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 888-3575, or firstname.lastname@example.org.