Murfreesboro chamber honors four

Published 8:23 am Friday, March 13, 2009

MURFREESBORO, N.C.—More than 130 people attending the Murfreesboro Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet Tuesday evening at John’s Seafood & Steaks saw four people honored and heard Gates County native Beth Polson speak of her experiences in movie and television production, and of her love for North Carolina.

Honored were former chamber executive director Jennifer Moore, Chowan University President Dr. Chris White, Murfreesboro Baptist Church pastor Rev. Lee Canipe and Earl Telliga of Murfreesboro radio station WDLZ, who also presented one of the awards.

Presenting the Chamber of Commerce Award to Moore, Debbie Edwards said, “Although Jennifer retired from the chamber, we know that she will not retire from the community work that she does. She is still involved and she always will be. You will always see her quietly working all over the community, just as she did before.”

The Sammy Doughtie Community Service Award, given annually by WDLZ, went to Lee Canipe.

“I’m paid to talk and I’m really speechless,” Canipe said after accepting the award. “Thank you. Wow. This is quite an honor.”

David Sullens, publisher of the Roanoke-Chowan News Herald, presented White with the Front Page Award sponsored annually by the newspaper.

“He is — as all here would quickly attest — a man of great community mindedness and involvement,” Sullens said. “He is a man who has left his mark on education — Christian education — in ways that few have.”

Ray Felton, who owns Metal Tech in Murfreesboro and who was the evening’s master of ceremonies, announced the creation of a new award, saying, “We’ve got a man who has served this town and this area as faithfully as a man can do. So we’re giving the Heart of Gold Award this year, because that describes this man’s service … Please share my pride in recognizing Earl Teliga and his heart of gold for all he does for Mufreesboro and the entire Roanoke-Chowan area.”

Polson, the night’s keynote speaker, told the group that show business does not differ from “what you do.”

“You want to know what a producer does? A producer does anything that nobody else is willing to do. One of my favorite examples is trying to talk Farah Fawcett out of a PortaPotty for two hours when it’s 102 degrees and we’re trying to finish a shoot. Now you’re wondering what she was doing in the PortaPotty and we all were, too. Now, that was not too glamorous for me. But if you wonder what a producer does, it’s anything that nobody else is willing to do, including encouraging people out of the PortaPotty.

“When I first went to work for Barbara Walters,” Polson said, “one of the first interviews we did was with Walter Cronkite on his impending retirement from CBS. When we go in, we set up a four-camera shoot and you think it’s a simple little interview, but they take about four or five hours to set up lights and do everything we need to do. So we’re at Walter Cronkite’s house and it’s kind of like Mary Tyler Moore. It’s a pretty big icon if you’re a journalist, to be interviewing Walter Cronkite. So we’re all set to go and I go get in the truck, put on the headphones and look at the monitor. Barbara’s about to open her mouth to ask her first question and I see this large, white, hairy leg right in front of the camera and I go running back into the house and say, “Mr. Cronkite, would you mind terribly if I pulled up your socks?”

After that interview was over, she said, she noticed that the crew had not done a good job of cleaning up after themselves, so she got a broom and was sweeping the floor when Cronkite walked in. She recalled him saying, “You really do do everything, don’t you?”

She said that brought to mind her motto: “Never ask anyone to do anything you wouldn’t do yourself.”

“What your employees see in you,” she elaborated, “the work ethic, the honesty, the integrity, is what they will expect from themselves.”

“Whatever success I’ve had,” she told her audience in closing, “North Carolina is a large part of that. I’ve stood on the shoulders of many of you in this room to build whatever I’ve been lucky enough to build. It’s because there’s a front porch swing in Corapeake that has my name on it and as long as that swing is there and as long as I have family and friends to depend on … I’m happy with my North Carolina baggage.”