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HILLSVILLE — Hillsville Town Council member David Young named Nelson Rufus Crowder as May’s Citizen of the Month at council’s May 12 meeting.
“My citizen of the month has a huge heart, and shows kindness to everyone he meets. He does not have years of teaching, has not been in politics and does not have a college education. But he has been one of the most valuable volunteers in our community with service that spans [more than] six decades,” Young said of his choice.
A member of council names a citizen of the month on a rotating basis.
Crowder spent many years as a Hillsville volunteer firefighter, and a member of the search and rescue squad.
“He not only fought fires, but he kept the trucks running and the pumps pumping,” Young said. “He was the type of fireman, just like other firefighters, who would put himself in harm’s way to help save someone else. Fellow firemen talk about his camaraderie, his loyalty and his friendship.”
Crowder joined the Hillsville Masonic Lodge #193 in 1990, where he earned degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason.
He has also been a Moose Lodge member and a Shriner for many years. “One of his greatest accomplishments, which he still does today, is transporting children in need to children’s hospitals from Cincinnati, Ohio, to Greenville, S.C.,” Young said.
This year, he is the assistant director of the Shriners and received the Hillbilly Award of the year for his contributions.
Crowder and Dwayne Hiatt owned an operated their own paving business in the community for more than 20 years. During his career, Crowder built a garage stocked with every kind of tool imaginable.
“[The garage] has been open to all of his friends, with no prior permission required — because that’s the type of person he is,” Young said. During the winter, Crowder throws on his boots and goes out into the community, shoveling snow for people in need.
He also repairs and transports the 1929 and 1930 cars that are in the town parades. “This is major, because the cars may be needed anywhere in the U.S.,” said Young.
Young presented Crowder with a framed photo, and framed certificate naming him citizen of the month.
“This man is truly a hero who has been hidden in the background for decades. It is time we let him and those volunteers like him know that we appreciate them and that we applaud their families for letting them give us such a gift of love and dedication.”