Long-time volunteer honored with pavilion dedication before Saturday’s Party in the Park
BY DEBBIE PAGE
Troutman town officials, staff, and community members first paused during Saturday’s Party in the Park at Troutman’s ESC Park,to honor long-time volunteer John Larew, who passed away unexpectedly this past spring.
The Town Council voted at its regular meeting on the day of his passing, April 12, to honor Larew by naming the ESC Park pavilion as the “John Jacob Larew, Jr. Pavilion.” The plaque, located next to the concession area, honors Larew’s “contributions to the Town of Troutman. His dedication to the Town, and especially Troutman ESC Park, will forever be appreciate and remembered.”
Larew’s widow Janice and son Brantley were on hand to attend the ceremony. Mayor Teross Young thanked them “for allowing John to serve our town. I know what the sacrifice is for a family as people endeavor in public service, and we really appreciate everything that he did for us as part of our Troutman family.”
Larew, who served as chairman of the Parks and Recreation Committee, was a well-known figure in town, riding along the streets in his golf cart and picking up litter, giving rides and volunteering for park projects and events. He also served as the town’s photographer and enjoyed storm chasing to capture fabulous photos of mother nature at her fiercest.
Mayor Young talked about his varied career and “his real love for public service.” Young also noted Larew’s work with Iredell County ECOM and serving as chair of the Troutman Fire and Rescue.
“Retirement didn’t stop John though. He served as chairman of the board for Troutman Fire, volunteered locally with H.E.L.P. Ministries, and even started working with Second Harvest Food Bank in Hickory.” He was also a member of Holy Trinity Lutheran, singing in the choir and playing hand bells.
Each year he was Santa’s helper at the annual Rotary Club pancake breakfast prior to the Christmas parade. He volunteered in the schools and arranged share nights at the local Wendy’s and Bojangles to benefit ESC Park.
“John will be missed, but the town hopes to commemorate him and his work with the modest plaque naming this building the ‘John Jacob Larew, Jr. Pavilion,’” said Young. “John helped bring this pavilion to life for our town, and the community enjoys it as a real asset.”
Young also noted that the Troutman Rotary Club also installed a tree and a small plaque on the southwest corner of the park’s playground in remembrance of Larew. The club selected a “Thundercloud” tree as a fitting tribute to Larew’s interest in storm chasing.
As the ceremony concluded, the mayor invited everyone to enjoy the glorious sunshine and afternoon’s entertainment. “John’s spirit is here and he would appreciate that.”
“We are just grateful for the Town Council and the Parks and Rec for this,” said Brantley Larew. “Dad always enjoyed working with the town and everybody in it. We’re just really happy to have this plaque in honor of him and hope there’s a lot of fellowship and new friendships joined at this new pavilion.”