Thursday, November 17, 2016

OPS Awards

A large crowd gathered at the Community Center Tuesday evening for Ocracoke Preservation Society's Fall Membership meeting. After enjoying delicious potluck dishes, a brief business meeting was held and two annual presentations were awarded. 

Members enjoying their meals

In one of the first orders of business President Toth acknowledged the outstanding work done by Amy Howard, OPS's Administrator. Amy will be leaving this position at the end of the year to begin managing the Village Craftsmen (more about this in a future post). 

Ruth & Amy

Will Purvis and Jamie McGaskill of Wilmington, NC, were presented with the 2016 Save an Old House Award for preserving and maintaining the Emma and Simon O'Neal house on Lighthouse Road. Built circa 1900, this house is a contributing structure in the Ocracoke Historic District. It is a typical “story and a jump” house with turned porch posts, original exterior corbelled chimney, and two-over-two sashes.

O'Neal House, 2009

The award recognized Purvis's and McGaskill's efforts to rehabilitate the house and save the architectural features that allowed it to be originally identified for placement in the Historic District. This project joins several others as a model for ongoing preservation efforts.  

O'Neal House, 2015


Next, President Ruth Toth presented the annual Cultural Heritage Award to island native Martin Garrish for his role in preserving Ocracoke's vibrant music tradition.

Ruth & Martin

Martin was born on the island in 1951 and has been a driving force in Ocracoke's music scene since he was a teenager. He is a master of many different genres including acoustic, electric, country, rock, folk, and jazz. I chatted with him during dinner, and he amazed me with the depth and breadth of his knowledge of music. He has been described as having an encyclopedic grasp of mid to late 20th century music, but Martin assured me his expertise doesn't go much beyond 1985! He pointed out that he was never much interested in fishing, hunting, or boats, but music fascinated him from the time he was four years old. 

Martin, congratulated by Tom Pahl

Martin has played with various local groups -- the Cousins, the Rockers, the Graveyard Band, and Martin & Friends. In presenting his award, John Golden called Martin the Doc Watson of the Outer Banks. Martin seldom leaves the island so he has not achieved national or even much regional fame, but those who hear him play on the island know he is one of music's greats. Be sure to look for Martin's gigs and CDs whenever you are on the island. 

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is about earthquakes that have affected Ocracoke and the Outer Banks. You can read the newsletter here:

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