David is the winner of Heritage Hero Award

Heritage Hero Award Statue

Heritage Hero Award Statue

David was honored to receive the first Heritage Hero Laurel Award on Wednesday,  November 13, 2014.


David Holt / Special to the Citizen-Times

Written by Dale Neal

ASHEVILLE — Renowned musician David Holt took home the first Heritage Hero Laurel Award on Wednesday at the 10th anniversary celebration of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area.

Holt, a four-time Grammy winner, TV host and longtime musical partner with the late Doc Watson, was honored as a culture ambassador promoting Western North Carolina’s homegrown folk music.

“It’s foolish to go into folk music for fame or fortune, you do it because of love,” said Holt, a Fairview resident.

Also receiving the new Laurel Awards for their longtime service to the Blue Ridge National Heritage area were:

Becky Anderson, founder of HandMade in America, and an early supporter of the nation’s first heritage area based on culture.

Betty Huskins, former vice president of AdvantageWest regional development group and owner of Linville Falls Lodge.

Leesa Brandon, of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, who helped set up heritage councils in each of the 25 counties and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ Qualla Boundary.

Rob Bell, program director for the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area.

More than 100 officials and supporters attended the annual meeting at Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Since its approval by Congress in 2003, the heritage area has awarded 111 grants totaling more than $1.8 million to help promote the region’s heritage in natural scenery, arts and crafts, music, agriculture and Cherokee culture.

With federal dollars matched by $3.5 million in other contributions, the partnership has leveraged some $5.1 million to preserve local heritage while generating more jobs.

The Laurel awards will be given annually to individuals and groups that help promote, protect and preserve mountain heritage.