October 6, 2008

Midgett brothers named Outer Banks Citizens of the Year

Anderson and Stockton Midgett have been named the 2008 Outer Banks Citizens of the Year by the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce and RBC Bank.  The announcement was made at the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting and awards dinner held Wednesday, Oct. 1, at Penguin Isle Restaurant in Nags Head.

The Midgett brothers were founding members of what is now known as the Outer Banks Association of Realtors and Stockton, the younger brother by four years, is the only 40-year active realtor in Dare County. The brothers have done many, many things to help Hatteras. They helped in creating the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, as well as beginning the first Hatteras to Manteo Bus line in 1938. They are supporters of the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras village and have sold a property, giving proceeds to the museum. A gallery at the museum is named in their honor.

Hatteras Island Historian Danny Couch told stories of the Midgett brothers during the event.  He talked about the brothers’ ability to recognize opportunities and the value of tourism long before there were paved roads and bridges on Hatteras Island.

“These two had a can-do attitude that would not allow them to quit.  They understand the value of treating their customers right and creating an experience,” said Couch.

In July, 1938,  17-year-old Anderson and 13-year-old Stocky began the Manteo-Hatteras Bus Line with their brother Harold. 

“These industrious teenagers ferried passengers, packages, laundry and just about anything you can think of up and down the vast expanse of sand banks we call Hatteras Island,” said Couch.  “They were as dependable as the rising and falling of the tide, for 35 years.  During this stretch, they provided an outstanding quality of life experience here on the Outer Banks and were among our first modern-day tourism ambassadors.”

One of the stories told was about how a late season hurricane stranded the bus at Little Kinnakeet.  Not wanting to lose another bus in saturated sand, Anderson led the passengers on foot to the Little Kinnakeet Coast Guard Station, where they all spent the night.  Anderson, ever the gentleman, made them a pineapple upside down cake for dessert, and as the winds howled outside at hurricane force, one of them said it was the best cake they ever had. 

“They recognized the importance of genuine hospitality and have spent their lifetime looking for the hot buttons…the sizzle that would create a memorable experience for their guests,” Couch said.  From fishing to surfing, events such as the Pirates' Jamboree, opportunities to share stories and history, they were some of the first and most effective marketing tools the Outer Banks has ever had.”

In the late 1950s, the Midgett Brothers started one of the oldest real estate companies still operating on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.  Stocky and Anderson were pioneers in selling the sizzle.  They knew that the history, heritage, and natural beauty were the key in developing the Outer Banks into the world-class resort that it is today.

Stocky Midgett was recently also honored by the Outer Banks Association of Realtors as the only active 40-year Realtor on the Outer Banks.  He was the first person in Dare County to sit for the North Carolina real estate exam.  He and Anderson were charter members of the original  group that formed the forerunner of the association, which was then called the Dare County Board of Real Estate Brokers. 

The Midgett Brothers have also been involved in the Outer Banks Masonic Lodges or Shriners, the consolidation of Dare County Schools, The Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the Oregon Inlet Bridge, The Pirates Jamboree, the Dare County Tourism Board, which is now known as the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau, the Nags Head Surf Fishing Tournament, the Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative, the Hatteras Marlin Club, the Cape Hatteras Anglers Club Tournament, volunteer fire departments on Hatteras Island, the Hatteras Island Medical Center, and the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum.

Other Awards presented during the evening:
A plaque was presented to Lanny Dail in memory of her husband Joe Dail, who died from cancer last year.  Dail was one of the volunteer founders of the Embarq on the Greens Golf Tournament in 2006.  Also, in his memory, a gift of $1,000 will be given to The Outer Banks Hospital's Cancer Resource Center.

Due to the tight local economy, retiring board of directors and officers who usually receive plaques for their service chose to instead allow the chamber to make a small contribution to their favorite charity in their honor.

“This is a perfect example of the chamber recognizing the state of the community and giving back,” said Chamber Chair Jeff Malarney.  “We recognize that not only are our businesses suffering right now but so are our non-profits.  The year’s economy has taken its toll on the entire community.”

•    Bruce Austin – past chair and retiring director.  His donation went to the OBX Relief Foundation

•    Dee McManus – Reverse Raffle Chair and retiring director.  Her donation went to Wright Flight.

•    Ralph Buxton – Retiring director.  His donation went to the OBX Relief Foundation.

•    Philip Foreman – Retiring director.  His donation went to the Dare Education Foundation.

•    Kathleen Wasniewski – Retiring director.  Her donation will go to the Imagination Library.

•    Margaret Wells – Embarq on the Greens Golf Tournament Chair and retiring  director.  Her donation went to the Outer Banks Hospital’s Cancer Resource Center.

•    Jim Gilreath – Incoming Chair.  His donation went to Food For Thought.

•    Kurt Canning – Treasurer.  His donation went to Outer Banks Hotline.

•    Paul Tine –  Economic Affairs Chair.  His donation went to the Create the Future Project.

•    Van Smith – Legislative Affairs Chair.  His donation went to the Community Care Clinic.

Penny Bentley of OBX Bank was named the 2008 Individual Ambassador of the Year.   During the year, Bentley sold new memberships for the chamber, collected donations for the Chamber auction, attended ribbon cuttings, and welcomed new members and volunteers to work most events sponsored by the organization.

Gateway Bank & Trust was named the Team Ambassador of the Year.  Gateway team members: Hillary Andrews, Gail Hodges, Sharon Stevens, Jamie LaView, and Neil Songer were recognized.

To conclude the evening, outgoing chair Jeff Malarney was presented a plaque by incoming board chair Jim Gilreath. 

The Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit business membership organization with more than 1,124 members in Dare, Currituck, and Hyde counties.  Services of the chamber include the annual publishing of the Outer Banks Living Magazine, detailed street maps, business training, networking and promotional opportunities. The Chamber also operates the welcome center in Kill Devil Hills, featuring brochures from area businesses and free SCORE business counseling from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Tuesdays.  The chamber also takes an active role in legislative and community issues.   One of the chamber’s most recent accomplishments is the adoption of a Hatteras/Ocracoke Business Council, which will focus on the business needs of the islands. 

For more information about the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce and services, visit www.outerbankschamber.com, stop by the office on Colington Road in Kill Devil Hills or call (252) 441-8144.


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