September 12, 2012
Chamber selects Ralph Buxton as Outer Banks Citizen of the Year
Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce invites members and the community to
its annual meeting and awards dinner at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 11,
at the Ramada Plaza in Kill Devil Hills. PNC Bank is the
corporate sponsor of this event.
The annual meeting coincides with the leadership change at the chamber
and honors the retiring members of the board of directors, chamber
ambassadors, and the 2012 Outer Banks Citizen of the Year. The
event also celebrates the exchange of the gavel between chamber board
chairs, and this year, the chamber welcomes a new Chamber President and
Cost to attend the dinner $25 per person, which includes buffet and non-alcoholic beverage. A cash bar will be available.
The 2012 Outer Banks Citizen of the Year is Ralph Buxton.
Born in Stuttgart, Germany, Ralph Buxton first experienced the Outer
Banks in 1972 on a weekend visit. The sight of Jockey’s Ridge
caused him to pull over to the side of the road and climb to the top
for an exhilarating panoramic view.
A year later he returned with friend John Harris to try a very new
sport -- hang gliding -- on Jockey’s Ridge. The experience of
hang gliding within view of the Wright Brothers National Memorial, the
birthplace of flight, combined with the unspoiled beauty of the Outer
Banks, became a turning point in his life.
In 1977, Ralph moved to the Outer Banks to immerse himself in a
fledgling Kitty Hawk Kites business and an undeveloped Outer Banks with
lots of sport opportunities.
Giving back to the community has always been a mission for
Buxton. He has served a total of 10 years on the Chamber of
Commerce board of directors including a term as president in
1981. Also, he has served the Manteo Rotary Club – president,
1991; Outer Banks Community Foundation – president, 1992; Outer Banks
YMCA – founding chairman, 1998; and Dare County Tourism Board –
He has also participated on numerous community and government
committees, including Outer Banks Seafood Festival, Dare County
Comprehensive Transportation Plan, Outer Banks Transportation
Taskforce, Outer Banks Pathways, Nags Head Woods, Town of Nags Head
Recreation Committee, and Albemarle Pamlico Estuarine Study.
Buxton is married to the former Donna Marie Shumate, and they have
three grown children: Charles, Elizabeth, and Samuel. Ralph
and Donna are members of Kitty Hawk United Methodist
Since the chamber’s fiscal year is Oct. 1 – Sept. 30, the annual
meeting also reflects the leadership change of the board of directors.
Retiring board members are recognized and new ones announced.
Board officers are introduced and the leadership gavel exchanged.
Robin Mann of Mann Custom Boats in Manns Harbor has served almost two
terms as Chair of the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce Board of
Directors, completing the term of Chair Van Smith, who relocated in
Under her leadership, the chamber has focused on its value to
membership by completely renovating its website, initiated the Outer
Banks Seafood Festival, worked through issues related to Hurricane
Irene and taken positions on a number of area issues, including the
Oregon Inlet and Mid-Currituck County bridges, state budget items,
fishing issues, and beach access.
She has also worked through committees to expand the marketing of the
chamber, increased its presence on social media sites, and improved
partnerships with other area business organizations. A new
Hatteras/Ocracoke Island Council is working to more effectively address
the concerns of businesses in the southern areas of Dare County.
“The Chamber is blessed with many good leaders who volunteer so much of
their time for the betterment of the Outer Banks business
community. This occasion is our opportunity to publically
acknowledge their contributions and thank them for their
leadership. At this event we will celebrate our many past
accomplishments and then look forward to a bright future both for our
community and the Chamber,” said Mann. “We will review the
highlights of our programming and services, thank our many volunteers
and sponsors for their involvement, and then focus on future goals and
how we will reach them.”
The Outer Banks Chamber annual meeting and awards dinner is open to the
public with reservations requested. $25 includes a buffet dinner
of chicken Marsala, stuffed flounder, rice pilaf, pasta, salad,
vegetable, rolls, and non-alcoholic beverage. For more
information or to reserve your space, call (252)441-8144 or visit
“The Chamber is not one individual or business, but a collaborative
group of more than 1,000 business members,” said 2012-2013 Board Chair
Ali Breaux who will accept the gavel at the meeting. “We are the
voice of all types of business and our organization works best when we
share a vision and then work together to accomplish goals we set for
our community. I hope members will come out and celebrate this
very special night with us.”