Art Blevins says goodbye after nearly 40 years

Art Blevins will retire after nearly 40 years work-ing with the Winston-Salem Recreation and Parks Department.

Art Blevins says goodbye after nearly 40 years
May 11
05:25 2017

Photo by Patrick Johnson



The Hanes Hosiery Recreation Center will never be the same. On May 31 Hanes Hosiery Recreation Center supervisor and “Hang the Net” creator, the beloved and legendary Art Blevins will retire after nearly 40 years of dedicated service with the Winston-Salem Recreation and Parks Department.

Blevins began his career working at Forest Park Summer Playground in 1978.  He then moved to the Skyland Recreation Center from 1979-82, Rupert Bell Park (1983-84), South Fork (1985-92) and then Hanes Hosiery (1992-present).  He was able to build strong programs in each community and drew kids to his programs by the hundreds.

Blevins athletic teams at the centers over the years were legendary on city-wide, state and national levels winning Seven North Carolina Parks and Recreation State championships in basketball tournaments. He also created the “Hang the Net” contest, which became the city’s biggest and most popular special event every sum-mer.  Blevins retired the event two years ago after a successful 25 year run.

Over the years Blevins has received many awards for his work with the kids and the community such as being inducted into two separate hall of fames.  In 2012, he was inducted into the Winston-Salem Forsyth County High School Sports Hall of Fame and in 2016 he was a unanimous pick for Parkland High School First Sports Hall of Fame.

Blevins says he is stepping away because he wants to help his mother and spend more time with his family.  He says he will miss all of the people he has worked with but will miss working with the kids most of all.

“This is the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life,” he said.  “I prayed on it and even went to human resources twice and turned around.  I have been doing this since I was 19 years old and I’ll be 60 next year so I just want to spend more time with my family but this was still a very hard decision.  For 40 years this has been my life and I love it.  I will be lost the first couple of weeks but I will just try and stay busy to take my mind off of it.”

According to Blevins’ co-workers and friends, all of the awards and recognition he has received is definitely well deserved.  But it’s the love and care for the kids and the community that makes Blevins the special man he is.  He has purchased shoes for children, given away turkeys during Thanksgiving and even used his city longevity bonus check to provide Christmas gifts for several families for many years.

“I am blessed and I am definitely fortunate to have people around who care,” Blevins continued.  “I always try to live by the Golden Rule of treat people how you want to be treated.  If everyone lived by that, it would be a better world.  For people to say those great things about me means a whole lot.”

Blevins says that many of the kids who have come through the recreation center over the years come from a one-parent household and his major motivation over the years is to create a positive influence in their lives.  He thought giving them a positive male influence to look up to would greatly impact their lives.

Blevins plans after retirement include spend-ing more time with his family, saving up some money and taking his family to New York and maybe volunteering somewhere and buy a John Deere lawn mower and doing yard work around the house.  He thinks it will take a few weeks to get adjusted to life without the recreation center but says he will keep himself busy in order to do so.

“I have been praying to the good Lord that I would be OK,” Blevins went on to say.  “It is going to just be so different because this is what I am used to.  There have been a lot of great times and I’ll be back up here in a couple of weeks to check on the place.”

Blevins’ co-workers and friends, Jeremiah Hawks and Patrice Johnson, say he will be missed greatly.  Many parents hope the city will eventually rename the Hanes Hosiery Center to honor Blevins or at least name the gym Art Blevins Gymnasium or the Coach Art Court.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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