W-S honors recreation legend

W-S honors recreation legend
April 26
09:24 2018

One can imagine the emotions Art Blevins was feeling as his name was memorialized on the wall of the gym at Hanes Hosiery Community Center. On Thursday, April 19, the gym at the center will now be known as Art Blevins Gym.

In a ceremony on Thursday afternoon, Blevins was surrounded by family, friends, old co-workers and former kids who came to the center to witness history. Special guest speakers and the Mo Lucas Foundation Drummers, whom he personally requested, added a special flare to the event.

Coach Art, as he is affectionately known, was emotional throughout the ceremony. The kind words coupled with being surrounded by people who love and admire him seemed to flood Blevins with memories of his days at the center.

“I was sitting there and I was about to cry really hard, but when the Mo Lucas drum team came in, it kind of lifted my spirits, but it was very emotional,” said Blevins. “I was really in awe by the kind words from everyone, and the love from the kids and old buddies meant a whole lot.”
“I appreciate everything and God has truly blessed me in so many ways,” he continued.
The idea for the renaming of the court started last year during the retirement ceremony for Blevins. Council Member Denise “DD” Adams along with Mayor Pro Tempore Vivian Burke proposed the idea, and less than a year later, their dream became a reality.

“Organizations should always let the people that give so much to them know how much they meant to us and that means he (Blevins) built this house,” said Adams. “I’ve always known Coach Art to be at this gym and there are thousands of kids that have come through this center under his tutelage so it’s only fitting that his name lives on here forever.”

“When you have somebody of his stature that has touched so many lives, this was not his job, it was his calling,” she continued. “I told him when he retired I wanted to name the gym after him and if they rebuild it 20 more times it will always be Art Blevins’ gym.”

Gary Lash, district recreation supervisor, added, “It was kind of a no-brainer because once it was proposed, everyone fell in line. I have been with Art 25 years from the old Hosiery to the new one, so you know I was behind it all the way.”

Ben Piggott, a recent retiree as senior supervisor of the Carl H. Russell Sr. Community Center, also attended to share this special occasion with Blevins. He says he was honored to be present during the ceremony of his friend.

“Art Blevins represents the regime of people being concerned about kids,” said Piggott. “All of the center supervisors back in the day were concerned about kids’ lives. We salute Art Blevins for all he has done, and this is well deserved.”

Following the ceremony almost everyone hung around to speak and give their congratulations to Blevins. The love and respect for Blevins was evident from everyone who attended.

“When someone is that close to you, it’s hard not to get emotional and I am getting choked up now,” Lash went on to say. “He just means that much to me because he is so genuine.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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