Bill Myers, a well-known Wilson musician and music teacher, is pictured after receiving the Service to Mankind Award at the Sertoma Club of Wilson's annual banquet on Thursday. Elizabeth Johnson | Times
By Elizabeth Johnson
Musician and teacher Bill Myers planned to toast a Wilson community leader Thursday night, but he was surprised to learn he was the guest of honor.
Myers received the Sertoma Club of Wilson’s 52nd Service to Mankind Award during the club’s annual banquet. He called the revelation a complete shock.
“I received three telephone calls and a letter to be sure to be here tonight. I thought it unusual… but I had no idea this was about to happen,” he proclaimed as he stepped up to the microphone. “I am truly honored and humbled.”
“If I have done anything in the past that has made me worthy of this, I assure you I will continue,” Myers continued, applause filling the room.
Retired from a 30-plus-year career as a Wilson County Schools music teacher, Myers continues to spread his love of music through his community involvement and service. He is the director of music at St. John AME Zion Church, a member of the Music Educators National Conference and the International Association of Jazz Educators and has his own band, the Monitors, which has been active in Wilson County for the past 60 years.
In past years, Myers has served on the boards of the Wilson Arts Council and the Wilson Tourism Committee. He now serves as president of the Freeman Roundhouse Museum. Through these activities, Sertoma members said Myers enriches the life of Wilsonians and represents the ideals for which the club stands.
Past recipients of the award include Nancy Sallenger of the Wilson Crisis Center and Barry Page of the Wilson Arts Council.
In addition to this award for community participation, the Sertoma Club presents an annual award to recognize one of its own members. The 2016-17 Sertoman of the Year Award was given to Bruce Tingle, the club’s board of directors chairman.
The banquet also celebrated the top three finalists of the Heritage Essay Awards, a contest held in order to introduce the Sertoma mission and provide learning opportunities to the younger generation. The theme of this essay contest was “What Freedom Means to Me.”
Mesha Strickland of Elm City Middle School won first place, Alyssa Wagoner of Elm City Middle placed second and Charlie Fogleman of Toisnot Middle School placed third.
“When you plant a seed… when you share a positive outcome with someone, that’s going be passed forward,” Sertoma board member Steve Whitt said.
The Sertoma Club has been active since 1964, holding fundraisers and donating the proceeds to organizations throughout the community. The Sertoma fundraising events of 2016 and 2017 include a community golf tournament, a peanut sale and a spring raffle. In 2016, the club sponsored its 34th annual Sertoma Camp for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children.