A big congratulations to David Congdon on being named The High Point Enterprise 2020 Citizen of the Year. Thank you, David, for following in footsteps of your wonderful parents, Kitty and Earl, 2015 Citizens of the Year, and creating new footsteps for other generations to follow.
Once again, I must thank David’s father, Earl, for moving the headquarters of Old Dominion Freight Line to High Point in 1962. If that did not happen, the Congdon family would not even be in High Point. I don’t even want to think about that. The Congdon family has touched each of our lives in some way through their generous philanthropy, whether it be the Community Life Center at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Congdon Heart and Vascular Center, Congdon School of Health Sciences at High Point University, United Way of Greater High Point, Salvation Army, Westchester Country Day School, Junior League of High Point, and the list goes on. David has continued his parents’ optimistic belief in High Point with a clear vision in transformation through the innovative Congdon Yards.
Steve Forbes, editor in chief of Forbes Media, has often praised the Congdon family for their excellence, being an exceptional employer, and their vision. He has said, “For Old Dominion, this culture (of service) grew within an atmosphere of family spirit and family values shared by the Congdon family, and ultimately throughout the entire organization.”
And it all began with just one truck! If you think David started working at Old Dominion at the top, you would be wrong. He started working at age 14 on the dock. He was trying to earn money to travel to Japan with the Boy Scouts. He earned $1.65 an hour. He recalls, “My original application shows that I was 5 feet 6 inches and 112 pounds, so a hand truck weighed probably as much as I did.” He did earn enough to make the trip.
Then in 1978 after graduating from UNC-Wilmington he worked full-time as a truck driver. He learned the trucking business inside and out until he eventually took the reins as president in 1997. He came into that role with a vision. Current CEO and President Greg Gantt recalled, “David is a visionary. He wanted things to be bigger and better. … Somewhere in all the strategy, and the changes in the market, David was determined to put service at the forefront. And that’s what we did.”
Now it is Congdon Yards. What’s next, David? I can’t wait for your next vision. Congratulations to the 2020 Citizen of the Year, David Congdon.
I need to congratulate another David, David Hayworth, 2007 Citizen of the Year. He was named the 2020 Philanthropist of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals. David Hayworth’s name has long been associated with philanthropy in High Point. One of the first times I met him was at the 2002 Family Service of the Piedmont Annual Meeting, when he was given the “For Love of Family Award.” My friend Chris Greene made that presentation. She spoke about his early life and the huge influence that his mother made on him. Everyone who attended was deeply touched as was I.
Hayworth’s father died before he was born, and his mother took over control of the family business of Alma and Myrtle Desk Company. This was at a time when many women did not work outside of the home, much less run companies. His admiration of his mother has made an enormous influence on his life and his philanthropy. He commented about this award, “I have always been influenced and inspired by my mother, who taught me the importance of caring for others. I believe children are the most vulnerable members of our society, and I have tried to focus the lion’s share of my giving on providing opportunities that will help them reach their fullest potential. I am humbled and honored by this recognition and I hope it will encourage others to give and provide a level playing field of opportunities for all our young people.”
The presentation of this award, like others this year during the pandemic, was virtual. He was nominated for this award by Paul Lessard of the High Point Community Foundation and Jody Susong of Family Service of the Piedmont. They said of Hayworth in part that he “is one of those remarkable givers who sees what is possible and then is willing to partner with others to make good things happen.”
David has made both immediate and long-term impacts on the work of both Family Service of the Piedmont and the High Point Community Foundation. He has been one of Family Service’s strongest supporters in High Point for over 25 years. He was instrumental in establishing the endowment fund of the Family Service of High Point Foundation to fund local services for generations to come. He designated his endowment gift to the David R. Hayworth Fund for Children to help pay for services for children in need. He then served on the Investment Committee overseeing the endowment.
In 2002, David received the High Point Foundation’s “For Love of Family Award” recognizing his devotion to local philanthropy and his focus on providing services for children. Later that year, he was named patron of Family Services of the Piedmont’s Children’s Advocacy Center.
Hayworth has also received many other honors, including North Carolina’s highest honor, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, from former Gov. James B. Hunt, named a benefactor by the U.S. Department of State, and received the Treaty of Paris Society Founder Members Award. In addition, David underwrote three key projects that created momentum to spur over $1 billion worth of fundraising at High Point University. He was honored by both Duke University and UNC Chapel Hill for his lifelong commitment to cancer research.
As a business leader and philanthropist in High Point, David has invested his time and resources into shaping High Point into a stronger, richer community for all its citizens.”
Congratulations, David Hayworth!