William Gaston Awards 2012

The 2012 recipients include:

Mr. Walter Michael Dickson

Michael has been involved in our community and county through various organizations. His family has a long and rich history of public service as his father Walter "Dub" Dickson served many years in the North Carolina General Assembly. Now, Michael's family is impacting communities all across our great country. His wife, Martha, is an education professional, impacting the lives of future citizens every day. His son and four daughters have either finished or currently attending college, or seeking higher levels of education and are giving back to their communities.

Michael is a member of the Myers Memorial Methodist Church where he is a Sunday School Teacher, Choir Member, Staff Parish Committee Member, Past President of Myers Memorial Methodist men, and was selected as Man of the Year - Methodist Men 2008.

For more than twelve years, Michael has been a member of the Gaston County Equalization and Review Board. His initial service began on March 26, 1998, where he remained for more than 11 years before taking a break in service; he returned to the E&R Board on January 1, 2012, where he remains working today with county citizens to insure equity in tax appeals and to hear appeals of value as related to classified motor vehicles. He has attended many hours of required volunteer training in order to be able to make informed and fair decisions.

Michael has served or is serving on the following boards or committees:

  • Member of Gastonia East Rotary Club
  • Member Gaston Chamber of Commerce
  • Member of The Mended Hearts, Inc.
  • Member of Board of Directors, Gaston Association of Realtors
  • Board Member, Gaston Skills
  • North Carolina High School Swim Official
  • Assistant Swim Team Coach Ashbrook High School
  • Scout Master, Boy Scouts of America Troop 11
  • President Gardner Acres Swim Club
  • Deacon and Elder Presbyterian Church
  • Alternate Board Member for Gastonia Board of Adjustments

He's also been involved in community service by running for Mayor of Gastonia.

You are to be commended for your strong family values, for instilling in your children the meaning of giving back to your community, and for the impact your family will make for many years to come in any community they live in.

Tim Gause

Tim Gause has been helping to shape our community for many years. Through his consistent openness, his selfless service, he has the ability to bring groups together, gather feedback and determine direction. He consistently works to develop the best plan to move our county forward. As a manager with Duke Energy for the Charlotte region, Tim constantly works to provide Gaston County with a solid corporate partner that positively impacts our community. He can always be counted on to focus on the subject and work quietly, and he doesn't need the spotlight to make good things happen for our county.

Tim has given many volunteer hours to the Gaston Regional Chamber. He brought with him an impressive background in economic development, government policy, and education advocacy. In 2006, prior to joining the Chamber, Tim was recognized as the South Carolina Economic Ambassador of the Year.

He has been on the Board of Directors of the Gaston Regional Chamber since 2007. He served as Chair of the Public Policy Committee from 2008 to 2011 and while in that position, was very instrumental in leading the Chamber's position in advocating for the Garden Parkway, which has been a consistent item on the Chamber's legislative agenda. He has been on the Executive Committee since 2008 and is currently serving as Chairman to the Board.

Tim has served on the Gaston County SARA Local Planning Committee since August 2006. Among his long list of organizational membership, he has also served or is currently serving on the following boards or committees:

  • Winthrop University Business School Board of Advisors
  • Charlotte-Douglas Airport Advisory Committee
  • Charlotte Chamber Board of Directors
  • Regional Air Quality Board - Charlotte
  • Charlotte Regional Partnership Board
  • Centralina Council of Government, Community and Economic Development Board
  • Chairman - Stokes County American Red Cross four years
  • Past President - Stokes County Rotary Club
  • Past Chairman - Stokes County United Way Campaign
  • Past President - Marion North Carolina Kiwanis Club
  • Past Chairman - Rockingham County United Way Steering Team

During our lifetime, we meet many types of people; some are followers and some are leaders. Tim Gause is a proven leader and Gaston County is proud to have him in our community. The Gaston County Board of Commissioners wishes to extend our sincere thanks and to commend him for his devotion to our community and for all he does to impact the lives of the 207,000 citizens of Gaston County.

Mr. John T. James

To many in our community, John James is known as a gentle giant. He is deeply involved in helping those less fortunate or those who need someone to support and help them get started again in life.

In 1963, John came to Gaston County to pursue his passion for working with the youth by taking on the position of Executive Director of the Gaston Boy's Club, and held that position for 10 years. He continued that passion to motivate and lead when he became an Administrator in the Continuing Education Department at Gaston College, and later served as counselor.

As a graduate of South Carolina State College in Orangeburg, South Carolina, John also holds a Master's Degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and his post-graduate work on his Doctorate degree at Nova University and New York University.

John has served on the Council on Aging/Home and Community Care Block Grant Advisory Committee for the last ten years and has served on the Work First Block Grant Plan Committee for nearly two years. He served as a member of the Gaston County Social Services Board from 2006 to 2012 where he has also served on the DSS Adoption Committee. As the former Chairman of the Gaston County Social Services Board, he has provided consistent leadership and stability to one of the most critical links impacting the lives of many Gaston County citizens. His polite and respectful way of leading is a trait learned from his family and his years of military service to our country.

As a retired United States Army Lieutenant, John helps our Veterans through the North American Black Veterans Association which assists many of our nation's heroes. When our local Veterans Office closed, he worked with many local groups in conducting meetings and helped to develop a plan to reopen the office and address additional opportunities identified during those meetings. The Veterans Office has reopened; repairs were made to the building and grounds along with much-needed upgrades to the offices. We can all be proud of the results John James and many other people achieved by working together to help our Veterans.

In addition to his long list of organizational membership, John is the Past District Governor of the Gastonia Evening Lions Club. He was recently presented with his 10-year membership at Chevron at the August 28, 2012, Club meeting. John has also served on the Governor's Committee on Sickle Cell Anemia, is a past member of the Civitan Club, the Past President of Gaston Skills Board of Directors, and many, many more.

Through his efforts and his passion to serve and help others, he has made a very positive impact on all of us and is always there to remind us that there are those among us who are less fortunate and we have an obligation to help make a difference whenever and wherever we can.

The Gaston County Board of Commissioners wishes to extend its sincere thanks and to commend John James for his dedication to our community and for all he does to impact the lives of the 207,000 citizens of Gaston County.

Mr. Josh Taylor

Josh Taylor is a Geography and Town Planning graduate of Appalachian State University. He is a software engineer for Wells Fargo Bank by day, but much of his leisure time is spent in his second home, the woods of Gaston County. Most weekends, you can find Josh leading a group of volunteers building mountain bike trails in Gaston County Parks and Recreation's George Poston Park.

Josh is the Chairman of the Gaston County Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and has volunteered with Parks and Recreation since 2005, serving as trail coordinator for the George Poston Park mountain bike and hiking trails. Josh, along with the local mountain biking group, the Piedmont Area Singletrack Alliance, began work on the trails in late 2005 and the first 3-mile mountain bike trail opened to rave reviews in 2007. Many people drive from several hours away just to use the biking trails. Volunteers, under the direction of Josh Taylor, continue trail construction and maintenance, and today there are more than 10 miles of trail in George Poston Park. Future trail projects include a lake trail loop and a kid's bike trail to be constructed in the fall of 2012. The Poston Mountain Bike Trail is expected to be completed by 2014, with a final length of about 15 to 18 miles.

In recognition of his active work in Gaston County parks, Josh Taylor was appointed to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board in 2006. He was elected as Vice Chairman in 2007, and Chairman in 2008. He has also been a member of NCRPA (the North Carolina Recreation and Park Association) since 2006. During his tenure and leadership on the Advisory Board, Gaston County Parks and Recreation has accomplished the following:

  • Adoption of the first Parks and Recreation Master Plan by Gaston County Board of Commissioners in 2007
  • Award of Gaston County Parks and Recreation's first PARTF Grant in 2008
  • Opening of Gaston County's first dog park at Poston Park in 2009
  • Acquisition of 5 acres of land for development of new park in 2010
  • Opening of Gaston County's first riverfront park - South Fork River Park in 2011

Josh serves on the steering committee of the Carolina Thread Trail. He led the construction and continues to lead volunteer efforts to maintain trails along the South Fork River Corridor. In 2010, Josh and other volunteers from Piedmont Area Singletrack Alliance assisted in building a 2.5-mile section of the Carolina Thread Trail along the South Fork River. And, this fall, Josh was selected by the Carolina Thread Trail as a local volunteer to receive construction training and a Trail Master Certification.

Josh was instrumental in the development of Gaston County Parks and Recreation's first Stanley Creek Massacre 5K/10K race in 2009; Josh designed the route, provided course management and recruited volunteers and sponsors. In 2010, under his continued leadership, race participation more than doubled, and this October's race had almost 100 runners and continues to grow in popularity.

Josh's dedicated service to Gaston County Parks and Recreation has earned him much deserved recognition:

In 2008, Josh was recognized by the Gaston County Police as Volunteer of the Year for assistance with the Bike Unit.

In 2012, he was awarded the annual Rayburn "RIP" Jackson Award from the North Carolina Recreation and Park Association presented to one Citizen Board Member for outstanding contributions, leadership and dedication to parks and recreation.

And in September 2012, Josh was commended by the Gaston County Board of Commissioners for his community recreation efforts.

Future trail building plans for Josh and the Piedmont Area Singletrack Alliance include working with the Town of Kings Mountain and Kings Mountain Gateway Trails and a mountain bike trail with Belmont Parks and Recreation.