The Transylvania Times -

Chapman, Phillips Bow Out As Commissioners - Brevard NC


December 6, 2018

Last Thursday’s Transylvania County Board of Commissioners’ meeting was the last for Larry Chapman and Kelvin Phillips.

Each received a plaque and a resolution honoring their time as commissioners. Chapman served eight years on the board and Phillips served 12 years over two different terms and four years on the Board of Education.

Will Cathey and David Guice are replacing them on the board. Commissioner Jason Chappell, talking about Phillips, said they were occasionally on different sides of issues.

Chappell said he would go back and study the issue some more to see if he missed something.

“That’s how much faith I have in you,” Chappell said. “It’s been my honor serving with you, and the citizens of Transylvania County are better off.”

Commissioner Mike Hawkins agreed with Chappell and talked about Phillips’ recent bout with health issues and the “class” and “grace” that he showed during that time.

Commissioner Page Lemel said she “appreciated” the time she got to serve with Phillips on the board and offered him “great peace and happiness.”

Chapman joked that his and Phillips’ horses were ready for them to “ride off into the sunset.”

Chapman said he believed both of them are leaving the board “in good hands.”

Phillips said his wife asked him if he would miss being on the board, and Phillips replied that he thought “it was time.”

Phillips, as a high school and college student, said he never thought about running for elected office.

“I don’t know how I got here,” he said.

He also told his wife he would miss working with the current board and county staff. He thanked county residents for placing their trust in him.

It’s been a “blessing,” he said, noting sometimes it’s been an “easy road” and sometimes “it’s not been so easy.”

But no matter the board composition, he said, members always tried to support one another and do things for the “good of the county.”

“It’s been an honor and a privilege,” he said of his term on the board, while also thanking those who supported him while he received treatment for cancer.

“It does something for you when people ask how you are doing and are praying for you,” he said and closed by saying, “Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Hawkins said the same things that were said about Phillips could be said about Chapman. Hawkins said that in life, “you interact with people, and if you are paying attention, they teach you things.”

Chapman, he said, taught him two things: one was courage of convictions.

“You may agree with Larry and may not agree with Larry, but you never questioned where he stands or why he feels the way he does,” Hawkins said. “He taught me the importance of that — ‘believe what you believe’ and then explain it to people but don’t apologize for it.”

The other thing Chapman taught Hawkins, he said, is to be more of an extrovert.

“Larry has never met a stranger,” he said. “Every time I leave Larry after talking about something, I feel better than when I started talking with Larry. He has this ability to make you feel good.”

Hawkins said during the 2014 election Chapman was at the Dunn’s Rock polling station, greeting voters just before the polls closed and saying, “I need one more vote to put me over. Will you be the vote to put me over?”

“I just thought that was the most awesome thing,” Hawkins said. “It worked.”

Lemel said she found Chapman’s work ethic on behalf of the county as “inspirational.”

“Larry goes everywhere,” she said. “He attends so many meetings. I wonder sometimes if Jill (his wife) sees him very often, but it’s very impressive the amount of time he has invested in all areas of our community, listening to people, representing the Board of Commissioners at meetings.”

Chappell thanked Chapman for his service.

“What I admire most is that you have been an advocate for Transylvania County, no matter where you go,” Chappell said. “I promise you there has been a sales pitch for Transylvania County, whether across the state or across the country.”

Phillips said Chapman has been a “strong leader” and has “admired” the “exorbitant” amount of time Chapman had spent standing up for the county.

Chapman thanked the board and the county staff.

“You can be proud of this county,” he said to the audience. “And I am extremely proud for being able to serve the citizens of this county for the past eight years.”

He also thanked his wife and family for their support. He said he spent a lot of time trying to decide whether to run for the board again until someone put it in perspective.

The person told him that the reason he wasn’t running again was because he “couldn’t stand getting beat.”

The anecdote drew laughter from the board and the public.

In closing, Chapman wished Cathey and Guice well, and thanked the public, the board and staff.

“It’s been nothing but a pleasure, a challenge and a little frustrating at times,” he said. “Your county is in excellent shape and it’s because of people like down here (pointing to county staff) and the ones up here (pointing to fellow board members) and the staff who work tirelessly for the citizens of this county.”


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