Pope, a retired Army colonel, died in October 2012. His interest in establishing the fair’s food concessions in 1978 stemmed from his interest in supporting speech and hearing services.
“Coincidental with his military retirement, the Sertoma Club of Kingsport was investigating a new fund-raiser in 1978 in a food concession at the Appalachian Fair,” said Carl Fritz, a Sertoman and former board chairman for Mountain Region Speech and Hearing Center. “Walt wanted to be a leader in establishing this food concession because he wanted to support speech and hearing services. He was inspired by the positive and dramatic impact the non-profit Mountain Region Speech and Hearing Center was having on people’s lives. The Sertoma Clubs of Kingsport and the Junior League had established the center in 1974.”
The food concession started with a trailer at the fairgrounds and has grown to include a covered eating area and tables.
“Walt supervised all construction as well as maintenance. He was in primary control of all equipment and tool purchases,” Fritz said. “He also established and maintained relations with a dozen suppliers. ... During fair week, Walt usually worked eight to 16 hours a day since the concession is open from breakfast until late night. With all the preparation and shut down for the event, Walt usually accumulated 300 hours of service each year operating the concession.
“Most importantly over those 31years, Walt led the acquisition of a quarter of a million dollars from the concession for community service through the Sertoma Club.”
Pope’s widow, Sue Pope, accepted the sign, saying her husband loved every second he worked at the fair. The 2013 Appalachian Fair is open Aug. 19-24.
Also during a recent meeting, the Sertoma Club of Kingsport presented a $5,000 check to Keltie Kerney, a Sertoman and executive director of Mountain Region Speech amd Hearing. The donation represents proceeds from 21st annual Mountain Region Speech and Hearing/Sertoma Club Golf Tournament held in May. Net proceeds from the event fund scholarships to provide speech, language and swallowing therapy to children who otherwise have insufficient insurance or financial means to obtain services.