Life's journey of service, dedication remembered at trailhead dedication

Jun. 18, 2013 @ 05:24 PM

Nestled off the path of the Endor Iron Furnace Greenway, a memorial marks the contributions of a local man and the land that he loved. 

City leaders, community members and Sanford Rotarians gathered Tuesday for the dedication of the Donald Buie Memorial Trailhead, located near the intersection of Douglas Drive and Boone Circle.

The Rotary Club of Sanford spent five years preparing, fundraising and constructing the memorial — a wooden gazebo, paved parking lot and gravel walkway — in honor of Buie, a Rotarian and community member who died in 2007. Several Rotary Club leaders spoke, including Rotary President Alan Dossenbach, about Buie and his contributions to Lee County.

"We wanted to honor a fellow member and past president," Dossenbach said. "We understood and knew (Buie) was an outdoorsman, and we were trying to figure out how we could honor him."

After five years, the club was finally able to showcase its tribute to Buie and his love for nature, he said.

"He was a blessing to our family and an asset to this city," Dossenbach said. "We hope it adds years of enjoyment to the citizens of Lee County and Sanford."

Buie lived his life dedicated to God, his family and the community, said Rotary member Dr. Lynn Veach Sadler. He was devoted to the outdoors and worked to establish and participate in several hunting and wildlife organizations, she said. A former Central Carolina Community College Dean of Continuing Education, Buie was known as a natural leader who could calm any storm, she said.

"In life, he served the community; in death, he remains the model," Sadler said. "In the days to come, walk the Don Buie Trail and remember a generous, good man."

Thomas Dossenbach, chairman of the memorial committee, gave several plaques to contributing businesses who donated property or materials for the project. He also thanked the City of Sanford for its cooperation in the project.

"I am so proud of the employees of this city," he said. "This city is so blessed to have these employees, all the way to the top to all the way down. There were literally dozens of staff members who helped us work out ... the specifications of this project."

Sanford Mayor Cornelia Olive said the city will cherish the Rotary Club's gift for years to come.

"We are so pleased to get this and see another attribute for the greenway," Olive said. "The greenway started out with a lot of question marks and doubt, but it's proved to be one of the more popular marks for Sanford."

After Olive's remarks, members of the Buie family revealed the bronze dedication marker, which read "Don Buie was an enthusiastic Christian, Presbyterian Elder, Family Man, Educator, Outdoorsman, Humanitarian, Historian and a Rotarian," which was placed by the gazebo.

The honoree's wife, Jeanne Buie, said her family visited the gazebo a few days prior to the dedication. The beauty and craftsmanship were moving, she said.

"I want to thank the Rotary Club," she said. "Without it, none of this would have been done. It's been a blessing, and I hope people enjoy it for ages."