To the residents of Randolph County and the city of Elkins:
Thank you for the hospitality, friendship and affection you showed last week to my daughter, Logan Gray Burke, Maid/Queen Silvia, during the 75th Mountain State Forest Festival.
From Pickens to Harman to Coalton, and all points in between, the students, teachers and administrators of the county and city schools warmly welcomed Logan; the kindness and courtesy of everyone at the local banks, businesses and nursing homes made Logan feel appreciated and at home. The enthusiasm of the young folks at the Children's Home was matched only by the beauty of the quilt they gave her.
My special thanks go to Scott Harris, the director general of the festival; Mr. Mark Tomblyn, the president of the board of directors; Lydia Wagner, the director of the queen's department; Renee Heckel, executive director of the festival; my friend, Molly Bush; and all of the other "Redcoats."
We made a lot of new friends in Elkins and renewed acquaintances with many others. They are too numerous to list them all, but I'd like to mention Lanny and Molly Propst and Bill and Kim Ross, the parents of the maids of honor.
Unless one has seen the work of the festival's board of directors, the committee chairpersons and all of their assistants, it is impossible to imagine the work, time and dedication required of the festival volunteers to make the festival function as it does. The workings of the Forest Festival remind me of a clock - the front tells the time and appears very simple, but inside, dozens of wheels, cogs and pins move at different speeds and interact with precise yet complicated movements to allow the two hands to display the correct time. What the casual festival-goer sees is the face of the clock, but without all of the volunteers behind the scenes, the festival would not operate as it does. Logan and I salute all of the volunteers without whose work and devotion the festival could not function.
In closing I'd be remiss if I didn't thank all of those volunteers who provided the refreshments, water and donuts that helped us enjoy our week in Elkins. And finally to Rich Nida: "Suze" says "hi."
Thanks again, Elkins and Randolph?County.
D. Michael Burke