Pike and Dassau Win 2012 Cary Hometown Spirit Awards

(L->R) Joy Pike and Betsy Dassau, recipients of Cary’s 2012 Hometown Spirit Award.

Story by Lindsey Chester. Picture above via Town of Cary. Other photos, Lindsey Chester.

Cary, NC – The Town of Cary announced the fourth annual winners of the Hometown Spirit Awards – and this time two citizens will share the award. Joy Pike, who has served for years with the Heart of Cary Association, and Betsy Dassau, recent founder of Cary Creative Center, jointly were honored at last Thursday night’s Town Council meeting in Town Hall.

These two women both work tirelessly to serve the community and received honorary plaques which will be on display at Town Hall.

The award is designed to recognize community-minded citizens who enhance the quality of life in Cary by preserving, promoting and carrying out positive small-town community values and traits.

Betsy Dassau

Dassau is a founding member of Cary Portrait Artists and is a board member of the Fine Arts League of Cary. She founded the Cary Creative Center and is a member of the Triangle Reuse Alliance Steering Committee.

Betsy said she “found out about ..winning the award from fellow recipient and longtime friend, Joy Pike! She has been such a continuing supporter of the Heart of Cary and hard working volunteer, that I was just glad to be included in the nominees. But to find out we both WON was a real honor.”

Betsy mentioned what makes her most proud is to be honored among all the Town’s volunteers. “Because without those folks, from the sports coaches to the festival volunteers, and all of the people who help their Houses of Worship, Hospitals and Civic organizations, very little would be accomplished in this world!”

Joy Pike

Pike serves as a board member of the Heart of Cary Association, she organizes the Ole Time Winter Festival and is involved with the Sister Cities Association of Cary. Annually, her family serves as a USA Baseball host family.

I caught up with Joy at her place of business, Apple Insurance in Downtown Cary. She had recently lost her mother to a long illness and the award came during a particularly hectic time in her life.

Joy said, “It is such an honor to be recognized for the volunteering work that I do for the Town.  I love our Town and truly enjoy working with all of the people with the Festivals Committee, organizing the Ole Time Winter Festival, helping to start a Downtown Cary Children’s museum and volunteering as the Chair of the Heart of Cary Association.”

Other volunteer activities include volunteering as a Chief Judge during election polling. She described it as part of her Civic Duty that she thoroughly enjoys.

One of her most rewarding volunteer roles is to host 2 boys each summer for USA Baseball, which she and her husband, Dan, have done for the past 6 years.

“We have 2 boys come and stay with us for 5 days.  We clean their clothes, get them to & from the field, and feed them.  The friendships that we have developed in just 5 days is amazing.  We actually got invited to Nebraska last year for the wedding of one of the boys.”


Inspired by a suggestion from Cary citizen William Clifton Barnes, Hometown Spirit Award nominees must demonstrate leadership and integrity and be respected by peers. In addition, they had to exemplify at least one of the following criteria:

  • helps out neighbors and fellow Cary residents
  • demonstrates hospitality
  • promotes and preserves traditional American past-times
  • works to preserve traditions and the small-town atmosphere in the community
  • promotes entrepreneurship through supporting locally owned business
  • promotes a sense of community in their neighborhood and all of Cary
  • demonstrates patriotism through promotion and preservation of the country’s symbols and dedication to the U.S. military
  • serves the community through business

If there’s an event happening in Cary, you can be sure to see both of these women not only in attendance but volunteering their support in some meaningful way.

“Betsy and Joy perfectly illustrate hometown spirit,” said Sue Rowland, Town Clerk. “The direct actions of both of these citizens are far-reaching and continue to make Cary a great place to live, work, play and raise a family.”

These two ladies exemplify the commitment to volunteerism and vision that help make Cary the town we know and love. Without thousands of volunteers, who head up the wonderful events and activities that Cary has become known for, this would be a sleepy little suburban outpost of RTP.<

Next Year?

Maybe someone you know should be nominated for this award next year? Nominations are usually accepted from August- September and announced at a Town Hall meeting in November.