Nags Head recognizes outstanding contributions with 2024 Lightkeeper, Nags Header awards

Published 11:31 am Monday, June 17, 2024

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At their June 5 meeting, Nags Head commissioners proudly presented the prestigious 2024 Lightkeeper and Nags Header awards, which honor individuals who have made significant, positive impacts on the community over the years.

Nags Head’s Lightkeeper award celebrates those who have shaped the image and direction of the town through their dedicated service, actions and talents. This year, Bob Muller was the distinguished recipient of the award.

“Bob’s contributions, including serving on several of our boards, have been both profound and far-reaching, earning him recognition as a true leader in the community,” explained Nags Head Mayor Ben Cahoon during the presentation. “Even though Bob’s been out of office for several years, he continues to serve our community in a myriad of ways, with enhancing the community always on his mind.”

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Muller has served Nags Head in numerous capacities over several decades. He chaired the town’s first Septic Health Initiative Task Force, playing a pivotal role in the Todd D. Krafft Septic Health Initiative’s design and implementation. In 2005, he was inducted into the Steve Steinbeck Onsite Water Protection Hall of Fame, an accolade that highlights individuals who have consistently performed above and beyond normal expectations.

“Muller’s dedication to public service is exemplified through his tenure on Nags Head’s Board of Commissioners. Serving as a commissioner from 1985 to 2005 and as mayor from 2001 to 2005, he was a stabilizing force during Hurricane Isabel in 2003. His efforts were crucial in organizing the Town’s Artwork Selection Committee in 1997 and advocating for a locally funded beach nourishment project,” stated a Town of Nags Head news release.

Beyond his roles in local government, Muller has volunteered with numerous organizations, including: Nags Head Planning Board and Board of Adjustment, Don & Catharine Bryan Cultural Series, Outer Banks Community Foundation, Dare County Democratic Party, Outer Banks Community Development Corporation, The Nature Conservancy at Nags Head Woods Advisory Board, founding board of the Friends of Jockey’s Ridge, policy committees for the North Carolina League of Municipalities, Albemarle Commission and the Tar/Pamlico Regional Council, and Nags Head Firemen’s Relief Fund Board.

The Nags Header award posthumously recognizes individuals who have significantly influenced the town’s culture since its incorporation in 1961. This year’s honoree, Lillie Daniels “Doll” Gray, left an indelible mark on the community. Her sons, Wally, Terry and Gary accepted the award.

Gray was a long-time business owner in Nags Head, operating the still-active Snow Bird, among other ventures. In 1984, she became the town’s postmaster, a role through which she provided unique and personalized service, including weighing newborns on the office’s scale.

In 1989, Gray’s dedication to her community led her to serve on Nags Head’s Board of Commissioners. She remained on the board until 1997, also serving as mayor pro tem. In recognition of her service, she received the prestigious Lightkeeper award in 2007. Gray was a founding member of The Ark Church, demonstrating her steadfast commitment to her faith and community.

“The nomination for this award repeatedly cited Ms. Doll’s profound knowledge of all things Nags Head, her willingness to share her knowledge, about seafood, postal operations, Nags Head history, and many other topics, and her ever-present smile and pleasant disposition,” said Mayor Cahoon.

“Nags Head’s Board of Commissioners is proud to recognize Bob Muller and Lillie Daniels ‘Doll’ Gray for their enduring contributions to the town,” stated the release. “Their legacies continue to inspire and shape Nags Head, fostering a community spirit that will be felt for generations.”