Kevin Pauley’s dedication to Bland County students hasn’t wavered in nearly two decades of volunteering and working with Bland County Schools. He’s known around the schools and central office as a man with a helping hand and big heart who has an answer for almost any problem.

That’s why Pauley, known to the community as “Curly,” was honored with a certificate of appreciation during the April 17 Bland County School Board meeting.

“Today, I’m honored to present an award of appreciation to a young man who gives so much to our school system, our county in general, but most of all, our kids,” said Superintendent Scott Meade.

Pauley serves as the sports complex guru, Meade said, a substitute teacher, an office assistant and the assistant to the athletic director.

Meade noted the wide variety of tasks Pauley takes on for the schools.

“He helps with fundraising, runs errands, carries the mail, works with many organizations like the FCA to help foster the growth of our students and even helps me water the flowers sometimes,” he joked. “He does all that and much, much more and never complains. If I had to sum up what Curly means to all of us: he will make you hungry for life, he will touch your heart and he will nourish your soul. Thank you for being you, Curly.”

Bland County High School Secretary Missy Babbitt has worked closely with Pauley for more than 14 years. She said the impact he’s made on both the students and staff is anything but small.

“He is a huge part of the schools. Honestly, with the athletic department—and some days here in the office— we just couldn’t go on without him. He’s always right there if there’s a need. Curly just has a very, very kind heart and he pretty much loves everybody. There’s nothing you could ask of him that he wouldn’t do his best to take care of for you.”

Pauley’s reasoning for his dedication to the school system and its students is simple.

“I just enjoy working with the students,” he said.

The 1993 Bland County graduate first took an interest in the schools when he was in high school himself. Some years after he graduated, he returned to volunteer his time preparing the fields for ball games. The schools eventually started compensating him for his time through sports stipends and a few years ago, he was added to the payroll.

Since formally coming on board with Bland County Public Schools, Pauley has been integral in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He’s also involved in the youth group where he attends church at Bland United Methodist.

During the meeting, Bland County 4-H Coordinator Elizabeth Johnson told a story that she said highlighted Pauley’s large presence in the community.

She recalled working with students to learn who their community and school leaders were. During a presentation, County Administrator Eric Workman’s position came up. The students were to put a name with the title.

“So they’re sitting there and they just can’t figure it out. I’m like, “The top dog. Who is over all of Bland County?”

The students replied, “Curly!”

During the meeting, Basketball Coach Jason Lambert pointed out that Pauley’s dedication goes deeper than some may realize.

“If you’re ever out at a game with the boys or an away trip, he won’t eat until he sees every kid eat . . . if he sees a kid that don’t eat, he buys them food.”

Harris Hart, a Bland County teacher and football coach, said he couldn’t think of anyone more deserving of the recognition. He pointed out that Pauley is constantly working behind the scenes, preparing for any event the schools host.

“He’s certainly very well-deserving. He’s an indispensible part of Bland County Schools, Bland County athletics and, I think, Bland County in general.”

The faculty and staff at Bland County Schools all agreed they’d be lost without Pauley.

“We certainly can’t do it without him,” Hart said.

“We all love him,” said Babbitt. “I don’t know what we’d do without him some days.”

Pauley said he intends to proudly hang his recognition award in his office at BCHS.

Jasmine Dent Franks can be reached at jfranks@wythenews.com.

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