August 2012 - Volunteer Spotlight - Lee K Cornett
Introducing Lee K. Cornett, the new MerleFest volunteer coordinator! Lee K. joined the MerleFest Events Team on August 1, but she isn't new to MerleFest. She has been volunteering for MerleFest since the early '90s. As a member of the Women's Service League of Wilkes, she helps the group sell the official MerleFest merchandise - t-shirts, hats, beach towels, etc.
"I love seeing all the fans at the festival year after year," says Cornett. "I remember one gentleman who comes all the way from France for the festival. And, I will never forget the year it rained and flooded. Boy, it was muddy. But everyone still had a blast."
Lee K. considers Wilkes her hometown even though she was born in Johnson City, Tenn., and lived in Memphis until she was 12. She has a degree in education from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. For the past 20 years, Lee K. has worked in her family's travel agency business. She married her childhood sweetheart, Duane, who is also an avid MerleFest fan.
"I am so excited and honored to be working at Wilkes Community College. This position offers a variety of responsibilities and the opportunity to work with so many different people," she says.
"I would also like everyone to know how I feel about MerleFest. To me, MerleFest is more than a festival. It has a life of its own! It's about the people that come for the great entertainment ... The volunteers that come from all over the country to 'work' the festival ... The local organizations like schools, churches, civic clubs, scout troops that volunteer to raise money for their local causes ... The local kids that come to have fun and 'hangout' ... The outreach program that sends the artists to our local schools ... The impact the festival has on our regional economy. MerleFest is recognized around the world as one of the best festivals ever. But most of all, it is known for being family-friendly entertainment, something that always made Doc Watson proud."
Lee K. has always been involved in volunteerism and giving back to the community. In addition to her work with the Women's Service League, she currently works with the children's program at her church and serves as a den cub scout leader and has been involved in the Wilkes Chamber of Commerce and Wilkes Art Gallery.
"Volunteering is a great way to give back. It is so much fun to volunteer at MerleFest. You walk on campus and feel the excitement in the air," says Cornett. "It's a special homecoming, meeting new friends and seeing old ones that you only see once a year at the festival. At the end of the day, you feel like you have made a difference and been a part of something really big."