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Big Kahuna

The Big Kahuna Campaign

LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE! March 1st marked the kickoff of Watauga County Habitat for Humanity’s annual fundraiser, The Big Kahuna.  Over the next two and a half months, twelve philanthropic-minded community leaders will be competing to raise awareness and as much money as she/he can to help Watauga County Habitat for Humanity build their next home.  The person who raises the most money will be crowned Watauga Habitat’s 2017 Big Kahuna at our Don HoDown celebration at Appalachian Mountain Brewery.  Each contestant will be reaching out to their friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors to see who can help them raise the most money on behalf of Watauga County Habitat for Humanity.  All of the money raised by the Big Kahuna participants will go towards helping Watauga Habitat’s next partner family have a decent, safe, energy efficient, affordable place to live, in our eco-friendly GreenWood neighborhood.  It’s no small task what they have agreed to do so hats off to them and all of their future supporters for helping make our community a better place to live.

Mark your calendars for Thursday, May 18th at Appalachian Mountain Brewery to see who will be crowned the 2017 Big Kahuna. We will be updating the leader board until just before the winner is announced at 8:00pm.


Your Contestants for the 2017 Big Kahuna Competition


Patrick Beville- IONCON

Patrick A. Beville, PE LEED AP is a licensed professional engineer with more than 25 years specializing in facilities design and construction. He is currently the Principal at IONCON, PLLC an engineering consulting firm specializing in engineering, renewable energy consulting, and sustainable projects such as shipping container structures. He has an undergraduate degree in Civil/Structural Engineering and a master’s degree in Public Administration. He has training in and is accredited with the US Green Building Council LEED Program and more than 15 years of experience in green building and renewable energy. His experience includes design, construction, and project management of facilities with project sizes up to $48 million. He has served as project manager on renewable energy projects including biodiesel tanks, solar thermal systems, solar PV systems, and the largest wind turbine installation in the State of North Carolina. Patrick lives in Boone with his wife, Kendal McDevitt and their adorable 5 year old daughter Harper. Kendal is the Senior Associate Director of Admissions – Recruitment at Appalachian State University and Harper is preparing to go to kindergarten at Hardin Park Elementary. The family has been living and involved in the Boone community for more than 15 years and is proud to call Boone home.

Charles Crabbe, ProBenefits

 Charles first came to the High Country as an undergraduate student of Appalachian State University in 1984.  As a student he fell in love with Boone, and his wife of 27 years, Amy Crabbe.  After graduation he taught in various public school systems in North Carolina as a middle school and high school Band Director. He returned to ASU in 1991 for graduate school, and was fortunate to be living in Boone during the blizzard of 1993. That one weather event must have made an impact; because 5 years later, Charles left teaching and went back to school to study Meteorology at North Carolina State University.  He graduated from NC State in 2000, two months after the birth of his son, Sam.  Being a father was more important than pursuing a career in Meteorology, so Charles took a job at ProBenefits, Inc., in Winston-Salem.  A job with more security and flexibility to spend time with his family.  In 2005, his wife was offered a job in the Appalachian Regional Healthcare System.  The opportunity to move back to Boone and raise a child in the High Country was an easy decision.   Charles has been in Boone ever since and has no plans of ever leaving again.  He’s looking forward to helping make this year’s Big Kahuna event the best ever for the Watauga County Habitat for Humanity.


Jim Rogers, Appalachian Custom Builders

Jim has been a NC licensed General contractor since 2004. In October 2008 Jim opened Appalachian Custom Builders a full service design/build general contractor.  He holds a Bachelors of Architecture from UNC Charlotte, a North Carolina General Contractors License, and is a Certified Green Professional by NAHB.  As a testament to staying ahead of the latest technology, Jim is currently working on a Renewable Energy diploma from the North Carolina Solar Center.  Early in 2011, Jim had the opportunity to provide construction services for Watauga County Habitat for Humanity.  He was selected out of a group of local general contractors to lead construction for their new GreenWood neighborhood where they are building Green certified homes and teaching sustainable building practices.  Since 2011 Jim has built 4 homes for Watauga Habitat for Humanity, including the 2014 Builders Blitz home and supervised the renovations for the new Watauga Habitat ReStore.  In addition to his work with Habitat, Jim also serves on the Board for the High Country Home Builders Association and is integrally involved in their Play House Project. He is proud to be serving the local community in this capacity and sharing his passion for building.


Jesse Miller, First Security Insurance

I have lived in and loved the High Country  for 9 years.  My wife, Lindsay, and I are blessed with two daughters, Arden and Mclane.  In my spare time I enjoy reading, writing, fishing the streams, running the trails, and experiencing the culture of the mountains.   Professionally, I am committed to protecting our community with the best Insurance programs available for both individuals and the small businesses that make our community great.  Personally, I enjoy giving back to our area non-profits as an auctioneer for many fund raisers.  Habitats’ Blue Prints and Bow Ties sits near and dear to our hearts.  We are excited to help raise even more money for such a great organization!


Dusty Washburn, Blue Ridge Realty

Dusty Washburn is an Appalachian State graduate who has called the High Country home for 18 years. She shares life with her husband,Phil, of 15 years and their two children, Selah and Lex. She has been a Realtor with Blue Ridge Realty and Investments for 3 years and although she feels that matching the perfect seller with the perfect buyer is serious business, the same can’t be said about her outlook on life. For Dusty, life must be seasoned generously with humor and Bill Burr is the perfect spice. An advocate for one-eyed pugs, she can also beat any cat in a staring contest. She’s a bowling enthusiast with an average score of 103 and she believes that a pizza should be eaten as a two course meal – toppings first and then the pie in all it’s saucy glory. Don’t let her wit and carefree outlook fool you though. She organizes her closets for fun and her house always wins “Best Dressed” during the Holidays. Dusty’s husband, Phil Washburn, a partner of the local contracting firm Capehart & Washburn, LLC co-fronted the effort on a Habitat for Humanity “Builders Blitz” in which they built a home in 30 days for a deserving local family.  She loves giving back to the community that has given so much to her. Dusty’s faithful, furry friend Louie is endorsing her as his choice to be named “The Big Kahuna.”



Pete Herbert- The Dogwood Cafe

Pete Herbert moved to Boone in January of 2000.  He has an Associate’s Degree from CCC&TI, as well as a Bachelor’s IMG_1959Degree From Appalachian State.  He met his beautiful wife in Boone, they bought their first home together, and recently welcomed their first child into the world.  Pete recently realized that he has lived almost half of his life in the High Country and wants to give back to the community.  Please help Pete in his quest for the Big Kahuna and click on the donate link below.




Justin Davis – Blowing Rock Town Tavern, Owner

JustinJustin is originally from eastern North Carolina but has called the High Country his home for the past 17 years. He is an entrepreneur and hands on restaurant owner. He doesn’t think of owning and running a restaurant as work, it’s what he loves. He lives with his wife Lora, his two young sons Gavin and Landon, and three dogs.  Justin is an extrovert to the fullest extent. He loves people, sports, the outdoors, traveling, and spending time with his family and friends.  Justin proudly wears the Watauga Habitat for Humanity 2016 Big Kahuna crown!  To support Justin in his bid to be this year’s Big Kahuna, please click on the donate button below.

Jenny Miller, Community Volunteer

Jenny grew up in College Park, Maryland and attended UNC-Chapel Hill.  She and her husband, Wayne, live in Blowing Rock and they have 4 awesome children, Joseph, John, Anna and Elizabeth.  Her entire family is community-minded and Jenny can be seen all over town volunteering for Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge, Hospitality House, Western Youth Network, Two Rivers Community School and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Watauga Habitat for Humanity.  Jenny really showcases her talents each summer when she participates in Groovy Nights benefiting the Blowing Rock Community Foundation. She and Wayne have plans to hike Kilimanjaro this year!  Jenny’s friends and family are usually exhausted just keeping up with her!  She looks forward to wearing her Big Kahuna crown on May 18th so go ahead and donate to her campaign because she will probably ask you for money anyway!


Ed Tausche, Cedar House, LLC

Ed grew up in the Hague, Netherlands, spent high school in Barrington, Illinois, and started his career in Savannah, GA.  He later moved to Key West where he worked as a building contractor and met his wife Melissa. They have a 13 year old daughter, Darmody who attends Blowing Rock school.
While in Key West,  Ed designed and built a roller hockey rink and created both adult and children’s leagues with over 500 players. His own team even won 2nd place in the national championship one year.  He is affectionately known as Big Ed to the hundreds of kids he coached.    He and his family moved to Blowing Rock after many hurricane evacuations from Key West. Not wanting to sit in a hotel room and wait out the storm, Ed, Melissa and Darmondy would explore the North Carolina mountains and stumbled upon this amazing town, buying a vacation home shortly thereafter. Like many vacation homeowners, they soon made it their permanent residence.
Currently, Ed is a NC licensed building contractor and works as the project coordinator for Habitat for Humanity. He is an active member of the Blowing Rock Rotary Club and Rumple Presbyterian church. Ed and his family are very excited to be helping Habitat through the Big Kahuna campaign and encourage everyone to “Share the Love with the Loves”

Phil Norman, Green Valley School

I grew up as a yankee from North East Pennsylvania, attending college in New York.  I served as a Navy pilot flying  the F-14 Tomcat. While stationed in San Diego, I got married to a southerner and had our two children, Carolina 18 and Elias 17. This is also where I began my career in education.  My first 5 years of teaching were spent in a middle school  in the inner city of San Diego. This was an eye opening experience for me. I went from teaching in the “hood” to teaching in the “hollar” when my family relocated to Todd in 2006. I became principal at Green Valley 3 years ago,  after working at Hardin Park for over 8 years. In my spare time I enjoy all that these mountains of Western North Carolina have to offer including mountain biking, snowboarding, hiking, kayaking and backpacking. Habitat for Humanity is near and dear to me and the Green Valley Community, as several of our students and their families live in the Greenwood neighborhood right next door to the school. Providing safe, healthy and adequate housing is a basic need that must be met prior to a student being ready to learn. Giving children every advantage they can get in this life to become healthy, productive citizens is my passion, my calling and my life’s work.


Christy Kennedy, Kennedy Household CEO and Zumba Addict

I have been married to my high school sweetheart, Dr. Lee Kennedy, for almost 15 years and we have two beautiful and crazy kids. It’s been almost 7 years since we decided to trade the mosquitoes and hurricanes of our home state of Louisiana for the wooly worms and snow days of the High Country…and we’ve loved every moment!  We still enjoy sharing our love of Cajun cuisine with our neighbors and friends.  After working in research for years, I am currently employed in the position of “stay-at-home mom”, which is by far the most demanding job I’ve ever had!  I discovered Zumba at the Wellness Center not long after moving here, which in turn has introduced me to a great group of friends as well as community fundraising activities. This will be my fifth year performing in the Groovy Nights fundraiser for the Blowing Rock Community Foundation. I’ve always been a ham, and love to get on stage and make people laugh for a great cause!  I am thrilled to be helping raise awareness about Watauga Habitat for Humanity by participating in the Big Kahuna campaign!

Matt Vincent, VPC Builders

Matt Vincent is the Owner of VPC Builders, LLC, located in two locations: Blowing Rock and Banner Elk, North Carolina. Matt was born and raised in Boone and considers the High Country of NC his home. He holds a Bachelor’s in Business from Appalachian State University, with a concentration in Finance & Banking. Matt is an Unlimited Licensed General Contractor with the state of North Carolina and South Carolina, and also holds a Master Builder and Accredited Builder Designation through North Carolina’s Builders Institute. Matt has also earned a Renewable Energies and Green Building Diploma from the North Carolina Solar Center’s Diploma Series. Environmental respect and consideration are very important to Matt which is why he is a certified Green professional and LEED AP certified. Matt also participates in the NC Healthy Built Home Program and has experience building Energy star rated and LEED certified homes.

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