MOUNT VERNON — Each year, the Dan Emmett Music & Arts Festival honors one of the many volunteers in the community who contribute so much time and energy behind the scenes to make a great community.
This year’s recipient, the 21st Unsung Hero, was John Curtis, who will be 72 later this month, is probably best known for his nearly 45 years of service on the Knox County Fair Board. He is currently serving on the board of the Knox County Visitor’s Bureau and the Agriculture Society Museum board. He is also active with the Kokosing Valley Antique Tractor Club and is a common sight in local parades, driving one of his restored antique tractors.
He and his wife of 50 years, Peggy, raise alpacas at Round Hill Farm.
“This was a total surprise. I’m just stunned,” said Curtis. “I really don’t know what to say.
“I had no idea this was coming. I was kind of half listening when they mentioned the person this year had received the Greater Ohio Showmanship Association Award. I looked around, wondering who else was here.
“I looked at my wife and she looked away. She knew,” he laughed.
“I probably should have suspected something when my son and his wife with their two small kids came up from New Albany,” Curtis told the News.
Curtis grew up in Knox County and his father ran the Round Hill Dairy for many years. His association with the county fair started early, he said, raking trash on the fairgrounds when he was 10 years old.
Whatever groups he has been involved with, he has always “tried to do what I thought was right and to help people out,” he said.