Each year, one prominent Wilson County resident is chosen for a singular honor - to be the guest of honor at the annual roast by the Wilson County Library System. This year, the library system will roast Hale Moss, president of the Wilson County Fair Board.
How does one find themselves being roasted by the library board?
"The library board discusses potentials and approaches that person," said Alesia Burnley, director of the Wilson County Library System. "It's usually someone prominent and well established in the community."
The annual roast is important to the county library system. It began in 1991 with George Harding as the first roast honoree, making 2013 its 23rd year. According to Burnley, the net profits from 1991 to 2012 is $177,900 after expenses.
"It's our only fundraiser," she said. "The board started the roasts to buy the things not funded in the city or county budgets. Money raised is used for matching grants, computers, furniture, shelving and other needs."
The list of past honorees is an impressive list of county faces. Last year, Lebanon-Wilson County Chamber of Commerce President Sue Vanatta was on the hot seat.
"It was great last year," Burnley said, adding there are certain qualities that put an honoree in good standing. "They need to be a good sport, generous and brave."
When asked how he felt about being the "roastee," Moss said that was "a loaded question." But he had no doubt about the worthiness of the cause.
"It's an honor and a great cause," Moss said. "If I can do something at my expense for more programs and funding for the libraries, I'll be fine."
He said his only saving grace is he gets to pick his roasters. Since he was born and raised in Wilson County, it's a cinch anyone he picks has a lot of material to choose from when teasing him.
"A friend of mine said he had a lot of good stories," he said.
The honoree is willing to have a bit of fun poked at them for a good cause. Burnley said last year 304,876 people visited the Wilson County libraries and checked out 687,162 items. There are 155,912 books, audio books, movies, magazines and newspapers available at the libraries. The libraries provide free Internet access, computer classes and numerous programs for children and adults.
The event is planned for March 28 at 7 p.m. at Castle Heights Elementary School. Tickets are $35 each or $200 for a table sponsorship for eight people. They may be purchased from any library board member or at any Wilson County Public Library. Jordan’s will cater the event.
For more information, contact Burnley at 615-444-0632.