MOUNT AIRY — Planning the celebration of the town's 100th birthday is a complicated, once-in-a-lifetime job.
But Travis Norwood says he's just the person to put together the plans for the big party in 1994.
A retired town postmaster, Norwood was picked by Mayor Gerald R. Johnson Jr. to head the Mount Airy Centennial Committee.
"The mayor told me he wanted us to plan the best 100th birthday celebration we've ever had," joked Norwood, 60. "It only happens once, so we hope we can come up with a lot of fun things for the people."
The Town Council approved the nomination earlier this month. In the coming weeks, Norwood will put together a committee to begin generating ideas for the event. But participation in planning won't be limited, he said.
"This isn't a one-person, or one-committee job," Norwood said. "This is a town project."
Norwood, who began as a clerk in the post office in 1951 before being chosen postmaster in 1971, brings experience to the task.
He was involved in organizing Mount Airy activities in conjunction with the sesquicentennial of Carroll County in 1987. Norwood also was part of the committee that put together the town'scelebration of the U.S. Bicentennial in 1976.
"I'm interested in the history of the town," said Norwood, who retired in 1984. "I've lived and worked here all my life."
Speaking of history, a discoveryearlier this year prevented a centennial celebration that would've been two years late.
While cleaning out a storage room in Town Hall, the mayor came across an old Mount Airy seal that was used to certify official documents.
The seal bore the year 1894 as the date of Mount Airy's incorporation, two years earlier than previously believed. The current seal carries 1896 as the year the town was founded.
After inquiring with researchers at the state archives in Annapolis,Johnson learned that the earlier date is the correct one.
"It would've been a little sticky," Norwood of the possibility of the discovery not having been made until later.
That search also turned up alost mayor, who was misplaced in the shuffle when the true incorporation year became muddled. Lycurgus Clary was elected in 1898, and, ascoincidence would have it, was Norwood's great-grandfather. Clary served until 1900.
Norwood's wife, Virginia, is the media specialistfor the Mount Airy Middle School. The couple has two children, Richard of Elkins, W.Va., and Barbara, of Odessa, Texas. Both teach music.