R. V. Hight | Special Projects Editor
If bobblehead dolls were made of key Herald employees, it’s R. V. Hight’s likeness that would become a collector’s edition.
R. V., 52, is sort of like our unofficial mascot – to many people in Lee County he’s the face of The Sanford Herald. He represents the newspaper so well in so many ways, both as a newspaperman and as a community servant, and he even does our school-group tours.
But he’s also like a secret weapon. He’s the kind of employee who can be called into duty in almost any role, with little or no notice, and save the day – like a relief pitcher or pinch-hitter coming in to get the final outs or drive in the winning runs in an important baseball game.
It’s appropriate to use sports analogies in discussing R. V. because he came to The Herald in May of 1979 as sports editor. At the time, he was sports information director at what was then Campbell College. That followed a stint at The Aiken (S. C.) Standard, where he worked following his graduation from his beloved UNC-Chapel Hill. At UNC, R. V. was deeply entrenched in sports as well, and even had several members of the school’s basketball team (including Mitch Kupchak, now an executive with the Los Angeles Lakers) attend his wedding to the former Bernice “Bunnie” Apple.
R. V. moved onto what we call the “news side” after the retirement of then-Editor Bill Hodges, and has for most of the last decade worked as special projects editor. In that role, he does many things, chief among them coordinating all of our special sections, including our “Lee County Living” and “Chatham Living” magazines and our annual industrial edition.
R. V.’s knowledge of Lee County people and places is most valuable to us, as is his constant admonition to young reporters (and editors) about our emphasis on local news.
He got that from Herald founder W. E. Horner Sr., who once attended homecoming at R. V.’s home church.
“The next day,” R. V. recalls, “he asked me to write down the name of every person I could remember who had attended. He even had me call my mother to get more names from her. I thought, ‘There were hundreds of people there.’
“We ran all of those names in The Herald…and I heard from numerous people saying how they had read the article and all the names. That was one of my greatest lessons in journalism – that people want to see local names in their local newspaper.”
R. V. (the initials stand for “Roy Van”) stays in close contact with the UNC sports programs – his office walls are adorned with schedule posters – and still serves as statistician for the university’s sports information office at home football games. In the community, he’s an active member of the Lee County Kiwanis Club (and former Kiwanian of the Year) and will serve as Division 10 Lieutenant Governor for 2007-08. He’s also a member of the Central Carolina Community College Board of Trustees and the board of the Coalition For Families.
He and Bunnie – who recently retired from Lee County Schools – have two children: son Chris (who lives with his wife Jenni in Morrisville) and daughter Holly, a UNC graduate and aspiring actress who lives in Sanford.
We’re proud to have R. V. as a part of our staff, and as a part of our community. And you can rest assured that like many rare bobbleheads, we won’t be putting Roy on eBay anytime soon. He’s here to stay.