The Heart of Kernersville: Overton Harper
By NJ Clausen
Hello to all, and Happy Father’s Day to those who accepted the loving responsibility of guiding the young into a future of responsibility, fulfillment, and happiness. Allow me to introduce you to a man who embodies the very best qualities associated with the title of ‘Dad’ – Overton Harper.
Overton was born in a little country community near Danville, Virginia and enjoyed a strong, close family relationship with his parents and older sister. The family had lots of land, and Overton loved playing outside and hiking with their dogs. His favorite day of the week was Saturday when he would spend time with his dad. During the week, his father would work long hours as a small business owner and typically would work on Saturday as well; however, on Saturday Overton was able to go with him. His father taught him how to fix different items, how to mow grass and to mulch, and was also his T-Ball coach.
Overton enjoyed architecture when in high school, but he knew he did not want to do that for a career. An uncle of his was a stockbroker who spent time teaching him different aspects of finance including the investment of money and seeing how it could grow. This intrigued Overton, as did being in business like his dad. In college he studied business, a broad base which could lead to many different paths, however in his senior year he switched and procured a BS/BA -Finance degree from ECU.
When asked to share an event that stood out, Overton described how he had been involved with the student government beginning in his sophomore year. He was involved with the financial part on the appropriations committee, determining how funds would be dispersed to the various student organizations. In his junior year, he chaired the committee, and during this year he started talking to people about running for student body treasurer for his senior year. The process involved 4 people who were willing to run together on a ticket to fill the spots of president, vice president, treasurer, and secretary, and out of three different groups, Overton’s ticket was chosen. It was during his senior year that Hurricane Floyd came through and caused massive devastation. The school was closed, and many of the roads were flooded. As treasurer, Overton was managing the student government budget and the budget for the student transit authority. In the aftermath of Floyd, he was able to put together an emergency loan package that was dispersed to students following this disaster. Being able to help others adversely impacted by this catastrophic event brought some good to a challenging time.
During these college years, he developed a friendship with another student in the Honors College, a girl named Amy, which later turned to attraction. Overton graduated a year ahead of Amy and had returned to his hometown and worked with his father. He smiled as he revealed that during this time away from Amy, he realized that he could not live without her and a few short months after his graduation he proposed. They married following Amy’s graduation and moved to Philadelphia. Overton was the first generation since the 1700’s to leave the town his family had settled in following their arrival to the ‘New World.’
In 2004, the couple moved to an apartment in Kernersville. In 2007 they opened their own practice, Harper Eye Care, which they owned and operated for 10 years. The decision to sell the business was influenced by the desire to spend more time with their daughter, Hayden, and have a better life/work balance. An adventure the family was able to enjoy included traveling out west last summer and visiting 26 states.
Overton has been involved with the Rotary Club of Kernersville for over 15 years and was president in 2012. He explained that the basic motto of the club is ‘Service Above Self’ and while working on eradicating polio in the 2 countries where it is still an issue, the next battle will be to try and find a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease. Overton played soccer from age 5 through high school, and when Hayden expressed interest in playing soccer too, he assisted her coach. When the coach moved to a different age level, Overton and another parent started coaching her team, until covid. In October of 2021, Overton and Hayden started the process of rebuilding a CJ7 Jeep, a father/daughter collaboration that continues to create special memories. Overton is also on the board of the Kernersville Foundation.
As Father’s Day is this month, Overton lovingly remembers his father, with whom he was very close. His celebration will be with his family, and he affirms that relationships are a blessing. People come and go, so it is important to cherish the relationships that you have and to listen to each other and to support each other.
“My dad is an amazing father and I say that not because I’m his daughter but because I see the kind, generous man he is. Ever since I was little, I’ve observed my dad’s servant heart give back to the community countless times.” -Hayden Harper
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