The Hometown Spirit Award is bestowed annually on a Cary resident who enhances the quality of life in Cary by preserving, promoting and carrying out positive and quantifiable traditional small-town community values and traits as embodied in the following criteria:
Ralph and Daphne Ashworth have been outstanding figures in Cary’s community for 60 years. Cary Magazine calls them both legends for their “standout and long-running career in the business world and garner[ing] a reputation as one of the top businesspeople in Western Wake.”
Helps out neighbors and fellow Cary residents. Demonstrates hospitality.
A feature in Cary Citizen celebrating the 57th anniversary of Ashworth Drugs demonstrated the Ashworth’s dedication to their community: “The Ashworths know many of their customers by name, having served several generations of the same families. “That’s how we built our business” said Ralph.” We’re in the health and wellness business and the personal business of knowing our people.””
Ashworth Drugs offers FREE delivery to all residents within Cary town limits and they work hard to serve the many retirement communities, making it easier for seniors to have their prescriptions filled. Despite being a pharmacy they continue to run their famous hotdog counter because they have seen how valued a gathering place it is for Cary residents downtown over the decades.
Shows a concern for preservation and works to preserve traditions and the small-town atmosphere in the community. Promotes and preserves traditional American past-times.
In addition to being very generous to local charities, the Ashworths have been very dedicated to helping the town’s youth succeed. The family has employed hundreds of Cary High School students through the years. “Its a source of pride for us,” adds Paul. “We don’t have to employ any students, we do it because it is part of our mission.” (Cary Citizen)
The Ashworths have also been key to the revitalization of the downtown area. They’ve not only worked hard to grow their own business - doubling its size in just 3 years - they’ve helped bring other businesses to downtown Cary to thrive in Ashworth Village where over a dozen businesses bring life and prosperity to downtown Cary. “I wanted more traffic downtown, and this gave the opportunity to add more businesses,” he said. (Cary Magazine)
Promotes entrepreneurship through supporting locally-owned business. Promotes a sense of community in their neighborhood and all of Cary. Serves the community through business.
Ralph & Daphne have been supporting local businesses in Cary since April 21st (Easter Monday) 1957 when they came to town and set up Ashworth Drugs in downtown Cary. Since then they have been very active in both the business and philanthropic community.
Here are just a few of their many contributions to our great town:
- Ralph was a charter member of the Cary Chamber of Commerce and served as President in 1964 and 1994.
- Daphne also served on the Chamber board.
- Cary Rotary Club Charter member, President 1966
- Cary Jaycees Distinguished Service Award
- Daphne was a member of Cary Women’s Club which was instrumental in establishing the Cary Library
- Daphne served on the WakeMed Board of Directors
- Cary High School Band Boosters, President 1974
- Wake Count Board of Health Member for 15 years
- First United Methodist Church - active members and led many committees
- Cary Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Service Award 1974
- Served on the Town of Cary Planning and Zoning Committee for 15 years
- NC Pharmaceutical Association President for 2 terms
- Southwest YMCA (then Cary Family YMCA) chairman of fundraising committee to build new YMCA
- Pharmacy Foundation Board of North Carolina (UNC), past member
- NC Pharmaceutical Association Foundation Board, past member
- BB&T past member of local bank board
- Founding member of the Heart of Cary Association and served as President 2 terms
- Founding Board Member of the Veterans Freedom Park
- Board of Directors of Downtown Farmers Market
In 2012 The Heart of Cary Association established the annual Ashworth Award to be given to members that had contributed above and beyond to the Association and to Downtown Cary. The Ashworths were the first recipient of this award.
Demonstrates patriotism through promotion and preservation of the country's symbols and dedication to the U.S. military, past and present.
Ralph and Daphne not only uphold these ideals personally in their daily lives they also support many organizations that promote patriotism and encourage all Cary residents to participate in them.
Among the many examples, two of the most outstanding are that Ralph and Daphne were among the greatest supporters of the North Carolina Veterans Freedom Park on N. Harrison Ave. and they have been hosting a 4th of July ice cream social for seniors and veterans at the Cary Senior Center at Bond Park for more than 30 years.
Despite their distinguished lives of service, patriotism, and philanthropy in the community, what everyone who knows them loves about them the most is their humility.
When asked “How do they feel about being a Legend and a name known to everyone in Cary?”
“We don’t think about it,” Daphne said. They’re just happy to be in town. “We think Cary’s a wonderful place to come, and it hasn’t changed its wonderfulness.” (Cary Magazine)
Ralph and Daphne are the definition of Cary Hometown Spirit.
Nominators: Travis Colopy & Sheila Ogle