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More Relentless Than Kudzu

Decades of community service have shown Steve Price that nothing dampens the Chapel Hill spirit

Once it started pouring, Steve Price was sure all the volunteers he had gathered to clean up overgrown kudzu around Chapel Hill would just call it a day. But it seems, even after decades of service, Chapel Hill still had some surprises for him. 

“They refused to leave until they had gotten this area cleared,” Price said. “Even when it was rainy and miserable, they wanted to get this done.” 

It says a lot about the Chapel Hill community – but it also says a lot about Price.

Steve Price has lived here since 1983, working at UNC-TV, serving as youth minister of his church, sitting on the Town Parks and Recreation Committee for seven years and now continuing to serve in various advisory roles. But he never just lived here.

A UNC-Chapel Hill graduate with a degree in Radio, TV, and Motion Pictures, Price worked at UNC-TV for 30 years documenting the community. His work telling local stories would translate into his passion for bettering the town he had grown to love.

“You want to make the community a better place for yourself and everyone around you,” Price said.

Price’s most recent project, the kudzu clean-up, was one he had taken on from the Community Tree Committee and coordinated with UNC-Chapel Hill as well as the local Adopt-A-Trail program. Price had his first surprise of the day when, after having to reschedule once because of rain, the project saw a huge turn-out from people from all parts of town.

“It was this crazy cross-section of the community,” Price said. He noted seeing people from all walks of life, including students and older folks. What struck him, he said, was how unified everyone was, even when the rain started picking up.

“It was one of the most amazing service projects I’ve ever done,” Price said. “It was fun and people were really enjoying what they were doing.” 

And they kept working, even when they could barely stand up. As he saw his team slipping and sliding as the ground turned to mud, Price had to be the one to call it a day because no one wanted to stop. 

For Price, the collective tenacity he saw that day illustrates why he loves Chapel Hill.

“When one person takes the initiative, it’s amazing how people will rally around that cause,” Price said. “It’s what makes the Chapel Hill community so unique and wonderful.”

And, while he might be humble about it when asked, Price has often been that one person who others rally around as he stands up for a better town, and a better world. 

Many of Price’s projects, like the kudzu clean-up and his quarterly road clean-ups on highway 86, focus on improving Chapel Hill, but he also takes time to care for the people of his hometown. This year, he coordinated the delivery of Thanksgiving meals at the Inter-Faith Council pantry in his church, where he also regularly leads the volunteers who clean up the food pantry’s kitchen. Plus, he plans weekly activities for the youth, and just this last October he spent hours creating a haunted trail that went above and beyond anyone’s expectations.

“I see it as just giving back to this community that gave me so much,” Price said.

He’s also looking for socially-distant ways to keep bringing together those large groups that come out for his projects. At the kudzu clean-up, everyone was spread out in small teams, and they clearly weren’t letting anything stop them. In the future, Price mentioned getting families to volunteer together so they could work as a socially-distant team. 

Either way, Price is not just excited to get back to giving back – he never stopped for a second. Price knows that it only takes one person, one voice and everyone will gather together to support this unique and wonderful place he is proud to call home. 

And we think we’re speaking for everyone when we say that we’re proud to have Steve as a neighbor.

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