Sampson County has been blessed with good, hard-working service-minded people who, more often than not, put the welfare of others above themselves.
It is evident in how our community looks after its own, and it is even more apparent when state accolades on heaped on them for jobs well done.
This week, two of our citizens were given one of the state’s highest citizen honors, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, an award for which both Mary Brown and G.H. Wilson are most deserving.
The Sampson County Board of Education members were surprised by state Rep. Larry Bell, their former school superintendent, who presented the awards to them at Monday night’s school board meeting, a fitting tribute to colleagues who’ve worked together 18 years for the betterment of education in Sampson County and for each and every child who has ever entered its doors.
While both humbly accepted the accolade and then, during interviews, sang the praises of the other, both are truly deserving of the honor which has been bestowed upon some of North Carolina’s greatest citizens: Maya Angelou, Andy Griffith, Bob Timberlake, Billy Graham and Michael Jordan, just to a name a few.
Brown has spent much of her life in the educational arena, having started as a nursing instruct at Sampson Community College in the late 1970s and working her way up the ranks to become its director of nursing. Active in her church and community, Brown, both on the school board and off, has tirelessly worked to be an encourager of young people, serving as a role model in her community of Garland and beyond.
On the school board, she has put efforts behind all programs that help children to succeed emotionally and academically, and she has done her fair share, too, to ensure that teachers are rewarded for their hard work in helping children along the educational path.
Wilson, too, has spent his entire life working for children. As a Shriner, as an assistant coach in the Midway district, as a school board member and as a director on the North Carolina School Boards Association, he has spent countless hours of his time helping youngsters be the best they can be.
In their leadership roles and in their quiet behind-the-scenes community work the two have stood by their convictions, trying to uphold their beliefs as they’ve put efforts into improving the school system, assist parents and, in the end, make life better for the children who, both believe, are the county’s greatest asset.
Being given the Order of the Long Leaf Pine is akin to statewide applause for a job well done. We add our applause to that now, thanking them for their service and urging them to continue their selfless trek to make life better for children across this great county of ours.