Martin honored at cooperative meeting


The wife of Carlton Martin was presented with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine for her late husband at the South River EMC annual meeting on April 23 in Fayetteville. Martin served as a director on the board of South River EMC for 30 years.

Nell Martin humbly accepted this award for her late husband who passed away Jan. 2. The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is conferred by the Governor of North Carolina and presented to outstanding citizens who have a proven record of significant community service to the state.

Throughout his career, Carlton Martin was widely known for his work in the meat packing industry, establishing Martin Abattoir and Wholesale Meats, Inc. in Godwin, with his father. He developed a strong business presence as one of Sampson County’s larger local employers; he was an active member of Clement Baptist Church where he served as a deacon for 50 years and also served as a member of the board of trustees for more than 30 years; he remained active on the Clement High School Advisory Board; he served on the North Carolina Meat Packer’s Industry Board of Directors as well as serving on the North Carolina Agricultural Committee. Martin served on the Board of Trustees at Campbell University. Additionally, in 2000, he was named the Methodist University Entrepreneur of the Year.

Additionally, Oscar Harris, mayor of the City of Dunn, presented Mrs. Martin with a proclamation stating the April 23 is officially, “Carlton Cleveland Martin Day” in the City of Dunn.

Mayor Harris and Dunn businessman Pat Godwin, owner, Godwin Manufacturing Company, Inc. were instrumental in getting the Order of the Long Leaf Pine bestowed upon Martin. Godwin accompanied Harris to the meeting and assisted in the presentation of the proclamation and the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

South River EMC CEO Chris Spears told the audience, “I knew that Mr. Martin was a successful business man when I came here a year ago, but quickly determined that he was a man of integrity.

“More importantly, I found that he was a man with a strong faith in God. Additionally, I learned that he was a man who cared deeply about his family, his friends, his employees, his church, his community and his local electric cooperative.”

About 840 members registered at the annual meeting and they and family members made up the attendance of roughly 2,400. The meeting was preceded by entertainment to include a performance by The Soul Psychedelique, inflatable games, a GameTruck, bucket truck rides and about 50 vendors.

This year mark’s South River EMC’s 75th anniversary and the meeting was a testament to the commitment the electric cooperative has made to the community and how they continue to serve by providing safe, reliable electric service, but also a strong commitment to the communities served. A special video was shown during the business meeting and it can be viewed on the Cooperative’s Web site at

South River EMC is a locally-owned and operated electric cooperative, which provides electric service to 43,000 homes, farms and businesses in parts of Harnett, Cumberland, Sampson, Johnston and Bladen counties.