Sampson’s District 5 commissioner hopeful Willie R. Moore filed for election Wednesday, just a couple hours after Thaddeus L. Godwin Sr. was sworn in a parking lot away as the district’s appointee.
“I wanted to do it before, but it was filled,” said Moore of filing for his home district. “I’m originally from here and I wanted to help my community. My goal is to attempt to meet the needs of the people.”
As Moore was filing, Godwin was engaged in his first business as District 5 commissioner, sworn in at the top of a Sampson Board of Commissioners’ planning session at the County Administration Building, a stone’s throw from the Sampson Board of Elections on the County Complex.
Godwin has already filed — he was the first to the Board of Elections Monday — for the seat vacated last month by Albert Kirby upon his appointment as Senior Resident Superior Court Judge. Kirby held the seat for the past seven years. The board unanimously approved Godwin’s appointment upon the recommendation of Brent Baggett, chairman of the local Democratic Party. Baggett made the request on behalf of the party’s executive committee.
Kirby administered the oath to Godwin, flanked by his wife Eloise and aunt Geraldine Bennett. Godwin will fill Kirby’s unexpired term, which ends in November.
“This opportunity is a great opportunity, and I don’t take it lightly,” Godwin said, addressing commissioners, family and others gathered at the session. “This is an opportunity to help Sampson County, to be able to show people that this county means something to all of us. If we can go forth working together, we can claim a reputation as a star in North Carolina. I want to be a part of doing something in Clinton and Sampson County.”
Moore, along with any other Democrats who file, will face off against Godwin in the May 8 primary.
A Sampson native, Moore is currently employed by Sampson Community College, working within the college’s Continuing Education Department as an instructor at Sampson Correctional Institute. For the last four years, he has reached out to inmates in that capacity, teaching life and employability skills.
“It’s just trying to get them back in society,” said Moore. “I want to help smaller people become larger people who are respectable. There are some who have just slipped and need some help. You can’t turn them all around, but you can try.”
Moore grew up in Clinton, going to Hargrove Elementary, moving to Faison when he was 15. He graduated from Hobbton High School in 1971, entering into the U.S. Army. He served for 21 years in logistics, primarily at Fort Bragg. He stayed in Fayetteville for four years after that before coming back to Sampson County in 1996.
He worked at Advance Auto for 15 years, starting from the bottom on a part-time basis and ascending to full-time manager of the Mount Olive location. During that same time, he worked as an In-School Suspension (ISS) instructor for Hobbton Middle School. When he retired from there, he went full-time with Advance Auto.
“I’ve always had two or three jobs,” said Moore, with a laugh.
Through the years, he has also worked for the Employment Security Commission, Family First Support Center and now, in addition to his position as a SCC instructor, he also works part time at the ABC store.
“Since I lost my wife (last April), I want to stay busy,” he said.
But he also simply wants to help people. Every job has involved that foundation of assistance to others.
“Every job I’ve had has something to do with people. I’ve always wanted to work with people and I was never isolated from being involved with people,” Moore pointed out. “I’ve accrued a lot of knowledge and experience and I always enjoyed passing on that knowledge.”
Moore has two daughters, Tanasha and Takima, along with four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
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