When Star Communications is mentioned across Sampson, the first thought that comes to mind might be internet, or cable or even telephones. But it should be, and usually is, closely followed by the words community involvement, two words that reflect the local business thanks to Lyman Horne, Star’s outgoing executive vice president and general manager.
Horne retires from Star at the end of this week, having devoted 37 years to building the company into the stellar telecommunications industry it has become.
When he took the helm in late 2000, he brought with him a devotion to the county he loves and the people within it that he has worked to help through a variety of avenues. He also came to the GM’s position with a determination to keep moving the telecommunication’s company into the technology age, raising Star’s profile in the communities it serves and looking after both its customers and the over 100 employees who have worked alongside him over the years.
A native of the McDaniels community of Sampson County, Horne has never forgotten his roots or those who helped him through the years, believing in giving back some of that which he has been given. It’s likely why Star has been such a champion for the community, as well as Horne himself.
Star’s name has been emblazoned on many charitable events over the course of Horne’s tenure. From golf tournaments and phoneathons for the community college to All-America City endeavors and support of all things education in both the city and county schools, Star has offered both financial support and commitment of its technology, and in each case, Horne has led the charge.
He has been tenacious in raising money for SCC, chairing the Foundation’s fundraising campaign for many years, and always opening the doors of Star for the college’s annual drive, offering a bank of phones as well as a pledge and, in later years, televising the event, first at the US 421 business and later on the college campus.
Always affable and with a joke at the ready, Horne’s mischievous smile and quick wit made him easy to approach and even easier to like. He has represented Star well, giving the company the down-home aura that makes a business feel more like a member of the family. He embodies the neighbor helping neighbor mantra that has been Star’s for decades, and even though he will leave the helm on Friday, we are certain that mantra will remain Horne’s as he moves on to the next chapter of his life.
What’s more, the man who will assume the GM duties a week from now, Jeff Nethercutt, will come to the table with the same love of this community that Horne has always had, and he’ll have that same sense of giving back.
We believe Nethercutt, also from Sampson County and a Clinton High School graduate, will carry on the tradition of community support that Star has given under Horne’s leadership, a passing of the torch that will be good for both the company and Sampson.
Nethercutt has worked alongside Horne for years at Star and, while he will no doubt chart his own course, we are certain he will hold tightly to the things that have endeared the company to the community.
Many of those things we have Horne to thank for, and we offer that thanks today, both for his leadership at Star and for his devotion to this community. On a personal level, we also tip our hat to Horne for his staunch support of this community’s only daily newspaper, something he has always done, both vocally, in written word and many times on the local radio station, WCLN, where he has served as a local personality for years.
While Horne is departing from Star we hope he won’t be a stranger, staying involved in the things he has always loved.
We wish him Godspeed as he heads to his next adventure even as we wish Nethercutt the best of luck in his new role.