Former Clinton City Councilman Steve Stefanovich epitomizes what it is to be a community servant. He has been loyal to a fault to the city he has called home for decades, a true champion of education through his work on the Sampson Community College Foundation and a devoted supporter of local athletics through city and county recreation departments.
Though not born here, he is still, in our estimation, a native son in all the ways that truly count.
That’s why we were pleased to see him become one of the very few individuals in Clinton’s history to receive a key to the city, being only the 19th to have such an honor bestowed upon him, and a recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest honor awarded by the governor.
A long-time Clinton businessman and proponent for positive growth in the city, Stefanovich and his Go Automotive were key to the new dog park that helped revive Fisher Drive and provide a place for animals and their owners to spend time. Like many of the other causes he has championed as a councilman, it was an innovative idea, particularly for a city the size of ours.
Yet Stefanovich never allowed Clinton to be pigeon-holed because of its size. He, alongside Mayor Lew Starling and the City Council, have always strived to move the city above and beyond the things most would believe possible for a town of less than 10,000 people.
This week, Council and Starling bid Stefanovich a fond farewell, acknowledging through a reception and the presentation of awards the difference he made during his 16-year tenure as the District 1 representative..
“Never have we had a better Councilman than Steve Stefanovich …never has the city had a better friend,” Starling remarked during the presentations.
Powerful words … true words … spoken from one champion of Clinton to another.
We agree, knowing all the behind-the-scenes work Stefanovich has done without seeking the accolades he so richly deserved.
Miami Dolphins coach Nick Saban has been quoted as saying “when you invest your time, you make a goal and a decision of something that you want to accomplish. Whether it’s make good grades in school, be a good athlete, be a good person, go down and do some community service and help somebody who’s in need, whatever it is you choose to do, you’re investing your time in that.”
Stefanovich chose a long time ago to invest in this community and we have all been beneficiaries of that investment in some way. What’s more, generations to come will benefit as well, leaving a legacy of giving as so often is seen by those we view as true community servants.