On Sunday, April 26th at Boger City United Methodist Church, Lincoln County State Representative Jason Saine presented the Order of the Long Leaf Pine to Reverend Joe Ervin. Representative Saine was acting on behalf of Governor Pat McCrory.
Created in 1965, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine is given by the state of North Carolina in recognition of service to the state.
Don Ballard, a long-time friend of Rev. Ervin, initiated the honors which came as a surprise.
Also assisting in the presentation was former Lincoln County Commissioner Jerry Cochrane.
Both Cochrane and Ballard, along with Lincolnton City Councilman Dr. Les Cloninger, initiated the effort to honor Ervin by asking Representative Saine to ask the Governor to bestow the honor in recognition of the many years of Ervin’s community service and mission work.
Many of Ervin’s family members were in attendance to witness the presentation.
Saine said to the audience: “Pastor Ervin, we are all honored to be here and to be a part of this recognition of someone as deserving as you. We are proud of all you have done to help others.”
While presenting, Representative Saine read from the document the following:
"Reposing special confidence in the integrity, learning and zeal of Reverend Joe Ervin, I, Governor Patrick McCrory, do by these presents confer The Order of the Long Leaf Pine with the rank of Ambassador Extraordinary, privileged to enjoy fully all rights granted to members of this exalted order, among which is the special privilege to propose the following North Carolina toast in select company anywhere in the free world:"
After the remarks, Saine kept with the tradition of offering a toast of the recipient by offering the first verse of the official North Carolina Toast, which is from a poem by Leonora Martin and Mary Burke Kerr.
With the congregation standing, Saine said in his toast:
“Here's to the land of the long leaf pine, The summer land where the sun doth shine, Where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great, Here's to down home, the Old North State!”
Rev. Ervin, now 85, has lived in Lincoln County for over a quarter of a century. He served as pastor of the Boger City church for 16 years from 1967 to 1983. After leaving the church, he spent many years doing missionary work and helping to build churches throughout western North Carolina and in other states. He and wife Rosalyn have two daughters and an adopted son — Susan Michael, Alice Lane Garaas and James Michael Pittman.
Reporter's Note: Our special thanks to Representative Saine for helping us with the information for this story and securing the photos for this article.
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