RALEIGH – Five state employees with 45 years of public service have been honored with the 2022 Richard Caswell Award. The recipients, who work at four state agencies, are commended by Governor Roy Cooper and State Human Resources Director Barbara Gibson in a video message recognizing them for joining the distinguished ranks of long-serving employees who have earned the award established in tribute to North Carolina’s first governor.
Collectively, the five state employees have devoted more than 225 years to public service. Since 2015, 147 state employees have been recognized for their extraordinary duration of service, which reflects a cumulative total of more than 6,600 years.
“State employees are the backbone of our government,” said Governor Cooper. “Thanks to their dedication, North Carolina is an even stronger place to live, learn, work and raise a family. I’m grateful for their outstanding service to the people of our state.”
This year’s honorees include a former x-ray technician who now supervises the Radiologic Technology section at a skilled nursing facility for adults with neuro-cognitive disorders; the leader of a team that identified original markers to re-establish the North Carolina/South Carolina boundary as well as develop the N.C. Floodplain Mapping program; and an environmental specialist dedicated to identifying and controlling harmful substances emitted by industries to improve air quality statewide, and especially for those living in proximity to a fence line. It also includes two long-term elected Clerks of Superior Court, both of whom previously served with the N.C. State Highway Patrol.
Recipients of the 2022 Richard Caswell Award include:
- Deborah Howell of Fremont, O’Berry Neuro-Medical Treatment Center of the Department of Health and Human Services
- Gary W. Thompson of Clayton, Chief of the N.C. Geodetic Survey within the Department of Public Safety
- Karen Clevenger of Holly Springs, Environmental Specialist in the Air Quality Division of the Department of Environmental Quality
- Marcus D. Hammonds of Polkton, Anson County Clerk of Superior Court, Judicial Branch
- Michael John McArthur of Edenton, Chowan County Clerk of Superior Court, Judicial Branch
In the video message released this morning, Director Gibson commended the honorees for continuing to innovate during the work-related challenges of the pandemic and for being steadfast to service amid the “Great Resignation” – a national trend that saw a significant number of public and private workers leave their jobs.
“Each of you have worked hard, advanced through the ranks and earned the respect and affection of your peers,” Gibson said. “You are role models to all of us in state government.”
Richard Caswell was a Maryland native who dedicated most of his adult life to North Carolina. He was the first Orange County clerk of court before taking up arms during the Revolutionary War. He later became a member of the colonial assembly, where he was a champion for free public education.
With our young nation’s independence from Britain, Caswell became North Carolina’s first governor, serving from 1776-1780. He next served as state controller, returning to the job of chief executive from 1784-1787. Caswell also was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, then served again as a state senator. In 1789, at age 60, he suffered a fatal stroke while presiding over a senate session in Fayetteville.