Watson Receives Order Of The Long Leaf Pine

Mrs. E. Marie Watson, Executive Director for Johnston-Lee-Harnett Community Action, Inc. based in Smithfield has received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

The presentation was made on July 19th.

“Johnston, Lee and Harnett counties are a better place to live, work, play and grow because of the leadership of Marie Watson,” said Sharon C. Goodson, Executive Director of the NC Community Action Association. We applaud Governor Roy Cooper for his recognition of someone who has given decades of her life to help the less advantaged.”

David Barber with KS Bank, a member of the Johnston-Lee-Harnett Board of Directors and Representative of the Disadvantaged Sector said, “I have had the pleasure to serve on the Board of Directors of Johnston-Lee-Harnett Community Action for almost 25 years while Mrs. Watson has been the Executive Director and I cannot think of anyone person any more deserving of this prestigious award than Mrs. Watson.   Over the years, I have been impressed with her leadership skills, her passion for helping others, and her commitment to the communities that we serve.”

“During her tenure as Executive Director, the agency has expanded from just serving Johnston County, to also serving Lee and Harnett Counties, and as of today, she is managing a staff of 170 employees located in three counties along with overseeing a total annual budget of over $10 million dollars for the agency,” Barber added. “Mrs. Watson has also been a leader outside of the agency serving her community as a leader in her church, and she has also served in several positions in statewide Community Action associations.  She also has a passion for her co-workers and it is not unusual for employees to work for her for many years with several working with her up until their retirement.    As a Board Member, we are very proud and honored to have Mrs. Watson as our Executive Director, and we certainly agree that she is most deserving of this award and honor, as Mrs. Watson has never been the type of person to bring attention to herself as she is always thinking of others, so we are excited for her and we are glad that the Governor has recognized her lifetime commitment to serving others.”

“I’m humbled by such an honor from Governor Cooper and the State of North Carolina for recognizing me for what I feel we all should do on a daily basis serve others,” Watson told WTSB.

The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is among the most prestigious awards conferred by the Governor of North Carolina.  It is awarded to individuals for exemplary service to the State of North Carolina and to those who make a significant impact in their communities.