Edwards receives state’s highest honor

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 4, 2007

JACKSON – On his last day of work, Wendell Edwards was still not quite sure what he’ll do during retirement.

“I have some tentative plans,” he said. “I’ll fish and garden a little bit, do a little traveling.”

In between all the fishing, gardening and traveling, the Potecasi resident will have to find time to frame and hang the Order of the Long Leaf Pine in his home.

The former executive director for the Choanoke Public Transportation Authority (CPTA) received the highest civilian honor in the state of North Carolina on March 23 at his retirement party.

“He’s well deserving of this award,” said North Carolina House Representative Michael Wray (D-27th) who nominated and presented Edwards with honor.

The Order of the Long Leaf Pine pays tribute to state employees who have served North Carolina for 30 or more years and is given by the governor.

“He’s a man of great knowledge and gave me a lot of knowledge,” said Pamela Perry, the new Executive Director of CPTA.

Perry said she will continue Edwards’ work and CPTA will continue to serve Bertie, Halifax, Hertford and Northampton counties.

Edwards’ 34 year career with the state began in the early 1970s when he started work with the Choanoke Area Development Association.

In 1977, a resolution was adopted by Bertie, Halifax, Hertford and Northampton counties forming CPTA, the first rural transportation in the state, providing the four counties with public transportation.

CPTA began operating on its own in 1983 with Edwards serving as executive director of the entity and continued for 24 years until his last day of work, which was on March 30.

Edwards also has been active in the community through church, the Northampton County Rotary Club and serves on the board of directors for the Northampton County Chamber of Commerce.

“It was a great honor,” said Edwards about receiving the award. “I just couldn’t believe it.”

As for a place for Edwards’ newly acquired award, he said he’ll hang it in his den.

“Where all can see it,” he said.