Pierce made a difference in Hertford County

Published 9:04 am Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sunday afternoon I came out of church and found a message on my cell phone.

That in itself wasn’t unusual. It was when I heard the words left on my phone by Howard Hunter that my breath left me for a moment.

“Commissioner John Pierce died this morning.”

Even as I type them now, those words send a shiver down my spine. It is still almost as unbelievable today (Wednesday) as it was Sunday.

I spent quite a bit of time talking to John Pierce during the time he served on the board as a Hertford County Commissioner. At two different points during the time he was on the board, covering that board was part of my assignment.

I’ve never made any secret about how much I have always enjoyed covering the Hertford County Commissioners. They are a good group of men who I believe work hard for the citizens and who have their best interest at heart.

During the four years he served on the Hertford County Commission, John Pierce was indeed the consummate Commissioner. The other members of the board often kidded with him about being on duty 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

While they did it in jest, it was very much true. John Pierce never stopped being a commissioner. He was available to any citizen, no matter who it was and no matter what time it was. That was just the type of man he was.

Even after he left office, he continued to care about the community. He wanted to do everything he could to help the people of his home county. As recently as February, he was at the commission meeting offering his service on various boards appointed by the Hertford County Commissioners.

While all of those things made him an excellent commissioner, they were only a part of the excellent person John Pierce was. He was a family man, a church man and a community man. He was about those things every day.

During the early months of last year I spent an entire morning with John Pierce during a special celebration in Harrellsville. We walked around and looked at the cars on display, ate a hot dog and talked about the county. He talked about how much he still hoped to accomplish and how much he was beginning to come into his own as a member of the board.

We had a good morning of fellowship and friendly discussion. It is a time I will treasure always.

When people take the time to look back at the life of John Pierce, they will remember his services to the Winton Rescue Squad or his time serving on the Hertford County Board of Education or Hertford County Commission. They will think about his work with the shipyard and his love for family and fellow man.

Hopefully, they will also remember that John Pierce was a man whose life made a difference in the lives of others. That is a true testament of any man.

Thadd White is Sports Editor and Staff Writer of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. He can be reached at 332-7211 or via email at thadd.white@r-cnews.co