Unsung hero honored

Published 11:32 am Thursday, December 14, 2017

WINTON – A tree is no stronger than the roots that offer support.

The same can be said for one individual within Hertford County local government who has provided steady and solid support, not to mention worthy advice, for those who lead the county, past and present.

Last week, Hertford County local government officials honored Charles “Chuck” Revelle III. The Murfreesboro-based attorney serves as legal counsel to the Hertford County Board of Commissioners, and County Manager Loria Williams as well as the county’s Department of Social Services Board for the past 40 years.

“I’m going to try not to get emotional about this,” said Williams as she grasped a gift-wrapped box in front of her work station on the Commission panel at the board’s regularly scheduled meeting on Dec. 6.

Williams presents Revelle with a plaque of appreciation for his long service to the county.

“It doesn’t matter how often we call, what time of day or night we call, or regardless of who calls, Chuck gives the matter his full attention,” Williams added. “He gives us great counsel; his counsel is top-notch. If you ask him a question about county government, he has the answer. His counsel is often not all legal jargon, but rather what’s in the best interest of an individual and the citizens of this county.”

As for the reason that prompted the special recognition, Williams said she did not want Revelle’s service to be overlooked on this milestone of his career.

“Between the DSS Board and this Board of County Commissioners, Attorney Revelle has served this county for 40 years,” she stated.

“He know where all the bodies are buried,” Williams laughed. “His longevity, his continuity has served us well. I can’t put into words exactly the impact he has made over all these years.”

The plaque read: Certificate of Achievement presented to Charles L. Revelle III in recognition of your 40 years of service to Hertford County. Congratulations on reaching this significant milestone in your career. Thank you for your effort and dedication to our organization.

“Thank you for all these years of holding our hand and giving us a great deal of guidance,” Williams said in presenting Revelle with the plaque.

“This is quite a surprise,” Revelle remarked, still showing a stunned look on his face. “This is a nice surprise.”

Revelle said he grew up in Hertford County, a native of Murfreesboro.

“When I went off to college, I swore I’d never come back,” he recalled. “But I did come home 40 years ago and went to work.

“Hertford County is a special place,” Revelle continued. “The (county) staff, the elected officials are very important to me. I think what’s been the most gratifying to me over all these years is to see how all the boards have worked together. A lot of people have come into office with perhaps an idea of how they are going to change things. That’s not to say there haven’t been some things that were in need of change and over my 40 years I’ve seen change, often for the better, but what’s important is working together…..sitting back and listening to folks and not reacting immediately, rather first studying the issues very closely.”

Revelle said the county staff “goes the extra mile to help people.”

“Offices may close at 5 o’clock, but there are still people working after that time, trying to do the best they can for the people of this county,” he stressed. “Again, this recognition is most meaningful to me.”

He had special words for Williams.

“Working with you is such a joy,” Revelle remarked, turning his attention to the County Manager. “You always have the best interests of Hertford County at heart and it shows every day.”

Each of the commissioners shared their thoughts about Revelle’s longevity and work ethic.

“I didn’t know Chuck until becoming a county commissioner, but I soon found out and also found out what a great job he does for this county,” said Ronald Gatling.

“I’ve served four terms, and four years as (board) chairman,” said Johnnie Ray Farmer. “I remember my first-ever time as chairman. The county was involved in a lawsuit at that time and I had to represent the county in federal court in Elizabeth City. I found out the value of Chuck Revelle in that instance. He did all the talking (in court) and we won the case.”

Farmer also mentioned two other occasions when he served as board chairman…..one during a time of massive flooding from a hurricane where Revelle “took the bull by the horns when dealing with FEMA” and another instance involving all the politics surrounding the decision to build a new courthouse outside of Winton.

“Chuck always provide the right advice; he knows how things work,” Farmer said. “That’s why we’ve kept him for 40 years. When in doubt, we always call Chuck. He has the legal answers. He’s an unsung hero that works behind the scenes to make this a great county.”

“You run across certain people in your life that make a difference in what you do and how you do it,” said Bill Mitchell. “I first met Chuck when I sought this office in 2008 and since that time he’s been very special to me. Chuck will give you an opinion and I’ve learned that what he says is worth taking heed to. Thank you, Chuck, for what you’ve done for me and for this county. Congratulations on your 40 years of service and I want to be here when that turns into 50.”

“I’m new to this board, but the last time I heard so many accolades about one person was at a funeral,” said John Horton to the roar of laughter from the board and those seated in the audience. “Congratulations to you for your 40 years of service to this county.”

“Today (Dec. 4) marks my 19th year as a commissioner, so I’ve worked with Chuck for nearly 20 years,” said Curtis Freeman, who was elected chairman by his board colleagues earlier in the meeting. “One of the first things I learned as a young buck on this board was to look down at Chuck when I spoke to make sure I was saying the right thing. The look on his face would assure me I was okay or not.

“If I ever had any questions, and let me say there has never been anyone sitting on this board or any board that knows everything, I turned to Chuck,” Freeman added. “He knows county government better than anyone I’ve ever run across in my 19 years on this board. He has the answers and I thank him for all he has done for this county and for the citizens.”

Afterwards, Revelle was gracious over all those kind remarks.

“I do not own up to knowing each and every little thing, but what I will give you is my best judgment,” Revelle stressed. “That’s all anybody can do.”

He closed by sharing a serious, but funny story.

“Back in Hurricane Floyd (1999) and this county was separated (by flooding) into nine islands, I had gone out looking for gasoline for my generator at home,” Revelle recalled. “While on the street in Murfreesboro, I get blue-lighted by Sheriff (Juan) Vaughan and (Murfreesboro) Police Chief (Darrell) Rowe who needed an emergency declaration in order to cut off alcohol sales.

“They knew my vehicle and saw me on the street,” he continued. “I had my then four-year-old daughter with me at the time. So I went to my office and typed up the declaration on a manual typewriter. When we got home, my daughter tells my wife, ‘Mom, the Sheriff and the Police Chief arrest daddy.’ That’s the life you lead as a county attorney.”

And he’s done so for 40 years with a sense of always doing what’s right, fair, and in the best interest of Hertford County.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

email author More by Cal