RALEIGH —N.C. Department of Insurance employee Jim Crooke, a native of Hamlet, received one of the state’s highest honors from a fellow Hamlet native — his boss.
Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, who grew up in Hamlet and has previously represented Richmond County in the state House, recently presented Crooke with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine upon Crooke’s retirement from the state insurance department.
Crooke’s retirement began Tuesday. Goodwin presented him with the framed Long Leaf Pine certificate among other awards at a celebration attended by agency Controller Bennie Aiken and Crooke’s division co-workers.
Goodwin was elected to four terms in the North Carolina House before serving as assistant insurance commissioner and being elected to lead the state Department of Insurance in 2008. His wife, Melanie Goodwin, served three state House terms and now is a deputy commissioner at the N.C. Industrial Commission.
The governor names Tar Heel State residents who have demonstrated extraordinary service to North Carolina to the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. State employees nominated for the award typically receive it when they retire.