ROCKINGHAM — The Richmond County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday honored two people for their service to the community and approved new vehicles for the sheriff’s office.
Dennis Holloway with the North Carolina Baptist Men and Robin Roberts, president of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary to Post 4203, both received the Governor’s Award for Volunteer Service, the highest honor given by the state for volunteer service.
Holloway and the Baptist Men built 54 wheelchair ramps and participated in 38 military funerals in 2017. They are also active in disaster relief efforts both locally and around the country, sending representatives to help with repairs after Hurricanes Matthew and Harvey, as well as as the recent tornado in Greensboro.
Roberts is deeply involved in veterans activities at the local and state level and organized the first Veterans Day parade in Rockingham in more than 20 years in 2016, keeping it going in the year since. She also works to educate young people and the public about military service.
Holloway and Roberts both deferred credit for the awards to the members of their respective organizations.
Roberts said she does what she does because of her brother, Ronnie Charles Gainey, who has served in the military for more than 28 years, calling him her “hero.” She said she never expected to get this kind of an award.
“That’s my motivation — to be able to give back to the veteran community as a whole is very rewarding,” she said. “It it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be here today … I’m proud to be a veterans advocate for the county and the country.”
Holloway said he’d rather work for free than get paid. He said of the Baptist Men that though they may be aging — the average age is 65, according to Holloway — they continue to do important work for communities devastated by natural disasters and individuals who can’t help themselves.
“These guys, they relinquish their time all the time. I mean every Saturday,” Holloway said. “We work for God … we don’t deserve the credit. We give all the credit to God.”
The board approved a request for $417,770 to finance the purchase of voting machines and six new vehicles for the sheriff’s office. The subject of the sheriff’s office’s yearly requests for new vehicles was a hot-button issue at the board’s budget meeting in February, with Commissioner Ben Moss lamenting the financial strain the county put itself in to comply with their requests saying “it seems like it’s never enough lately.”
County Manager Bryan Land said funds for the sheriff’s office’s vehicles — which has received as many as 10 in previous years — were set aside the previous year under County Manager Rick Sago and were not the result of a direct effort by the current administration to reduce spending.
Land also announced that there is a new tenant in the building that formerly housed the McLaurin Center in Hamlet. The tenant, which he wasn’t able to name Tuesday night, is an out-of-state furniture manufacturer that plans to hire “about a dozen” new employees in the area.
The lease was signed Monday, according to Land.
“We’re thrilled to get someone willing to lease the space and also bring some jobs and investment to Richmond County and especially an area like Hamlet,” he said. “Hamlet needs it more than anybody.”
Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or [email protected]