03/22/04 — Salute: Elks’ banquet deserves support

View Archive

Salute: Elks’ banquet deserves support

Goldsboro Elks Lodge 139 is to be congratulated for the planning that has gone into the Law Enforcement Appreciation Banquet to be held at the Lodge home Saturday, March 27. Special congratulations should go particularly to past Exalted Ruler Dennis Lewis, who chaired the committee arranging both the first and second banquets.

The program this year will be of special interest not only to law enforcement officers but to our military community and all veterans.

As a part of the affair, four individuals will be recognized with the state’s highest honor — the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

Widows of Sheriff’s Captain Jerry Best, Air Force Lt. Col. William Watkins and Capt. Eric Das will accept the awards on behalf of their husbands. Best was killed when struck by a vehicle at night while removing a dead deer from a highway. The two Air Force officers died during an F-15E combat mission in Iraq.

Wayne County’s R.C. Gregory will accept his Order of the Long Leaf Pine in person. He is the only local survivor of the Bataan Death March after being captured on Luzon in the Philippines during World War II.

In addition, Wesley Grey Singleton of Wayne County, who survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, will be presented a flag that has flown over the memorial built above the U.S.S. Arizona, which was sunk at Pearl Harbor during the attack.

Arrangements for the Long Leaf Pine awards were made by Chairman Lewis through the governor’s office.

Lewis scored another coup when he was able to secure Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake of the N.C. Supreme Court as featured speaker for the event. This was arranged through District Attorney Branny Vickory. In addition to an impressive career in the judicial system and in state government, Justice Lake served as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Army.

Of course, the broad focus of the evening will be on our law enforcement officers. They and their families are deserving of being honored and of our gratitude. They are on duty throughout our county and its cities and towns 24 hours a day. Today, they are the best trained and best equipped officers in history.

Their service demands not only dedication and often patience, but great courage. All too often they are taken for granted — until we find ourselves in need of their help.

Goldsboro Elks Lodge 139 provides an opportunity for all of us to stand in unison and salute these fine men and women and express our appreciation for their presence and their service.

Published in Editorials on March 22, 2004 11:00 AM