East Spencer mayor receives Order of the Long Leaf Pine

Published 12:05 am Saturday, March 11, 2023

EAST SPENCER — Mayor Barbara Mallett is, among many other attributes, intensely humble, so when she received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine last Sunday, she insisted the award is one she shares with her community.

“This is an honor undeserved considering how many others have done such wonderful work,” she said, “but this is for my community. I am so proud East Spencer got this honor, it makes me want to cry.”

The award is one of the most prestigious presented by the governor of North Carolina, and is given to those who have a proven track record of extraordinary service to the state through contributions to their community, going above and beyond in their career or offering many years of service to civic organizations.

A person who is not a state employee who is nominated for the award must have three letters of recommendation to be considered, so Mallett said she had an inkling it might be coming, but she did not know it would come Sunday, when she was already being honored by her church with the annual Legacy of a Leader award.

State Rep. Harry Warren presented the award, and State Sen. Carl Ford presented Mallett with the flag that was flown over the state capitol in her honor.

Mallett has spent most of her career working for the town she and her husband call home.

“This has been a long time coming,” she said. “I am so proud of this (board of aldermen) because each of them have put in the time and the work to earn this, so this award is for them as well. We said ‘change the image, change the mindset’ of East Spencer, and that’s happening. They’ve done it. So this is an honor I share with all of them as well.”

And she is a long way from done. She notes the development of the Long Street corridor as a focal point going forward, cleaning up old, dilapidated structures and encouraging new development, business and residential.

“We have a wonderful team here and a wonderful community, all working together,” she said. “God truly is good to me, to us.”