Editorial: Best friend of our city remembered

Feb. 24, 2014 @ 11:06 PM

Henderson has lost one of its best friends. And many people throughout Vance County and the surrounding area will agree they have, as well.

No matter how large or small, every community should have someone like Sam Watkins. For those that do, they count their blessings.

Nearly 30 years ago, in 1985, Watkins was given one of his county’s highest honors. He was named the Citizen of the Year, symbolic of the desire through volunteer work to make our community a better place to live.

More than a decade ago, in summer of 2001, he was recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, generally recognized as the highest civilian honor given by the governor’s office.

Those accolades are marks in time on the journey Watkins traveled. Remarkably, in the highest tribute to his resilience and outpouring of love through deed and action, he just might have done more after those awards.

Resting on laurels wasn’t the Sam Watkins way.

It wasn’t the way for Henderson and Vance County to be improved, and it wasn’t the way for a community to thrive. Watkins knew that as well as anyone. Through sharp decision-making, he found ways to success.

Want to make sure a project was going to be successful? Tell Sam Watkins it couldn’t be done. Go ahead and give him a list of reasons why. Many adjectives describe people of such character, but the bottom line is he could get to the place others could not.

For those willing, he’d carry them along and utilize their talents better than they could have imagined.

Trees couldn’t block his view of the forest. He always knew there was a path within it.

Sam Watkins had willingness. That’s a trait too often leaving our society today.

We’re accustomed to the handouts rather than humbly accepting the hand up.

Watkins’ hands were never idle. He wanted better lives for all those around him, trying to bring jobs and economic fortune to the community. He knew that in unity, with positive spirit and bond, we could all prosper together.

Our community was fortunate to have Sam Watkins. We can honor him by acting in the spirit that defined his life.

We’ve lost one of Henderson’s very best friends.