Monday, 29 January 2018 00:17

Local Humanitarian Vancine Sturdivant Recognized with Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award

Written by
Rate this item
(0 votes)
Vancine Sturdivant (left) accepts The Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award from Vickie Daniel. Vancine Sturdivant (left) accepts The Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award from Vickie Daniel. Contributed photo.

WADESBORO, N.C. – What do Maya Angelou, Michael Jordan, and Pastor Billy Graham all have in common? They have all received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award. And last Saturday at the Lockhart Taylor Center in Wadesboro, a local woman joined the elite group.

Vancine Sturdivant, 64, is a native of Lilesville, N.C., and serves as the County Commissioner. However, her service to others doesn’t start or stop with her title. Sturdivant has donated much of her adult life to service which is why she was nominated to receive the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, among the most prestigious awards coming straight from the Governor’s desk.

The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, created in 1964, is an honor specific to North Carolina that is presented to an individual who has a proven record of extraordinary service to the state and their community for many, many years.  It is the second highest civilian honor that one can achieve in North Carolina, right after the North Carolina Award.

Vickie Daniel, the Clerk of Superior Court for Richmond County, presented the award at Anson County’s Toys for Tot Gratitude Banquet, of which she says, Sturdivant is “most deserving,”

Daniel was a key supporter of Sturdivant receiving the award. She reached out to former Senator Gene McLaurin to get information about the nomination process and to push for Sturdivant becoming a recipient.

She, along with Sheriff Landric Reid of Anson County and Attorney Fred Poisson, also of Anson County, sent letters of support to Governor Roy Cooper recommending Sturdivant to receive the honor.

“I have known Vancine for a very long time and she is like my sister. I tell her all the time the only thing that separates us is a bridge,” says Daniel candidly. “She is a true definition of what a recipient of this award should embody.

“She does a lot of good for people and is a true community servant,” Daniel continued. “She reaches all, regardless of race or creed, and that’s what we all should do.”

Sturdivant’s work in the community stretches wide. She began her humanitarian efforts back in the early 1990s, following her mother’s death. Her mother would feed the sick and homeless home cooked meals prepared by her own hand and deliver them to individuals throughout the county. And once she passed, Sturdivant and her husband picked up the reigns.

Sturdivant also does a coat drive called “Warm Coats, Warm Hearts”, which collects and buys coats, hats and gloves for the homeless and less fortunate. She goes into less desirable places of the county and delivers the goods herself.

She also does a lot of outreach for youth. She mentors and tutors at-risk youth and every year she does a back-to-school drive providing many with school supplies and uniforms.

Through her mentoring, Sturdivant got involved with Toys for Tots. One Christmas, one of the students mentioned that she wouldn’t be getting anything, so Sturdivant and her husband purchased toys for the student.

Word got around and other families reached out in need of support and they would help. It wasn’t long before the buzz reached others in higher positions in the community and Toys for Tot asked her to become coordinator for the area.

Sturdivant has purchased so much on her own, ranging from food, coats, school supplies and toys, that a local Dollar General is looking to forge a partnership with her to support her various projects.

“I am not worthy of it,” Sturdivant said of her recognition. “I don’t think I’ve done enough.

“It is my husband who should really be receiving this award because without him, I wouldn’t have  been able to do as much,” Sturdivant continued.

Sturdivant’s husband, William Lafayette Sturdivant, Sr., passed away in 2015. She even contributes her being alive today to her late husband.

On March 9, 2017, Sturdivant was involved in a head-on collision on her way to Richmond County to help someone in need. She was announced dead on the scene, but while clutching her husband’s jacket, she was airlifted to Chapel Hill and discharged just three days later.

One week later, with the help of some friends, she was back to delivering food to the sick and shut-in.

“That accident showed me that I am still here for a purpose and that purpose is to serve others,” Sturdivant said. “We all have three things that we can give, and that is our time, our talent and our treasure.”

If one is eve looking for Mrs. Vancine Sturdivant, she can be found cooking in a building in her backyard called Gumby’s, affectionately named in honor of her late husband. She’s there every Tuesday and Thursday preparing to deliver food to the homeless as she has done for the last 30 years.