Friday, 14 December 2018 15:46

Berry, McInnis honored by Lumber River Council of Governments

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Ellerbe Mayor Lee Berry, left, stands with Fairmont Mayor Charles Townsend after being presented with the first-ever Leon Maynor Local Leadership Award from the Lumber River Council of Governments by Fairmont Mayor Ellerbe Mayor Lee Berry, left, stands with Fairmont Mayor Charles Townsend after being presented with the first-ever Leon Maynor Local Leadership Award from the Lumber River Council of Governments by Fairmont Mayor Courtesy: Lumber River Council of Governments

PEMBROKE — Two Richmond County leaders were recognized Thursday night with awards from the Lumber River Council of Governments.

Ellerbe Mayor Lee Berry was presented with the first-ever Leon Maynor Local Leadership Award.

The award is named in honor of a former long-term Lumber River Council of Governments Board member and Lumberton city councilman.

Berry has led Ellerbe in revamping the town’s code of ordinances, organizing the downtown merchants, regionalizing its wastewater system with the  city of Rockingham, and working to change the appearance and safety of the town through a strong program of code enforcement. He has worked side-by-side with his commissioners to make a number of necessary increases in the water and sewer rates, and, recently, a property tax increase.

A press release from the LRCOG stated: “Mayors in these small towns are not only responsible for being the visible head of the town, but they must also work to help run the day-to-day operations of the town business and help their board set a long-range vision for their community.”

Berry is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and is the owner of The Berry Patch, the home of the world’s largest strawberry, which has been recognized

and featured in The Smithsonian Magazine, the Tarheel Traveler, Our State Magazine, Roadside America and Carolina Country over the past three years. 

“The award was to me, but as I say, I am only as good as my clerk, tax collector, public works director and the maintenance men that work for the town of Ellerbe … and the Ellerbe Town Council’s men and women,” Berry said Friday afternoon. 

He added that it was “an honor to receive the award and serve as the mayor of the best town in Richmond County.”

Richmond Community College President Dr. Dale McInnis was named Workforce Development Board Member of the Year.

That award is named in honor of the late Dr. Stanley Richardson, a devoted board member and a longtime educator from Bladen County, who was an avid advocate for youth and education during his tenure.

McInnis’ career has been focused on education through community colleges. He started as the lead instructor for business administration prior to moving into college administration, and was named president in 2010.

“I’m just honored that they selected me,” McInnis said Friday. “There are a lot of good people on that board from Richmond, Scotland, Hoke, Bladen and Robeson counties. The board does important work and we’re all trying to make our communities stronger.”

In addition to serving as a Lumber River Workforce Development Board Member, he also chairs the Workforce Development Evaluation Committee. McInnis also serves on several other local boards in Richmond and Scotland counties

His award will be presented at the next board meeting.