NEWTON, NC (Dec. 7, 2016)—Newton City Council member and former mayor Tom Rowe was recently awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, one of North Carolina’s highest civilian honors.
State Rep. Mitchell Setzer presented the award to Rowe during the Newton City Council meeting on Dec. 6.
“Oftentimes we don’t take time to thank the people who have served the community, and they may think that their actions go unnoticed,” Setzer said. “Today is not going to be one of those days. Today, I have the honor of recognizing a member of the council who has served this city well. In my entire lifetime, he has always been someone who put the city first.”
Rowe has served continuously on Newton City Council since 1983. He was elected mayor of Newton in 1993 and served one term before returning to his seat as a council member, a position he holds to this day.
“Representing the people of Newton for so many years has been a great honor, and it is an honor for me to be awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine,” Rowe said. “I am very surprised and thankful.”
A retired land surveyor and volunteer firefighter, Rowe is a graduate of Newton-Conover High School and a veteran of the U.S. Army Reserves. He is active with the Newton Kiwanis Club and Newton Depot Authority. He lives in Newton with his wife, Jane, and is a member of Grace Reformed United Church of Christ.
Rowe said some of the most memorable accomplishments during his time as a council member and mayor include the annexation of the Startown community into the city of Newton and the construction of the current Newton Fire Department Headquarters. He said he is proud to have been able to support Newton’s recreation programs and economic development initiatives over the years.
“Serving a community as an elected official for more than 30 years is a rare accomplishment; serving a community with the integrity and effectiveness of Tom Rowe is almost unheard of,” Newton Mayor Anne P. Stedman said. “Tom is always ready to assist our residents and businesses. He puts in the time needed to understand the complex challenges we face, and he works every day to make Newton a better place. I can’t think of a more worthy recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, and I congratulate him on the award and his many years of dedicated service.”
The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is among the most prestigious awards presented by the governor of North Carolina. It is awarded for exemplary service to the State of North Carolina and the community that is above and beyond the call of duty. The award is granted to citizens who stand out in their communities, who have devoted their lives to serving others, and whose efforts have made a significant impact and strengthened North Carolina.
Pictured from left are Nancy Rowe, Jane Rowe, Jack Miles, Tom Rowe, State Rep. Mitchell Setzer, Davis Miles, and Mary Lynn Miles.