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During his lifetime, public servant P.J. Stanley touched the lives of many Claremont and Catawba County residents.
The governor of North Carolina honored that service this week.
The office of Gov. Bev Perdue issued Stanleyâs family the Order of the Long Leaf Pine award during a ceremony at Claremont Police Department.
It is the highest award that the governor can issue a citizen of the state.
Stanley â a former Claremont city councilman, police officer and rescue responder â died Sept. 21 after a short fight with leukemia. In addition to being a 30-year veteran of the Claremont Police Department and rescue squad, Stanley served as a city councilman from 1987 until he died.
On Monday, Claremont gave the governorâs award to Stanleyâs wife, Brenda, during a special city council meeting at the police department.
âI am just overwhelmed at what all of yâall have done to continue his memory and his work,â Brenda said. âMost couples when they left for the day, theyâd say âwhat you want for supper?â My question was always 'will you be home for supper?'"
Claremont City Manager Doug Barrick said N.C. Rep. Mitchell Setzer fought for Stanley to receive the award after being contacted by the city.
âItâs amazing for him and his wife to know how much the governor and state cared for P.J. and saw the impact he had on this region,â Barrick said. âHe touched a lot of people and made a big impact in small ways in this community.â
The city of Claremont also honored Stanley on Monday, announcing the creation of a P.J. Stanley Memorial Scholarship Fund. Money from the fund will benefit Catawba Valley and Mitchell community college students studying in the fire, police or rescue fields, Barrick said.
To help raise money for the fund, Claremont formed a committee that will include Barrick, a city council member, a ranking officer from the police, fire and rescue departments and a public citizen, he said.
Claremont will also re-name the police departmentâs training room after Stanley.
âP.J. was very instrumental in the renovation of the police department and making sure there was adamant space for a training room,â Barrick said. âHe was the one who used that facility the most.â
Stanley trained not only law enforcement and rescue officials, but city workers as well, Barrick said.
âIt was fitting for us to re-name that after him,â he said.
Brenda said the Long Leaf Pine award and memorial actions will help Stanleyâs service and personality live on.
âHe always had something going,â she said. âHe loved this city and loved you all. And I canât say enough how much I appreciate everything youâve done.â
At Claremontâs meeting Monday night, officials also:
Adopted a fats, oils and grease ordinance that will create the most affective policy for the city and the least costly policy for the citizens.