State, Claremont honor servant

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 Stanley’s 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 — a former Claremont city councilman, police officer and rescue responder — 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 governor’s award to Stanley’s wife, Brenda, during a special city council meeting at the police department.

“I am just overwhelmed at what all of y’all have done to continue his memory and his work,” Brenda said. “Most couples when they left for the day, they’d say ‘what you want for supper?’ 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.

“It’s 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,” Barrick said. “He touched a lot of people and made a big impact in small ways in this community.”

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 department’s training room after Stanley.

“P.J. was very instrumental in the renovation of the police department and making sure there was adamant space for a training room,” Barrick said. “He was the one who used that facility the most.”

Stanley trained not only law enforcement and rescue officials, but city workers as well, Barrick said.

“It was fitting for us to re-name that after him,” he said.

Brenda said the Long Leaf Pine award and memorial actions will help Stanley’s service and personality live on.

“He always had something going,” she said. “He loved this city and loved you all. And I can’t say enough how much I appreciate everything you’ve done.”

At Claremont’s 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.