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Lawyer, legend Richard Wright awarded The Order of the Long Leaf Pine

O. Richard Wright, left, receives The Order of the Long Leaf Pine from state Rep. Brenden Jones. (Deuce Niven, TLT)


     A bit delayed and perhaps even more appreciated as a result, Tabor City attorney, former lawmaker and genealogy aficionado O. Richard Wright was awarded The Order of the Long Leaf Pine Friday afternoon.

     Family and friends, nearly 100, crowded the fellowship hall at Tabor City Baptist Church for the formal presentation from state Rep. Brenden Jones, who like Wright decades earlier represents both his home town and county in the state House of Representatives.

     Jones had planned to make the presentation during the annual banquet of the Greater Tabor City Chamber of Commerce earlier this year, but because of circumstances beyond his control was unable to get to that event.

     Speaking without notes, Jones said Wright was as deserving as anyone ever has been to receive “the highest civilian achievement one can reach in this state…

     “Richard has accomplished so many things, where would one start?” Jones asked before saying that serving in the House as Wright did left him with “some big shoes to fill.”

     Only the governor can award The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, and a member of the opposite party recommending someone can be difficult.

     “But Richard’s life and legacy gave the governor no reason but to award this,” Jones said. “Per his staff, they said we’ve never had a resume this strong ever presented. And the governor was honored to do this. He wanted me to let you know that it was an honor for him to sign.”


     Wright expressed gratitude for the many family members who attended, the community that has supported him during his life, and the faith he credited for his success.

     “It’s a wonderful life and I appreciate it,” Wright said. “I feel like those characters Huckleberry Finn and that other guy in Mark Twain’s book, they got lost and they finally came back and they saw a crowed and they listened to their own funeral.

     “I feel like I’ve listened to my own funeral,” Wright said to laughter and applause.

     Refreshments prepared by the Greater Tabor City Chamber of Commerce were enjoyed in the Tabor City Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, where the presentation was made.

     Look for more on this story in the next Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.