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Community dedicates Charles D. Messer Human Services Building

Members of Charlie Messer's family pose for a photo in front of the sign naming the human services building for him. [AMY B. McCRAW/Hendersonville Lightning] Members of Charlie Messer's family pose for a photo in front of the sign naming the human services building for him. [AMY B. McCRAW/Hendersonville Lightning]

Charlie Messer did his best to serve his community whether on the job in his store or while making decisions as a Henderson County Commissioner, friends, family and fellow commissioners said Friday during a ceremony to dedicate a county building in his honor.

The Henderson County Board of Commissioners voted to rename the public health and social services building the Commissioner Charles D. Messer Human Services Building after the veteran commissioner died unexpectedly in July at age 66.

Commissioner Michael Edney described Messer as a smart man who made good, common sense decisions often informed by the grassroots opinions he heard from customers at Charlie's on the Creek, his convenience store in Hoopers Creek.
“His heart was with the folks who came in the store,” Edney said during the ceremony to mark the renaming. “He understood the consequences of the actions he took and the board took.”
Messer served on the Henderson County Board of Commissioners beginning in 2000. Voters reelected him to the board in 2004,2008, 2012 and 2016. He served in Fletcher’s town government before seeking election to the county board.
Messer also ran the store throughout his years in public life. His family continues to operate it.
“We are honored and thankful for this,” Messer’s wife, Sheila, told commissioners, family members, friends and other county leaders gathered Friday morning outside the human services building on Spartanburg Highway. “Charlie would be humbled.”
She added that her husband probably would not have wanted people making such a fuss over him.
“He was a quiet man,” she said. “He just wanted to look out after people and take care of them.”

A cold wind threatened to overturn a pop-up tent set up for the ceremony as several speakers remembered Messer’s dedication to serving his community.
Naming the human services building in Messer’s honor was only fitting considering that Messer always made service to others a priority in his life, County Commission Chair William Lapsley said. Lapsley remembered Messer as a friend and mentor.
“Everyone working on the north side of the county stopped at the store and ran into Charlie,” he said. “He always knew what was going on in the community.”
Rebecca McCall, vice chair of the Board of Commissioners, said that Messer was well-known among his peers for his long service as a leader of the N.C. Association of County Commissioners.
“As soon as you met him, he was your friend,” she said. “He was loved across the state. His legacy lives on throughout the state.”
The health and human services building serves many of the needs people have in the community, McCall said. When county leaders began trying to find some way to honor Messer, she said, naming that building for him seemed appropriate given his dedication to serving people.
“What special thing could we do for Charlie?” she said. “This building just seemed to stand out.”
Several county leaders and staff members also attended the ceremony but did not speak.
Emergency Medical Services Director Jimmy Brissie said he came out to support Messer’s family.
“Charlie was a tremendous supporter of public safety," he said. "His hand can be seen in a lot of improvements throughout public safety."
Messer’s daughter, Shalon Pierce and her husband, Travis, thanked the county for honoring Messer.
“Thank you,” his daughter said during the ceremony. “Thank you for loving my dad.”