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Sheriff honored with Order of the Long Leaf Pine

Sheriff Charlie McDonald didn’t know why he had been called to the Board of Commissioners meeting in the Historic Courthouse on Monday night but admitted that he “smelled a rat.”

When Commission Chairman Michael Edney began reading list of his career achievements — patrol deputy hired by Sheriff Ab Jackson, undercover drug detective, special operations instructor at home and abroad, appointed to lead the department when the Sheriff’s Office was in crisis and then elected to the job in a landslide, a reformer who put in programs to reduce break-ins and other crimes — it became clear that an honor was in his very near future.

Edney presented him with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, which honors North Carolinians for a life of extraordinary achievement and service to their communities and the state.
“I would be less than honest if I didn’t tell you that that any success I’ve had has truly been on the shoulders and help of my administrative team and my deputies and staff and jailers,” said McDonald, who lost his re-election bid in May in a Republican primary race with Lowell Griffin. “I think the only heartache for me is leaving sooner than I anticipated but I believe I leave you with one of the best sheriff’s department’s in the state of North Carolina and I truly beleive it will continue to be so.”

He praised his wife, Jennie, for her support throughout his law enforcement career. "Certainly it's been a sacrifice for her, not only the last 25 years but probably more particularly these last seven," he said. "It's really been one of the most humbling experiences of my entire life."