Janice Hill wasn’t shocked when she found out.
The wife of Walter Hill, who was recently named a recipient of The Order of the Long Leaf Pine award, Janice knew her husband’s years of service to the community were worthy of recognition.
“I wasn’t surprised because I knew he was an exemplary employee,” Janice, who’s been married to Walter 27 years, said. “I didn’t know, though, he was nominated. It’s very prestigious.”
Walter Hill, of Pinebluff, received The Order of the Long Leaf Pine award for his outstanding service to North Carolina. Contributed photo.
Conferred by the governor of North Carolina, The Order of the Long Leaf Pine honors individuals for outstanding service to the state and their communities that goes beyond expectations and has made substantial impact. The award was created in 1963.
Unlike Janice, Walter didn’t see the honor coming.
“It caught me by surprise,” he said. “I didn’t know anything until I got it.”
A resident of Pinebluff – where he’s lived for 27 years – Walter retired from his job at the Cumberland Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Fayetteville in September. He spent nine years working at the facility. Before that, he was employed at a youth development center in Candor, before it closed, for 25 years.
Originally from Southern Pines, Walter spent seven years in the United States Army, rising to the rank of sergeant.
“My last three years were at Fort Bragg,” he said.
Walter credits his mother for instilling the principles that paved the way for his contributions to society.
“She was a single parent raising three kids,” he said. “She did it on her own.”
“Walter puts a lot of thought into what he does,” Janice said. “He’s dedicated and very conscientious.”
Janice and Walter are the parents of Caitlin Hill, of Charlotte, who graduated from UNC Charlotte.
In his spare time, Walter enjoys making music. It’s something he’s been doing for decades.
“I’m a musician. I play drums and percussion,” Walter said. “I’ve been doing it all my life. I play for the church. I’ve also played professionally over the years.”
When asked what he likes best about Pinebluff, Walter offered a quick response.
“It’s quiet,” he said.
Among notables who’ve received The Order of the Long Leaf Pine are Maya Angelou, Dale Earnhardt, Andy Griffith, Junior Johnson, Michael Jordan, Gaylord Perry, Dean Smith and Richard Petty.
Feature photo: Walter Hill plays the drums at church. Contributed photo.
~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Dave Lukow.