Democratic Party awards recognize unique contributions
For its annual convention in Shelby April 8, the Cleveland County Democratic Party created and presented awards named to epitomize the unique contributions of some who’ve meant much to the community and party.
 The Rev. Robert E. Devoe of Shelby, left, received “The Steadfast Award,” and Mary Degree of Shelby, right, earned “The Dynamo Award.” Both were present at the convention 
to receive them and hearty thanks and congratulations from those attending.

CCDP also recognized three others unable to attend the convention. Mary Accor of Grover was honored with  “The Stepping Up Award.” The “Courage of Convictions Award” went to Dean and Carolyn Westmoreland of Grover. 

The extra-special “Heart Award” went to Jack and Ruby Hunt of Lattimore, and Jack, 94, was there to receive it in person along with a standing ovation and lots of hugs from old friends and handshakes from a younger generation learning of the Hunts’ contributions to community and good government over decades.

Inscriptions on the award certificates:

Mary DegreeThe Dynamo Award: For committing her head, heart, hands, and feet to the causes she believes in, unstintingly stepping forward to do the work of making a positive difference in people’s lives.

The Rev. Robert E. DevoeThe Steadfast Award: For his enduring advocacy for the equality of all people, over a lifetime’s work, in deeds, in message, in example.

Jack and Ruby Hunt, The Heart Award: For their vision and values, held to and acted upon over their lifetimes, providing us the example, motivation, and inspiration to go forward, unflagging.

Dean and Carolyn Westmoreland, The Courage of Convictions Award: For exemplifying and communicating consistently over decades the values and vision we Democrats stand for.

Mary Accor, The Stepping Up Award: For responding with her personal efforts over many years when the call for leadership and support has come from county, community, church, and party.

The Hon. Jack Hunt at the 2017 CCDP convention, with daughters Cindy Martin, left, and Penny Corn, right.


Cleveland Dems: Jack and Ruby Hunt's 
vision and values 'are here in our hearts'

John J. (Jack) Hunt, now 94, served us as representative in the North Carolina House for 22 years, during one of the most progressive times in Tar Heel history. He served four years as House speaker pro tempore. As impactful, he and Ruby, his wife and life partner, wove a remarkable story of service and achievement in philanthropy and support for community and state.  Their story is told in a narrated slide presentation shown at the dedication of the Hunt School of Nursing at Gardner-Webb University. (Text of narrative here.) 

In presenting the Hunts the special CCDP "Heart Award" at the party's annual convention April 8,  secretary Pat Poston cited a recent feature article by D. G. Martin, published statewide,  asking “Where are Ruby and Jack Hunt when you need them?”—recalling how their smarts, skill, charm, and Ruby’s cooking so often brought political opponents together to good solutions. She read excerpts from Hunt’s “farewell address” upon his retirement from the state legislature in 1996, in a legislative environment far different from today's.

In that address, Hunt listed items in his “hope chest” for the legislature and state. Of course, these “hopes” included balanced budget and sound finances, maintaining a triple-A bond rating, and improving infrastructure, Poston said. But there were also these aspirational “hopes” for North Carolinians:
  • That we’ll “always be aware of and love and care and share” with the less fortunate.
  • That we fulfill responsibility for education of children—“make their future brighter and, thus, our state better.”
  • -That (perhaps greatest wish) prejudices and racism will disappear.
  • -That we restore confidence in government and elected officials, by example and education.
  • -That we would be aggressive in keeping North Carolina a progressive state. “Be strong and forthright and courageous in this continuing endeavor. Sophocles said, ‘Fortune is not on the side of the fainthearted.’”
Poston said Hunt’s items "live on in Democrats’ collective hope chest, motivating and inspiring us today.” 

So when the question comes “where are Ruby and Jack Hunt when we need them?”, she said, Cleveland Dems have an answer. “You two are in our hearts. We are not fainthearted. And we will carry on.”