Jane Lonon, executive director of the Ashe County Arts Council, was awarded the Order of the Longleaf Pine yesterday at a well-attended ceremony at the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce.
Lonon was presented her award by former N.C. House member Cullie Tarleton — himself a Longleaf Pine awardee — making her the latest on a list notable recipients which includes Maya Angelou, Coretta Scott King, Oprah Winfrey and Michael Jordan.
“[Jane] has been active here at the Chamber of Commerce, Christmas in July Festival, the Ashe Memorial Hospital Foundation and the hospital board, the Little Theater, the Choral Society, the list goes on and on,” Tarleton said.
Lonon has also received several other awards, he said, including Ashe County Volunteer of the Year, North Carolina Arts Council Volunteer of the Year, Governor’s Award for Volunteer Service, Chamber of Commerce Champion Award, Chamber of Commerce President’s Award, High Country Woman of the Year.
“[The Order of the Longleaf Pine] is the highest civilian award given by the governor to the citizens of North Carolina, and it is for years and years…of dedicated public service to this area and to the whole community, and for that we are all very, very grateful,” he said.
Tarleton presented the award on behalf of former Governor Bev Purdue. “We got this when Bev was still in office,” he said.
“I’m so humbled,” Lonon said. “There’s so much more than I want to do and so much more that I plan on doing.”
“This is not a retirement award,” Tarleton said.
Lonon said that her community service in Ashe County would not be possible without the help of her co-volunteers and the support of the community in general.
“Thank you for your support…your friendship…and the good things we’re going to keep doing together for Ashe County,” she said.