MONROE – Judy Chapman is among elite company.
Chapman was honored by Gov. Roy Cooper on Aug. 29 when the Monroe resident was inducted into the Order of the Long Leaf Pine at a Union County Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is one of the most prestigious awards given out by the governor. It is awarded to persons for exemplary service to the state and their communities that is above and beyond the call of duty and to individuals that have made a significant impact and strengthened North Carolina.
Notable recipients of the award include the Rev. Billy Graham, Michael Jordan, Andy Griffith, Dale Earnhardt, Dean Smith and Richard Petty, to name a few.
Frank McGuirt was one of several individuals and businesses that nominated Chapman for the award, and the former Union County sheriff presented Chapman with her certificate of induction.
Chapman, who owns the Appleseed real estate firm in Monroe, held several positions in Union County government, including being the register of deeds and working in the county election office. She also worked in the office of the Secretary of State and for the N.C. Department of Corrections for many years.
“I’m honored to be asked by the governor to make this presentation to Judy,” McGuirt said. “We had a lot of support, including from two of the community colleges and from the business community, for this. Judy has always been active in the community and active in her church. She has also been active in civic organizations. Judy is just one of those all-around good citizens.”
Chapman, who just retired as a notary instructor after 35 years, said she was honored to receive the award.
“I appreciate the citizens of Union County,” Chapman said. “This award means a lot to me. It is rated as one of the highest awards in the state, so it really is an honor.”
While at the department of corrections, Chapman was a special assistant to the director of correction enterprises and she said that job was very satisfying. In her role, Chapman helped run a program where state prison inmates assemble products for local manufacturers in the state’s prisons that are then sold all over North Carolina.
“We were able to let business owners inside the prison to use inmate labor to manufacture products,” Chapman said. “It was like work release but reversed. Instead of the inmate going out, the employer came in. The businesses were responsible for training the inmates, supervising the inmates and paying the inmates. When the inmates got paid, they had to pay room and board for being in prison. They had to pay support, they had restitution and they had to pay taxes on that money. But the best part of that program was when the families came to visit, the kids would actually see that mom or dad are really working in prison. It gave them a pattern to go by to break that cycle of poverty.”