Friday, April 19, 2024

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Commissioners devise ‘cone’ of honor to pay tribute to outgoing county manager

Bryan Hagood has put up with plenty of needling since he announced his plans to retire as Alamance County’s manager. So, it was perhaps fitting that, as a formal farewell, Hagood should get a county-level award named for North Carolina’s state tree – the longleaf, or “loblolly,” pine.

During a meeting of Alamance County’s commissioners on Monday, the outgoing county manager was dubbed the inaugural recipient of the Cone of the Longleaf Pine – a local honor created specially to commemorate Hagood’s contributions to Alamance County.          Not to be confused with “the Order of the Long Leaf Pine” – a gubernatorial award that’s widely considered the state’s highest civilian honor – the Cone of the Longleaf is a distinction that has no official standing outside of Alamance County. The commissioners nevertheless found this localized take on the state-level award to be a suitable way to pay tribute to Hagood’s long-standing service to Alamance County.

“He’s been in Alamance County government for 27 years,” commissioner Craig Turner said when he announced Hagood’s honorific on Monday. “He bleeds Alamance County. He’s passionate for Alamance County…So, in coming up with how to best honor Bryan, some of us thought that it might be a good idea if we had a similar award that we could start tonight and call it the ‘Cone of the Longleaf Pine.’”

Turner went on to concede that, with Hagood slated to leave the county’s employ on March 31, the commissioners were hard pressed to have a commemorative plaque inscribed for him before his departure. So, in lieu of plaque, he presented the outgoing county manager with a tote bag filled with pine cones that he said were either found beneath the state’s oldest longleaf pine tree or hurriedly collected by the county’s recreation director from his own yard before Monday’s meeting.

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Hagood, for his part, accepted the award in the spirit that it was presumably intended.

“I consider this quite an honor,” the outgoing county manager said. “I prefer this to the Order of the Long Leaf. This is pure Alamance County.”

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