Distinguished Service Award

The Distinguished Service Award was established in 1970 and is given to a person other than a county official who, in the judgment of the Board of Directors, has rendered a truly outstanding and distinctive service to the cause of improving local government above and beyond his usual duties or occupation.

YearRecipientService(s) to Association
1970State Representative Samuel H. JohnsonChairman, Local Government Study Commission, 1967-1970
1971State Representative Herschel HarkinsCharter member, Local Government Study Commission
(Study commission responsible for “historic grant of home rule power in 1969, restoration of local government Sales Tax, 1971)
1972Governor Robert W ScottResponsible for establishing a Department of Local Affairs; planning regions
1974John L. Sanders, Henry W Lewis and Joseph S Ferrell of the Institute of GovernmentFor their roles in helping the institute train and assist county government
1975Congressman L.H. FountainResponsible for General Revenue Sharing and Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations
1976State Treasurer Edwin M. GillResponsible for the state’s financial standing and financial integrity of counties and cities
1977Former Montgomery County Commissioner R.B. Jordan, Jr.For his bringing the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) into preeminence in the National Association of Counties and his continued guidance after his exit from county office.
1987State Representative Vernon JamesIntroduced local Option Sales Tax legislation
1991Former Secretary of Human Resources David FlahertyPioneered efforts to involve county officials in Human Services planning and initiatives
1997State Representative Anne BarnesOrange County Commissioner (1978-1981); state legislator (1981-1996); long-time chair of House Education Committee; responsible for county representation in an effort resulting in structured sentencing and Criminal Justice Partnership Act and promoting school bond legislation in 1996
2003State Senator Robert L. (Bob) MartinPitt County Commissioner (1956-1984); state Senator (1985-2002); president of the association (1971-1972); chair of the Appropriation Subcommittee on Natural and Economic Resources (1989-2002); and advocate for counties in the state budget process
2005State Representative W.C. (Bill) OwensNCACC Past President (1991-92) and former Pasquotank County Commissioner (1976-95); as a state representative Owens has consistently brought the county perspective to the budget process and has advocated for association positions.
2009David M. Lawrence and William Rand Kenan Jr. - Professors of Public Law and Government at the University of North Carolina School of GovernmentAdvised and educated thousands of county commissioners, managers, attorneys, finance officers and other county officials on local government finance, open meetings and public records laws and a myriad of issues affecting counties and county officials.
2015Prudential Financial ServicesHelps fund Advanced Leadership Corps, which provides training to help county commissioners become better leaders and prepare themselves to serve in a higher office.
2017UNC School of GovernmentProvide invaluable support to counties through educational programming, leadership training and day-to-day advice.
2022NC Attorney General Josh Stein and his senior legal teamAttorney General Stein and his team at the Department of Justice were instrumental in negotiating the national opioid settlement and worked closely with counties and Association staff to craft a Memorandum of Agreement that directs significant funding to all 100 counties to combat the opioid crisis.
2023Nate Denny, Deputy Secretary for Broadband & Digital Equity with the North Carolina Department of Information TechnologyDeputy Secretary Denny has worked hand in hand with the Association to help prepare, inform and guide counties through complex state funding programs as they relate to expanding broadband access. We especially appreciate our partnership with the department on the Connecting Counties presidential initiative and its support in bringing the digital playbook to life.