Thursday, May 22, 2014 —
Some people are always in the right place at the right time.
For Martha Sue Hall, much of her adult life has been just that. She has been at the beginning of several programs that had a statewide impact.
Yet, she was still surprised when she received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine award this month after she retired with just over 30 years of service to the state.
Secretary of State Elaine Marshall presented her with the honor during a reception in early May given by the Union County Bar Association and the offices of district court judges. Approximately 200 friends, family members and colleagues from Hall’s tenure attended.
“The state is going to lose one of the most innovative and hard working individuals,” Marshall said, adding that it’s a win for the local community, given Hall has more time for it.
“She is the most energetic, thoughtful, problem-solving individual.
“She has just seen needs and jumped up and found people who had similar needs and found ways to problem solve. That’s just the person she is.”
Marshall has been friends with Hall since 1983.
“It’s very humbling,” Hall said, trying to hold back tears as she thought of the many lives she has encountered during her career.
“I am humbled because many, many people have said, you do not know the lives you’ve touched.”
For Hall, she believes it is not the destination, but the journey that is important.
Her journey has led her from Allison’s Manufacturing, to helping with with Special Olympics, to implementing a program with a juvenile restitution grant.
“I can remember going around on Saturday mornings and picking up three to four juveniles so they could rake leaves to earn enough money to pay their restitution,” Hall said.
She was there when supervised visitation and guardian ad litem programs began in the region.
She said she still receives recognition from children whose guardians have told them about her and how she brought families together.
She was there at the beginning of a victim witness crime program.
“I got to see things from when a person was indicted to when they were convicted,” she said.
She was also part of a processing effort that brought mental health representatives, attorneys, Department of Social Services and other agencies together to meet with abused children the day after they were removed from their situation.
“I have had the wonderful opportunity to be a part of a lot of great start-ups,” Hall said.
“I don’t know where the time has gone.”
What lies ahead for Martha Sue Hall?
She is in her fourth term on Albemarle City Council, having served since 2003. She also served six years as a county commissioner and has been a member of many nonprofit boards and on posts with other agencies.
She continues to sing, play bluegrass music and ballroom and shag dance whenever possible.
“There is work to do, I just don’t know what it is yet,” she said.
“There are opportunities out there.”
One of her first opportunities post-retirement was the act of giving back. She received a large cake upon her retirement. Instead of diving into it, she decided to donate it to the Community Table in Norwood.
“Because my dad ate at the Norwood site for socialization, not because he had to, but because he wanted to, that’s why I’m going to take it,” she said.
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