NCCAA executive directors receive Order of The Long Leaf Pine

Published 11:12 am Saturday, August 11, 2018

RALEIGH — The Order of The Long Leaf Pine, the highest civilian honor bestowed by North Carolina’s governor and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to serving the state and their communities by going above and beyond the call of duty has been awarded to three community action leaders by Governor Roy Cooper.

“We applaud Governor Cooper for his recognition of these outstanding community leaders who bring more than 100 years of combined service to helping low-income individuals and families rise above poverty and into economic self-sufficiency,” said Sharon Goodson, Executive Director of the NCCAA. “Their tireless efforts symbolize the promise of Community Action which is to “change people’s lives, embody a spirit of hope, improve communities and make America a better place to live.”

Recipients include:
Mary Ann Morgan, retired Executive Director of Western Economic Development Organization, Inc. served the Waynesville and surrounding communities for 43 years. She committed years of service to helping individuals become self-sufficient by providing opportunities through education and job training. She’s known in the community as a trusted advocate for those in need of a fresh start towards rebuilding their lives.

Mattie Patterson, retired Executive Director of Blue Ridge Community Action, Inc. Prior to her position as Executive Director, she served the Blue Ridge Community in multiple community leadership roles. For 40 years, she has been committed to addressing the often overlooked needs of the elderly and working poor by providing housing assistance, nutritional education, and daycare services. In addition to the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, she has received numerous awards as well as a Governor’s Award for Volunteerism.

E. Marie Watson, Executive Director of Johnston-Lee-Harnett Community Action, Inc. has served central North Carolina communities for 39 years. She has worked tirelessly to provide opportunities and a pathway to economic opportunity for vulnerable citizens through a variety of programs and services in collaboration with local, state and federal partners. Her strong voice for the poor is represented on the NCCAA Board of Directors, as well as, the Southeastern Association of Community Action Agencies.

About NCCAA​: North Carolina Community Action Association is a resource and advocate for a statewide network of 34 Community Action Agencies. For more information visit: