Nov. 20, 2012. Former North Carolina House member Cullie Tarleton was honored with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Friday evening, Nov. 16, at a reception with friends and supporters who paid tribute to his long history of personal and civic accomplishments.
The Long Leaf Pine award is presented by the governor of the state to individuals who have a proven record of extraordinary service to North Carolina and to their communities.
“Obviously, I was honored to have it presented to me,” Tarleton said. “I have presented a number of the Long Leaf Pine awards over the past several years so I know what is involved in qualifying for one. So, it was an honor to have one given to me. I’m grateful to the governor and to [Margaret] ‘Pinky’ Hayden for doing it.”
Appalachian Ski Mountain in Blowing Rock hosted the awards presentation and Reba Moretz, co-owner of the ski resort, spoke highly of Tarleton.
“We just wanted to provide an opportunity for people to show their appreciation for Cullie and Sylvia [Tarleton’s wife] for all they have meant to this area,” Moretz said. “He represented the people so well.”
Cullie Tarleton is a retired broadcasting executive and former senior vice president and general manager of WBT, WBTV, and WCCB-TV. He was past president of the NC Association of Broadcasters and of Clear Channel Association, and he served on the boards of Fox Affiliates and of the National Association of Broadcasters, from whom he won a distinguished service award and was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 2004.
Among many other volunteer roles, Tarleton has served on the board of advisors for the Blowing Rock Hospital, Hunger and Health Coalition, Blowing Rock Performing Arts, Watauga County Arts Council, Watauga Medical Center Foundation, Blowing Rock Art and History Museum, NC Zoological Park Council, Charlotte Center for Urban Ministry, and the Communications Department Executive Advisory Board at Appalachian State University.
“In order to qualify for the Long Leaf Pine it requires 30 years of community service. I was privileged to work for a company that encouraged its employees and managers to be active in the community, so as a result of that I took them up on that and was involved in a number of civic and charitable organizations over the years,” Tarleton said.
He served in the NC House of Representatives, 2007-2010, and chaired committees on drought, education, and environmental issues. He was a commissioner for the NC Education Lottery. His service in the General Assembly was exemplary for his service to his district, his responsiveness to constituents’ concerns, and his high-mindedness for progressive policies and the future of the state.
“One of the highlights [of my time involved in public service] would have to be my time in the legislature,” Tarleton said. “It was four years that I thoroughly enjoyed. It was — I don’t want to say fun — but it was fulfilling to be there and to be in a position to help people in the district and to help cut through the bureaucracy when people needed help. That was rewarding and fulfilling.”
Tarleton is married to the former Sylvia Davis, and they have three adult children and six grandchildren.
“This certificate is most often presented when a person retires. A State Employee may be awarded The Order of the Long Leaf Pine if he/she has 30+ years of exemplary service to North Carolina. Others who have demonstrated a lifetime of service to the state may also qualify,” according to the governor’s website.
- Paul T. Choate contributed to this article.