State employees honor MLK in special Raleigh service
Posted January 17
Inside the First Baptist Church of Raleigh, hundreds of state employees filled the pews Friday to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a program that evoked the spirit of the slain civil rights leader.
“Character refers to the summary or count of a person’s qualities and achievements,” keynote speaker Bruce Marino said to the crowd. “Character speaks to the very essence of who we are as individuals.”
Character looks like Mary Farrar, a claims investigator with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. She’s this year's winner of the John R. Larkins Award, one of the state’s highest honors. The award is named after a former employee and race-relations advocate.
Farrar happened to be at the State Fair, next to a ride called the Vortex, when there was an accident that injured five people, including four members of a family.
“She rode in the ambulance with them to the hospital. She continued to be by the family’s side at the hospital, and even after their release,” said Bill Daughtridge, secretary of the state Department of Administration.
Character also looks like Officer Eva Howard of the North Carolina State University Police Department. She was off duty and driving on a highway in the southeastern part of the state when a truck flipped and caught fire.
Gov. Pat McCrory shared the story with the audience.
“With fire growing, Howard and the other motorist stayed, and she pulled the driver out through a shattered side window.”
Character also looks like Reggie Barker and Richard Raines, officers with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. Last May, they rescued an 18-year-old man from a rain-swollen Cape Fear River.
Doing the right thing when no one is looking is what defines character, McCrory said.
“Dr. King, of course, was much more eloquent,” he said.
The governor declared Monday as Martin Luther King Jr. Day and urged North Carolinians to commit to a day of service that promotes social justice and dignity.