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North Carolina State Representative Jon Hardister (left) presents Fred Gregory, of Greensboro, with The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, an award conferred by the Governor of North Carolina for service to the state, Monday, June 2, 2014, at the Guilford County Courthouse. Previous recipients of the award include the Rev. Billy Graham, William Friday, Maya Angelou, Michael Jordan, and Melvin "Skip" Alston. (ROB BROWN/News & Record)

Updated 12:18 a.m.

GREENSBORO — Fred Gregory, a retired DEA agent active in local politics, received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Monday morning.

“I’m just very humbled,” Gregory said during a small ceremony held in the Guilford County Board of Commissioners chamber at the Old Guilford County Courthouse.

The order, one of the North Carolina’s highest civilian honors, is given by the governor to those with a record of outstanding service to the state.

Previous recipients include poet/author Maya Angelou, the Rev. Billy Graham and Michael Jordan.

Locals who have received the order include Greensboro philanthropist Betty Cone, High Point University President Nido Qubein and retired News & Record reporter Jim Schlosser.

Created in 1963, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine has been given to more than 15,000 honorees, including more than 60 this year.

State Rep. Jon Hardister presented the order to Gregory, 78, who for 25 years was a special agent with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration.

Gregory was stationed in Atlanta, Nashville and Washington, D.C., during his career, returning home to North Carolina in 1983. Whether chasing moonshiners or going after staggering amounts of dangerous drugs, Gregory said the job never was boring.

“There wasn’t one day of my career I woke up regretting that I was going to work,” Gregory said. “Not everyone can say that.”

After his retirement in 1990 Gregory served as a magistrate in the 18th Judicial District and spent 8 years as an enforcement officer in the Drug Tax Division of the N.C. Department of Revenue.

Hardister said Gregory certainly had earned the state’s recognition and thanks.

“It is my honor to present him this honor,” Hardister said.

Guilford County Commissioner Kay Cashion also attended Monday’s presentation. She recited, along with Hardister, the first stanza of the poem from which the order takes its name.

“Here’s to the land of the long leaf pine,” the poem reads. “The summer land where the sun doth shine, where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great, here’s to ‘Down Home,’ the Old North State.”


Posted 1:18 p.m. Monday

GREENSBORO – Fred Gregory, a retired DEA agent active in local politics, received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Monday morning.

“I’m just very humbled,” Gregory said during a small ceremony held in the Guilford County Board of Commissioners chamber at the Old Guilford County Courthouse.

The order, one of the highest civilian honors awarded by the state, is given by the governor to those with a record of outstanding service to the state. Previous recipients include Maya Angelou, the Rev. Billy Graham and Michael Jordan. Locals who have received the order include Greensboro community organizer Betty Cone, High Point University President Nido Qubein and retired News & Record reporter Jim Schlosser.

State Rep. Jon Hardister presented the order to Gregory, who was a special agent with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration for 25 years. Gregory also served as a magistrate in the 18th Judicial District and spent 8 years as an enforcement officer in the Drug Tax Division of the N.C. Department of Revenue.

“He has certainly earned it,” Hardister said. “It is my honor to present him this award.”

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Contact Joe Killian at (336) 373-7023, and follow @JoeKillianNR on Twitter.

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