Brittney Lofthouse – Contributing Writer
Franklin Mayor Bob Scott was joined by town staff Monday night to honor six town of Franklin employees, who have spent decades in public service.
First to be honored was Randy Gibbs, equipment operator for the Town of Franklin Public Works. Gibbs has spent the last 10 years working for the town of Franklin.
Jim Zilbauer, Utility Crew Leader for the Town was honored for his service.
Franklin Police Department Chief Bill Harrell joined Mayor Scott in recognizing four officers with a combined 105 years of service to the town. Franklin Police Sergeant Tony Ashe, FPD Captain Danny Bates, and Patrol Sergeant Laurie Beegle were all honored for 25 years of service to the town. Franklin Police Detective Sgt. Tracy Chastain was recognized for his 30 years of service to the town as well as his recent retirement from the Franklin Police Department.
Franklin Mayor Bob Scott said that seeing Chastain retire was bittersweet.
“You know, you always hate to see someone retire when you’re kind of like family around here after being here for that long. Tracy, we wish you all the best in the world,” said Scott.
Chastain’s fellow officers with the Franklin PD presented him with a shadow box showcasing the badges he has worn throughout his career and other memorabilia items.
Mayor Scott and Chief Harrell presented Chastain with The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, given by the governor which “is awarded to persons for exemplary service to the State of North Carolina and their communities that is above and beyond the call of duty and which has made a significant impact and strengthened North Carolina.”
Among the honors and awards the Governor of North Carolina can bestow, none is more valued than The Order of the Long Leaf Pine. Since its creation in 1963, it has been presented to honor
persons who have a proven record of service to the State of North Carolina or some other special achievement, and to
others as a gesture of friendship and good will. Upon being named to The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the honoree receives a certificate by which the governor confers upon the recipient “…the rank of Ambassador Extraordinary privileged to enjoy fully all rights granted to members of this exalted order among which is the special privilege to propose the following North Carolina Toast in select company anywhere in the free world.”
Chastain, who is already enjoying retirement, said he’s very proud and honored by all of the support he received over the years.
“I’ve had a good career, and I appreciate all of the support I’ve gotten from the town, coworkers, friends, and family. I’m proud to be able to reflect back on a good career.”