Longtime Newton Parks and Rec. director awarded Order of the Long Leaf Pine

Staff Writer

NEWTON, NC—Newton Parks and Recreation Director Sandra Waters was recently awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, one of North Carolina’s highest civilian honors.

Waters joined the Parks and Recreation Department as its director in July 1967.

During her 50 years at the Parks and Recreation Department, Waters assisted with the development of several parks and facilities including East Newton Park, Southside Park, Westside/Jaycee Park, Northside/Broyhill Park, Newton Recreation Center, Central Recreation Center, Newton Swimming Pool, Jacob Fork Park, Little Brook Park, Yount Park, Newton Heritage Trail Greenway, Southside Cemetery, East Cemetery, and Central Cemetery.

Waters received a standing ovation as she was presented the award by Newton Mayor Anne P. Stedman at the Sept. 5 Newton City Council Meeting.

“Sandra Waters has worked for the city for 50 years, and in those 50 years we’ve seen the Parks and Recreation Department grow by leaps and bounds,” Stedman said. “The programming run through the Parks and Recreation Department is so astounding that the governor even noticed it. This is the highest honor in the State of North Carolina, and it is well deserved. I’m proud to present this award and congratulate Sandra on all her accomplishments.”

State Rep. Mitchell Setzer, who was instrumental in securing the award through the governor’s office, recognized Waters’ distinguished years of service.

“I’m very proud of her service to the citizens of Newton and to the whole county,” Setzer said.

Waters is a lifelong Catawba County resident and graduate of Fred T. Foard High School and Lenoir-Rhyne University.

The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is among the most prestigious awards presented by the governor of North Carolina. It is awarded for exemplary service to the State of North Carolina and the community that is above and beyond the call of duty. The award is granted to citizens who stand out in their communities, who have devoted their lives to serving others, and whose efforts have made a significant impact and strengthened North Carolina.

The city of Newton thanks Sandra Waters for her 50 years of service.