COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WECT) – WECT.com has confirmed that former state Sen. RC Soles has been chosen to receive the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.
According to the Long Leaf Pine Society, Soles is one of many North Carolinians to be chosen for this high honor in 2012.
WECT.com was the first to report the former senator was scheduled to receive the award after obtaining a copy of an invitation to a luncheon. Days later, the luncheon was canceled.
In an exclusive interview, Soles spoke to WECT about being chosen for the award, which he says was given to him by former Gov. Beverly Perdue.
For weeks, WECT.com has tried to find records and documents showing Perdue signed off on the Order of the Long Leaf Pine for Soles, but offices in Raleigh could not find any paper trail.
According to the Long Leaf Pine Society, which is based out of Raleigh, there is a document showing Soles was chosen for the award by the former governor in 2012.
Those with the society could not say if Soles has physically received the award yet, but they did confirm that there is a congratulatory letter with his name on it.
According to their documents, the actual award was signed by Perdue on Dec. 31, 2012.
Phillip Fisher is the manager and founder of the Long Leaf Pine Society and says he gets all his documentation from the governor's office.
Fisher told WECT.com that for the first 20 years, the governor's office did not keep track of who received this prestigious award.
Fisher, an award recipient himself, created the society to help keep track of recipients and to educate the public on this high honor.
The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is considered the highest honor given to a North Carolinian by the governor.
Soles has received a lot of praise for serving the Columbus County area for decades, but he has also made headlines for legal run-ins with some of his former younger male law clients.
Attempts made by WECT.com to reach the former governor have been unsuccessful.
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