KENLY — In recognition of his career of public service by providing news and current events for area residents for more than three decades as the Kenly News’ owner and publisher, Rick Stewart of Kenly received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine award on Sunday.
State Rep. Larry Strickland, R-Johnston, presented the award on behalf of Gov. Roy Cooper following morning worship at Kenly Missionary Baptist Church, where Stewart is a member. Strickland co-sponsored Stewart’s nomination.
“We appreciate what you have done for our communities, Johnston County and for the state of North Carolina,” Strickland said during his presentation. “Over the past 37 years, our communities have had a newspaper and we have been kept informed. The newspaper told both the good news and the bad news, but we always knew what was going on.”
Stewart and wife Karen purchased the Kenly News in 1981 and expanded the community newspaper with the addition of three sister publications, the Selma News, Pine Level News and Princeton News Leader.