By SHAUN SAVARESE
Of The Record Staff
Frederick L. “Freddie” Williford was honored at the 2017 Boys Scouts of America Distinguished Service Award Dinner Thursday.
Master of Ceremonies J. Dal Snipes introduced Pack 711, First Presbyterian Church to present the colors before an invocation led by the Rev. Tim McQueen.
Mr. Snipes was jokingly unclear on the theme of the evening, pretending to be puzzled over if speakers would roast the Sampson County native.
“I’ve known Freddie a long time. I don’t know anything to roast him about … but Abe (Elmore) goes way, way, way back, so I don’t know if this is all going to be good stuff or a roast,” Mr. Snipes said, noting the fundraiser collected more than $17,000 for the Boy Scouts of America.
William P. “Abe” Elmore spoke on Mr. Williford’s professional past. Mr. Elmore said he loves frequenting Sherry’s Bakery which Mr. Williford owns to have coffee and read his newspaper, but there is one problem with the restaurant.
“Maybe it’s lunch and you’re just trying to finish up … and about that time, some old man comes around with a tray of doughnuts, dipped in chocolate and says, “Won’t you have one or two?’” Mr. Elmore said. “There couldn’t be a better guy that the Scouts could give this award to than our friend Freddie.”
Commissioner Elmore de- See Williford, Page 3
Speakers for the 2017 Boys Scouts of America Distinguished Service Award Dinner Thursday night at the Dunn Shrine Center are from left, Ronald Warren, Abe Elmore, honoree Freddie Williford, Mayor Oscar Harris, the Rev. Tim Mc Queen and Dal Snipes.
Daily Record Photo/Shaun Savarese Williford
Continued From Page One
tailed a number of partnerships with Mr. Williford, including the small-business incubator at the Triangle South Enterprise Center.
“We’re going to celebrate the 30 years that we’ve been doing that, in about two or three more weeks,” he said, “We have created 4,400 jobs out of that building.”
Ronald Warren shared information from the perspective of Mr. Williford’s friends and family.
“I don’t remember it being just Freddie, it was always Freddie and Mary,” Mr. Warren said of Mr. Williford’s late wife, who passed in 2014. “Freddie has told me that when he saw Mary, he said, ‘She is the one for me, no doubt.’” Mr. Warren joked about the now-famous story of how the Willifords were married.
Mr. Williford left his New Jersey Army barracks on a pass, returned to North Carolina and married Mary before shipping off to Italy the next day.
“Mary was a wonderful, sweet and cantankerous woman and I loved her,” Mr. Warren continued, “She is missed by all.”
Mr. Warren led the audience in singing “There’s Something About That Name,” before yielding the floor for another address on an aspect of the life of the father of three.
Rev. McQueen, who also led the benediction in closing the dinner, offered insight into the 85-year-old’s community and church contributions.
Rev. McQueen said Mr. Williford has the greatest work ethic, the most integrity and he shows true generosity.
“I’ve never met a more caring man. I’ve never met a more faithful church member,” Rev. McQueen said. “I’ve never met a more Christ-honoring man than he … . I read in the newspaper that God is No. 1 in his life, and that’s true … it always has been.”
Dunn Mayor Oscar N. Harris, called Mr. Williford “trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent” during the 2017 Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Service Award presentation.
“What a story, what a life, what a lifetime of service … ,” the mayor said before he handed the former Dunn Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year his latest award.
Past winners of the BSA Distinguished Service Award W.H. “Pop” Twyford, Dr. Charles Boyd, Henry Hamilton, Jesse Alhpin, Robert Morgan, Norman Wiggins, Bob Etheridge, Charles Carpenter, Abe Elmore, Lloyd Stewart, Ray Daniels, Marvin Marshall, Hoover Adams, John Wellons, Oscar Harris, Carlie C. McLamb, Pat Godwin, Lester Phillips, Pat Pope, Dal Snipes, William Warren, Ernest Alphin, John Shaw, Jerry Wallce, Paul Perry, Rodney Tart, Renee Ellmers and Frank and Debbie Moody.
Mr. Williford has received many awards over more than 60 years in business. The Parade Committee, Downtown Revitalization and Committee of 100 member has been named Outstanding Senior Citizen, Pillar of the Community, Small Business Person of the Year and has been recognized by the Rotary Club and American Legion. Mr. Williford was also instrumental in getting the 567 Coharie phone prefix a local call to Dunn. He was also a big supporter of the event known as Community Pride, which is no longer held.
A grandfather to three, deacon, treasurer, choir member and Spring Branch Baptist Church Sunday school teacher, Mr. Williford thanked everyone.
“This is a hard pill to swallow. I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. You just don’t know how much this means to me. I never had anything like this. I’ve had a lot of awards, I’m not bragging, I’m thankful,” he said, “Nobody loves the Chamber of Commerce any more than I do because I’ve seen it when Dunn didn’t have that kind of Chamber of Commerce. I’ve seen it when it was a lot different from what it was.”
Mr. Williford told a story on why he built a petition in his building to accommodate the Dunn Chamber of Commerce as a meeting place in the 1980’s.
“I love what I do,” he said. “I wish everybody can live as happy a life as I had. I wish everybody could have three children— and they’re not children, they’re adults— they mean so much to me, they’re such a help to me. Sherry and Fred and Wendy; I just couldn’t have a better family. And for them to get along like they do is just unbelievable. I brag about them … . You don’t know how much it means to have a family like that.”
He said he misses his wife, with whom he fell in love in the fifth grade, in 1942, at 10 years old.
“Many, many years later in 1953, we got married and lived the happiest life. I am so thankful and nobody appreciates this award more than I do this. To everybody here, from the bottom of my heart, thank you, thank you, thank you and may God bless each and every one of you and I wish you the best of luck.”