After a 34-year career in emergency services, Eddie Jordan received the state’s highest honor — The Order of the Long Leaf Pine.
Jordan will retire from the N.C. Office of Emergency Medical Services on Jan.1, ending a career in EMS which began in Surry County.
In 1981 Jordan said he landed his first job in the field when the Mount Airy native was hired by Surry County EMS. He spent more than 18 years with the department before taking a post at the state office, which handles testing and credentialing for EMS personnel throughout North Carolina.
According to the veteran, Jordan ended up coordinating education for EMS personnel.
“I worked in this region, so I was able to stay here in Mount Airy,” he said, noting he was required to travel to Raleigh once or twice a week.
Jordan said few retire from the Office of Emergency Services. Thus, whenever somebody does, leaders in the office nominate the person for the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. It’s not common for EMS professionals to receive the award.
“The office believes in taking care of its employees, but not everybody gets it,” he said of the honor.
On Dec. 14 Jordan was conferred the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.
According to the order’s society, the Long Leaf Pine award likely originated in 1963, under the administration of Gov. Terry Sanford. It is the highest honor a non-military North Carolinian can receive from the state. A listing of all Long Leaf Pine recipients includes about 18,500 names. Other recipients of the award from the Mount Airy area include Flip Rees, David Beal and Andy Griffith.
Jordan described the award as a nice exclamation point on a long career in public service.
“It was quite a surprise,” said Jordan. “It was humbling and an honor I wasn’t expecting.”
Jordan said he is excited to retire, but after 34 years it will be a change of pace to which he will have to adapt.
“I will miss all the people I worked with the most,” said Jordan.
However, he will still see some of those people. He hopes to work part-time in EMS at the local level after transitioning into retirement from his full-time post.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reched at 415-4698.