Wilson veteran earns ‘Legendary’ honor

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JACKSONVILLE — Wilson resident and U.S. Navy veteran Raymond Applewhite was recently honored as a living legend in Onslow County.

Community leaders, veterans and friends gathered at the Jacksonville-Onslow Chamber of Commerce during Minority Enterprise Development Week for the Legends of Onslow celebration to honor Applewhite, Jim Roddy and Arthine Thomas. All three were recognized for their hard work and commitment as role models instilling positive changes in the community, Oct. 24.

“The Legends of Onslow are minorities who contributed greatly to the betterment of our community,” said Lisa Murabito, military affairs manager for the Jacksonville-Onslow Chamber of Commerce.

The yearly celebration kicked off with words from Laurette Leagon, JOCC president, who introduced this year’s Legends of Onslow.

Applewhite was recognized for spearheading efforts for the betterment of Onslow County.

Applewhite retired from the Navy in 1993 after 22 years of service. He is the first Navy African-American from Onslow County to be appointed to the Secretary of the Navy Retiree Council.

Applewhite is a member of the Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee, the Camp Lejeune Military Retiree Council and is the president of the Camp Lejeune Fleet Reserve Association, branch 208.

Last year, Applewhite and his wife established a scholarship program at Coastal Carolina Community College to help students in the dental hygiene program and most recently joined the Corpsmen Memorial Foundation in its fundraising efforts.

“I am deeply humbled and honored to be recognized as a Legend,” said Applewhite. “I know without question that God has blessed me on many occasions and credit my success in life to Him.”

Roddy was recognized for his philanthropic efforts in the community. He retired from the Marine Corps after 20 years of service and two tours in Vietnam. Roddy is the founder of the Caro-Vettes Corvette Club of Jacksonville, a club that hosts fundraisers to benefit local charities.

He is also on the board of directors for the Jacksonville Kiwanis Club, an organization that focuses on helping underprivileged children. In 2009, he became the first African-American to chair the Chamber board.

Thomas was recognized for her involvement in the community. She volunteers at the Onslow County Museum and teaches Heritage Days at Richlands Elementary School. She is actively involved at the Dreadnaught Community Center and is a member of the Chamber Minority Business Services committee.

Each legend received a trophy presented by Adrienne James, chair of the Minority Business Services Committee, as a symbol of appreciation for their contributions.

Ena Sellers is managing editor of The Globe newspaper of Camp Lejeune.