The Cherokee of Jerry Wolfe’s early memory is a different place than the Qualla Boundary of today.
Wolfe, 93, remembers hills covered in farmland rather than forest, cleared by hand to keep the trees from encroaching on slopes families coaxed to yield the corn, beans and potatoes that fueled them. The weedy edges of fields yielded blueberries, blackberries and strawberries. The woods yielded fuel for winter heat in the log cabins and, when the family ran out of kerosene, knots of pine sap that could ignite to keep the lights on.
A life of service to country, culture and global community has earned Jerry Wolfe the state of North Carolina’s highest award, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. Wolfe received the award in a surprise ceremony accompanying the July 25 Folkmoot USA performance at Cherokee Central High School.
Since announcing its closure after 51 years in business, Joey’s Pancake House owner Brenda O’Keefe and her staff have been bombarded with well wishes and awards, including the highest honor in North Carolina — Order of the Long Leaf Pine.
A Haywood County woman who has dedicated the past dozen years to a crusade against driving while impaired was honored for her relentless advocacy with The Order Long Leaf Pine award in a surprise ceremony this month.