MAXTON — Former Lumbee Tribal Chairman Jimmy Goins’ name will be in easy sight for those traveling a stretch of N.C. 71, near where he lost his life two years ago.
More than 200 people came out Wednesday to remember Goins’ accomplishments and celebrate the naming of N.C. 71 between Red Hill Road and Buie-Philadelphus Road in his honor. The ceremony was held at the Two Streams Boys and Girls Club Community Building, which he helped found. Onlookers stood as his widow Diane and her three daughters, Rhonda Goins Dial, Jamie Goins Strickland and Jackie Goins Deese unveiled the sign that reads “Jimmy Goins Highway.”
“My first word is wow,” said Diane. “It’s a very historical event for us. I am humbled by it.”
Jimmy Goins died at the age of 66 on July 7, 2015, in a single-car accident as he was traveling alone on N.C. 71 about four miles north of Maxton. Goins was traveling south when his vehicle ran off the road to the right, struck a highway sign and overturned before striking a tree.
“He wasn’t perfect, but he had a good heart. It didn’t matter if you were white, black, or Hispanic,” Diane Goins said.
He had served two three-year terms as tribal chairman, from 2004 to 2010, and was instrumental in pushing the Lumbee Recognition Bill through the U.S. House. There was speculation at the time of his death he would run again for the chairmanship. He was key in the establishment of the tribal government and the writing of its constitution.
Goins, who owned an insurance business in Red Springs, was also a farmer. He was especially well known throughout the Prospect and Philadelphus communities, and his political ties stretched across the state.
Current Lumbee Chairman Harvey Godwin spoke Wednesday of Goins’ accomplishments. Godwin said Goins paved the way and was a constant support for he and his wife.
Sen. Danny Britt, who represents Robeson County, was brought to tears as he spoke about Jimmy and his work, dedication and acceptance of people. He and Goins served together on a military advisory panel for former U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre.
“When you come in as an outsider like I did, it means everything to be accepted by Mr. Goins. Just know that he’s looking down from heaven, and he’s smiling,” Britt said.
County Commissioner Raymond Cummings spoke about Goins’ devotion to people, family and friends.
“He was a family man. You can tell what type of person someone is by their family, and his family loved him,” Cummings said.
“I don’t think it would have ever occurred to Jimmy to have a road named after him,” Cummings said. “He didn’t do what he did to get a road named after him, but he did it anyway.”
Grady Hunt, an at-large member of the N.C. Board of Transportation, said the road-naming idea first developed in February and the county Board of Commissioners made the request of the state. Britt and Godwin were instrumental in getting the state Department of Transportation to quickly adopt a resolution honoring Goins and changing the name. Britt also gave credit to Glenn Hammonds, whom he described as a “community leader and friend of the family,” for being instrumental in the name change.
“It was actually going to be a bridge, and then we found out we could get a whole road,” Hunt said.
“Mr. Jimmy was a trailblazer, a one-of-a-kind, a husband, a father, a Christian, a businessman, a farmer, a disabled veteran, a leader, Lumbee tribal chairman and more importantly, a friend to all,” said Anthony Dial, a son-in-law of Jimmy.