McRae receives Long Leaf

First Posted: 1/27/2012

LUMBERTON — A recent surprise birthday party for Pat McRae turned out to be celebrating much more than another year.

McRae, a community relations practice development employee for Southeastern Regional Physician Services, was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine — the state’s highest award for a civilian — at the event.

“I’m very humbled,” said McRae, who is known as Pat to most. “I’ve worked in my community for as long as I can remember, since the early 80s.”

The award, which was also a surprise, was given to her by Rep. Garland Pierce and John Campbell.

McRae, a Lumberton native, has been working for Southeastern Regional Medical Center for 38 years. She is the North Carolina commissioner of Volunteerism and Community Service, the vice chairwoman of the of the North Carolina Minority Health and Health Disparities, an executive board member of Communities in Schools, and co-founder of The Robeson Committee on the Affairs of Black People and Sisters Network Inc.

“She’s extremely involved in the community,” said Fordham Britt, the coordinator of physician services at SRMC, and McRae’s supervisor at the hospital. “She’s been an advocate … for heath issues in Robeson County as well as within the state. … She wants Robeson County to be the best county in the state and she wants North Carolina to be one of the best states in the nation and she works hard to make that happen.”

McRae hopes her service will inspire others to volunteer.

“It improves the health care of the community, it improves the economy of the community, it improves the education of the community,” McRae said. “There’s no reason not to.”

— Reach features editor Amanda Munger at 910-272-6144 or [email protected]