The 2022 City of Lenoir Starry Night Christmas Parade is this Friday, Dec. 2, 2022, and the Grand Marshals for the parade will be Mack. W. "Buddy" Edmisten and Samuel T. Sturgis, Jr.
Staff selected Mr. Sturgis and Mr. Edmisten as Grand Marshals to thank them and honor them for giving many decades of service to the City and residents of Lenoir. Mr. Edmisten worked 43 years in the City Public Utilities Department and Mr. Sturgis worked 40 years in the City Parks & Recreation Department. That's 83 years of combined service to Lenoir.
Mayor Joe Gibbons said the duo deserve the honor and recognition, and he looks forward to seeing them leading this year's Christmas parade.
"Sam and Buddy spent their careers with the City, and they both rose up the ranks in their departments," Mayor Gibbons said. "They worked hard, gave their time and talents to the residents, and helped make Lenoir a better place to live. We're honored to have them serve as Grand Marshals. I've been honored to call them friends and serve with them over the years. "
Mr. Edmisten and Mr. Sturgis both still live in Lenoir. They said they enjoyed working for the City and seeing the progress made during the years.
"I’ve lived in Lenoir all my life, and I love the people, and I loved the job while I was here," Mr. Edmisten said. "I had a lot of good people working for me and with me, and it’s a good place to be."
"It's good to see the progress that has been made and to feel that Buddy and I have been a part of it," Mr. Sturgis said. "The City is progressing with all activities and various things are going on here. We have not stopped growing, and I like that about Lenoir."
Mr. Sturgis started working for the City of Lenoir in 1962 as the first director of the Viewmont Recreation Center, which was later renamed to the Martin Luther King. Jr. Center. He served as the Assistant Director of Parks & Recreation and was promoted to Parks and Recreation Director in 1984.
Mr. Sturgis achieved many accomplishments during this career. He received the North Carolina Recreation & Parks Society Meritorious Service Award, the North Carolina Arts & Humanity Award, and he served on the North Carolina Recreation & Parks Society Board of Directors. He was a member of the Round Table for Recreation Achievers and Ethnic & Minority Society for State and National Parks & Recreation. Mr. Sturgis established the City's Harambee Festival in 1972 and helped start Art in the Park in 1985, which was later renamed to the Sculpture Celebration. He oversaw the construction of the Martin Luther King Jr. gym in 1992 and the Lenoir Rotary Soccer Fields in 1997.
Mr. Sturgis retired in 2002.
Mr. Edmisten started working for Lenoir in 1968 as a Water Treatment Plant operator in the Public Works Department. He was promoted to Water Treatment Plant Superintendent in 1984 and Water Resources Director in 2000. He also served as the first Public Utilities Director when the department was created in 2005.
During his career with Lenoir, Mr. Edmisten made many important contributions to the City and the state. He was instrumental in establishing a voluntary certification program for water plant operators, and the North Carolina Water Treatment Operator's Association selected him as operator of the year in 1990. He served as Vice-President of the North Carolina Waterworks Operator’s Association from 1989-1991 and President of the North Carolina Waterworks Operator’s Association from 1991-1993. Mr. Edmisten was appointed by former Governor Jim Hunt to the State Certification Board and was the second member of his profession to serve on that board.
In 2011, Mr. Edmisten received The Order of the Long Leaf Pine. The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is awarded by the Governor to persons for exemplary service to the State of North Carolina and their communities that is above and beyond the call of duty and which has made a significant impact and strengthened North Carolina.
Under his leadership, the City completed many successful projects including the Whitnel Pump Station Replacement Project and the Raw Water Intake Project at the George L. Bernhardt, Sr., Water Treatment Plant, which improved the City's water quality.
Mr. Edmisten retired in 2011.
The Starry Night Christmas Parade starts at 6:30 pm in Downtown Lenoir. The parade route and other information is online at https://www.cityoflenoir.com/christmasparade.
Sam Sturgis, left, and Buddy Edmisten, right, will serve as the Grand Marshals for the 2022 City of Lenoir Starry Night Christmas Parade. The parade is Friday, Dec. 2, 2022.