Mary Katherine Murphy
The city of Laurinburg honored one of its public servants on Tuesday with a memorial bench downtown.
The bench, located at the James lot across from First United Methodist Church at the intersection of Church and Main streets, was named for the late Charles Leslie “Chuck” Hicks, Jr.
Hicks, who served as assistant city attorney, died in November 2011 following a stroke.
“Chuck was a community icon when it came to public service,” said Laurinburg Mayor Tommy Parker. “He worked hard in his church, he worked with the band boosters, he worked with the hospital board, I think he was a former Chamber president. He did things more numerous than I could mention or recall - he was a true community servant. He served as the city council’s attorney and did a commendable job.”
Hicks, a native of Asheboro, was also a past president of the Laurinburg Rotary Club and the Cape Fear Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He moved to Laurinburg in 1981, joining the law firm of Gordon and Horne where he later became a partner. He was a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Law.
“It may not be the norm for us to recognize someone in this manner, but Chuck’s lifelong commitment to his fellow man and to his community led to a strong desire to do something to memorialize Chuck,” said Parker. “I’m afraid that whatever we’re to do, we couldn’t do enough.”
Hicks’ legacy as someone who dedicated his life to his community is not one that those who knew him will quickly forget. City councilman Ken Spencer remembered Hicks as one of the first people to make a lasting impression upon him when he moved to Laurinburg five years ago.
“We take people like him for granted - we put so much on him, but we need to carry that burden,” said Spencer. “One of the things that we need to do is not to talk about him in the past, but to carry that and to be activists, to get involved and not only talk about him as the past but as he is here with us and that we need to live up to that standard that we can treat everyone equally, that we need to fight for each other and that we need to be there not just for him, but for his family, for his children, and for the future of our community. That is what Chuck was about to me.”
Hicks had served as the city’s legal counsel for over a decade.
“If you look around Laurinburg, there’s a tree planted in Mayor [Ann] Slaughter’s honor, the A.B. Gibson Center, and the W.R. Dulin Center at the hospital for those pinnacle leaders of our community who have been recognized over the years,” said Parker. “Chuck without a doubt falls into that category.”
Judge John Horne, who worked with Hicks for 25 years in their legal practice, encouraged the 30 people gathered at the dedication to continue to live their lives in fulfillment of his wishes.
“You don’t replace Chuck Hicks. He was a lawyer, a friend, a parishioner - I could go on and on about Chuck,” said Horne. “I miss him just about every day - little things happen that make you think of him. In a lot of ways, Chuck would want us to move on… Chuck would mean for us to do the things that he never did. Chuck would want us to love each other, Chuck would want us to support each other. If we just continue to do the things that Chuck would have wanted, we’ll be happy, Chuck will be happy, and he’ll never leave.”