One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about “friends of my friends”. The post below is the story for July 7, 2015.
My goal in 2015 is to learn or get re-acquainted with 365 people and doing a daily post on the “the friend of a friend” is helping me get closer to my goal.
This past weekend on our campus we were able to host a large part of the 47th Annual Lumbee Homecoming event. Lumbee Homecoming is a tradition among the Lumbee tribe that has been held annually since 1968. Homecoming is especially important in that it brings together members of families, many from great distances, for a weeklong celebration of Lumbee culture. Festivities include a parade, a pow wow, pageants, and other cultural events.
The big part of Lumbee Homecoming is family. One family that plays a part in that event is the McNeill family. One of the family members has been a friend since I first began working at UNCP and his name is Larry McNeill. I ran into Larry at the Lumbee Homecoming Parade on Saturday July 4th.
Larry riding in backseat of Pembroke Town Council Car in the parade along with Council member Teresa Locklear. Mayor Pro-Tem Channing Jones in front.
Larry retired in 2008 as UNC Pembroke’s Assistant Police Chief and Captain after 35 years of being a campus law enforcement officer. When Larry started at UNCP in the early 1970’s the campus only had 4 officers. Today UNCP boast a campus police force of 20. Larry has a wonderful wife named Glenda and they raised four children Matt, Nicole, Fallon and Julian. They lost their daughter Nicole in 2009. His son Matt was a standout golfer for UNCP in the late 1990’s.
Speaking of golf Larry is no slouch either. If you read the local newspaper The Robesonian you are more apt than not to find his name listed as a winner in some local charity golf event. It is in his role as a golfer that he has treated my sons with respect and dignity. My two youngest sons worked the local country club Pinecrest CC where Larry was is a member. He always had an encouraging word to say to my boys Kyle and Mack.
Larry has been involved in the fabric of the Pembroke community in a number of different ways. He is also a rotating deacon of the Berea Baptist Church in Pembroke. He also is a member of the Town Council having served a number of terms before a break in service only to get re-elected again in 2014. He is also a fixture at UNCP Football games and when the university reinstated the team in 2007 he was one of the biggest supporters.
Larry also is someone that works hard to remember the special people. His brother Royce was one of those individuals.
The Friend – LARRY MCNEILL
The Friend of the Friend – ROYCE MCNEILL
Royce McNeill was Larry’s brother and graduated from Pembroke State University now called UNC Pembroke in 1968. After he passed away a scholarship was created in his honor.
This scholarship was created by family, friends, and professional colleagues in memory of Royce McNeill. Royce was a part of the athletic fabric of Robeson County as a golf coach and athletic director at Prospect High School and Purnell Swett High School. Royce’s greatest joy was witnessing the accomplishments of his athletes as they moved on to collegiate athletics. I know that because my first year as a head basketball coach I had one of his players Lorenzo McCormick on my team at UNCP. Royce would be at all of the Pembroke Basketball games he could make. He was proud of his players.
The scholarship gets supported by a golf tournament that former Robeson County Athletic Director Ronnie Chavis works hard on. The 2015 event was just completed.
The team of Mark Locklear, Greg Dial and Ashton Woods won the 2015 Royce McNeill Scholarship golf tournament on June 26 at Pinecrest Country Club with a score of 53.
The money collected at the tournament funded an endowed scholarship in honor of Roger McNeill for the golf team at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke and it also supports of the Purnell Swett High School golf team.
The tournament featured 23 teams with 92 total players participating. The second-place winners, with a score of 56, were Larry McNeill, Donnie Beck, Lonail Locklear and Matt McNeill.
I think Royce is looking down from up above and telling Matt and Larry if they had him on that team they would not have finished second.