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 September 23, 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.
On Wednesday August 19, 2015 Mickey Gregory, who has served as executive director of the Lumberton, NC Visitors Bureau for seven years told her board she was going to retire effective December 31, 2015.
That announcement didn’t come too long after Robeson County United Way Executive Director Sandra Oliver announced that she also was going to step aside in December.
Mickey has been a big cheerleader for all things connected to our community especially the virtues of individuals or groups deciding to visit Lumberton, NC. If there was an event in our community Mickey was going to be attending it and promoting all the great things there is to brag on Lumberton.
Mickey came on board in 2008 and since she joined the bureau, occupancy tax receipts have grown from $463,880 in 2008 to $1,018,513 in 2014 and are on track to increase by another 6 percent this year. When she announced her retirement Mickey also told her board Wednesday that during 2014, $133.27 million was spent in Robeson County by tourists — an increase of 4.47 percent from 2013.
Having I-95 run thru Lumberton is a great opportunity for tourism but someone has to give them a reason and purpose and Mickey has done that over the past seven years as Executive Director. She has also found time over the past decade to support her alma mater UNC Pembroke. In fact in 2012 she agreed to serve as Honorary Chairman for the University’s 125th Celebration.
I am excited that on Friday October 2, 2015 that she will be presented the “Outstanding Alumna Award” at the 47th Annual UNCP Alumni Awards. It is an honor that she well deserves and I personally know she had lots of support including her great friend Wandre Elkins who was instrumental in supporting her nomination.
Mickey says she is going to slow down and spend time with her grandchildren but somehow I still see her serving her community. She helped organize the first Lumber River Day and was instrumental in Lumberton becoming a NC Certified Retirement Community.
Mickey is married to Rickey Gregory, who is running to represent Lumberton’s Precinct 1 on the City Council in the elections coming up in November.
During her time as Lumberton’s Visitors Bureau Executive Director she became a supporter and friend of Johna Edmonds.
The Friend-MICKEY GREGORY
The Friend of the Friend-JOHNA EDMONDS
Lumberton’s Miss North Carolina
Johna Edmonds is a native of Lumberton, NC. She graduated from Lumberton Senior High School. Her parents are Faye Carter and John Daniel Edmonds Jr. She has been positively impacted by both of them. Her mom career was in public school teaching and her dad’s background included the military and special forces. After high school she enrolled at NC State University.
In 2012 she won the Miss Garner pageant which qualified her to enter the Miss North Carolina Pageant. She was not only entered the event but was crowned Miss North Carolina in 2013. That award qualified her to represent the state of North Carolina in the Miss America 2014 pageant.
Johna’s friend Mickey Gregory used all her influence as Lumberton Visitor Bureau Executive Director to get a billboard erected celebrating her crown.
Photo below of Johna and Mickey Gregory with mock-up of billboard seen on I-95 in Lumberton traveling north between Exit 17 & 19.
Johna has received two degrees from North Carolina State University. She has an undergraduate accounting degree and a master’s of accounting degree. She also has earned a minor in Spanish languages and literature.
In 2012 while still in undergraduate school she earned a prestigious KPMG Global Internship. In the spring of 2012 Johna spent time working in Paris, France, with some of the KPMG largest and best-known clients.
Since January 2015 Johna has served as staff auditor at Ernest & Young in Raleigh, NC. She has also spent part of 2015 being part of a film shot in Lumberton, NC called “Shake off the World”. The film is about a high school football player dealing with some tough decisions. Johna plays the role of Rylie in the movie.
The film “Shake off the World” will also feature an appearance by Jessica Lynch. In 2003 Private First Class Jessica Lynch became a national known name. She was a 19-year-old U.S. Army supply clerk with the 507th Maintenance Company based in Fort Bliss, Texas. While stationed in Iraq, she was injured and captured by Iraqi forces on March 23, 2003 after her convoy was ambushed near the city of Nasiriyah.
Johna has made Lumberton proud and that means Mickey Gregory is going to shout about it for at least a while longer.