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In his last act as a Roanoke Rapids city councilman, Carl Ferebee made the motion to approve Tuesday night’s agenda — an agenda that included a resolution and plaque in honor of his 24 years of service.

“It’s been good Carl,” Mayor Emery Doughtie said towards the end of a reception in Ferebee’s honor before the council meeting. “There’s been some rough times but I think if you don’t have difficulties you’re not doing very much. I think we all emerged stronger from the trials and tribulations.”

Doughtie thanked Ferebee, who decided to not seek another term, for his service. “I wish you a lot of success in what you do next.”

Councilwoman Sandra Bryant during the reception said, “This is kind of a bittersweet moment for me. I only served one term with Carl but I have learned so much from working with him as a fellow council person. He has integrity like no other. I would compare him to my husband (board of commissioners Chair Vernon Bryant), always thinking of what is right and doing what is best for everybody. So Carl, I thank you and I’ll miss you but I understand you do your term and you have to know when.”

Ferebee, in closing remarks during the reception, said, “It’s bittersweet … I try to do the right thing and I try to do it for the citizens of Roanoke Rapids and the county and our whole Roanoke Valley when I do that.”

Ferebee said, “It’s been a joy sharing over the last 24, actually 35 years with the city (including service on the planning board) — over half my life. When you look back it doesn’t seem like a long time and it’s really not a long time when you’re enjoying what you’re doing.”

Ferebee said there were times when the panel didn’t always agree “but most of the time we talk it through and that’s always good. I appreciate the council for that.”

Before the start of the meeting, Warren Keith Bell, who ran unopposed for Ferebee’s seat, said of his friend and neighbor, “When you think about it, I saw him really become a great pillar of the community.”

During the meeting Doughtie read the resolution honoring Ferebee as the outgoing councilman stood with his wife Donna by his side.

“It is fitting that this city council should pay tribute to those exceptional citizens who have distinguished themselves through their impeccable service to the citizens of Roanoke Rapids,” the resolution said.

A native of Moyock who moved to Roanoke Rapids in 1979, Ferebee, according to the resolution, had “a great interest in the welfare of his community,” and began his public service in 1988, serving on the planning board for 10 years, six of those as chairman. He also served on numerous boards and committees.

In 1999 he was elected to his first of six consecutive terms on the council, succeeding the late Madison Mullen as the District 3 councilman — a minority district that was established in 1991.

Through the years Ferebee served as the council-appointed mayor pro tempore since 2008. He served as the council liaison to the library advisory committee, the representative to the Upper Coastal Plains Council of Government, the North Carolina League of Municipalities Board of Directors and the Finance and Legislative Action Committee as well as the league’s affiliate group — the North Carolina Black Elected Municipal Officials.

His 24 years of service to the council made him the longest standing elected official in the city’s history, the resolution said. “Carl Ferebee’s colleagues and fellow residents of the third district assure that he will not only be greatly missed but will also leave behind a superior standard of service to the public that will be hard to equal.”

In his closing remarks following the resolution and plaque presentation, Ferebee said, “It’s really been a pleasure to serve the city of Roanoke Rapids. Sometimes you do things and you ask yourself if you would do it again — my answer is yes. There have been times that it has been tough but at the end of the day I think I have hopefully been a voice for those that didn’t have a voice.”