COLUMUBS COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Former State Senator R.C. Soles is scheduled to receive the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.
"I was very surprised when I heard I was getting it and I'm very honored. It was bestowed by former Governor Perdue." Said Soles.
Soles tells us, his former colleagues pushed Perdue for the honor.
The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is one of the highest honors someone can receive from the governor.
During his time a senator, Soles was considered an effective legislator. Some people in Columbus County credit him for bringing a welcome center to his hometown of Tabor City and working to bring Tabor Correctional Institution.
But with that praise, also comes controversy.
"I guess, I'd say the past is the past and I'm doing my best to live a good life and become a productive citizen." Said Soles.
For years, Soles has been in and out of the news for legal run-ins with some of his former younger male law clients. An SBI investigation that started in 2009 against Soles has never had a public resolution. But Soles tells us, that shouldn't disqualify him from this honor.
"They'll have to talk with the people who nominated me and the Gov. Perdue. I'm thankful for it. I would never standout and say I deserve and people need to send it to me. I would not do that. I was notified of it after it had been signed." Added Soles.
He says, he's prepared for the negative attention that will surround him receiving the award.
"I'm just going to smile, thank the Governor and move on living the best way I can." Soles told us.
Current Governor Pat McCrory's office said they weren't aware of Soles receiving the award when we called.
Soles will receive the award at the North Carolina Museum of Forestry in Whiteville. He has been an attorney for 53 years.
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