N.C. Department of Correction--Correction News--August 1998

Four DAPP veterans say farewell in June

George Pettigrew

Charlotte – George Pettigrew started his correction career working with alcoholics and their families.

This former pastor-turned-probation officer has had a full career, from watching a man running around his house with a knife who was chasing a bear in his hallucinations to being threatened himself by an offender with a fireplace poker.

Co-workers reflected on Pettigrew's time with the Division of Adult Probation and Parole at a June 19th luncheon.

Division Director Robert Guy said he had never seen Pettigrew get upset. "He was a team player, loyal and compassionate," Guy said before presenting him with the Governor's Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

JDM Evelyn Wooten said Pettigrew gave supervisors room to grow and room to disagree. "He gave me the freedom to do my job and make decisions. I feel very fortunate to have worked with him."

Others called Pettigrew decisive, dependable, gentle, sincere and compassionate.

Pettigrew left his position as an assistant Judicial IV chief on June 30th, after working 32 years for the Division of Adult Probation and Parole. u

Larry Harris

Raleigh — Larry Harris was the first and only African-American branch manager for the Division of Adult Probation and Parole. He was honored June 30 at a Raleigh luncheon for his 29 years of service to the State of North Carolina.

Retired North Central Area Program Supervisor Louis Powell said Larry Harris did a lot of trailblazing, led by the trailblazer, Frank Bright, former assistant secretary of the Department of Correction.

Bright knew Harris before he came to corrections when Harris was working for the Boys Scouts’ Occeneechee Council in Durham. Bright had just been involved in a near-fatal accident, and Harris began visiting him daily. During that time Bright began to sense that Harris not only wanted to make a difference, but that he could make a difference. He encouraged Harris to come to DAPP.

"He came in with ideas and suggestions, not to accept the status quo," Bright said. "Larry was not a quitter, not a runner. He was in it for the long haul."

Since 1995, Harris was the assistant director of Program and Support Services, working with the overall goals and objectives of the Community Corrections Strategy for North Carolina.

Harris began working in 1969 as a state probation officer. He served in several positions including an assistant branch manager in Durham and Charlotte, a branch manager in Raleigh, administrator of Intensive Supervision and Electronic House Arrest, and as chief of Program Services.

Harris served on many boards and councils. From 1984-86, Harris served on the Region V Board of the American Probation and Parole Association which covered four states and Washington D.C.

"Mr. Harris is a long-standing and true career professional in the Division of Adult Probation and Parole," Deputy Secretary Theodis Beck said. "He has served this agency with distinction." u

Evelyn Wooten

Research Triangle Park — The tributes to Evelyn Wooten were heartfelt and touching. A box of tissue sat in front of Evelyn Wooten throughout the June 26th farewell luncheon, but she smiled throughout the many tributes.

"Evelyn Wooten is one of my most favorite people in Probation and Parole," said Correction Secretary Mack Jarvis who worked with her through the years on several committees. "She epitomizes good public service. She'll be a tremendous loss not only to the Department of Correction, but to the State of North Carolina." Jarvis presented Wooten with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

Wooten started working for the North Carolina Probation Commission in 1969 as a probation and parole officer in Mecklenburg County. Retired DAPP Director George Barnes said, "Everyone was real excited when I hired Evelyn. I don't know anyone who has brought so much to the department as she has."

George Pettigrew was one of her supervisors. At the luncheon, Pettigrew said, "I deeply appreciate this dear lady. When I first came to Charlotte, she said, "I'll help you all I can." When anything needed to be done, she always volunteered and gave it 120 percent."

In 1975, Wooten was promoted to Unit Supervisor. She worked with people like Union County Intensive Officer Bill Carpenter who said, "She is the reason I made a career of this," and then he quipped, "and I forgive you for this." Carpenter continued, saying that Charlotte was a very difficult place to work, but Wooten refused to play into the stress. He said she showed patience, tolerance and positive thinking.

Wooten implemented and supervised many innovative programs and taught at the Criminal Justice Academy in Salemburg. She was given the 1984 Executive Cabinet Award for Management Excellence. Ten years later, and following several promotions, Wooten became the assistant Judicial Division II chief.

DAPP Director Robert Lee Guy said, "It's been remarkable and unbelievable what she's done for us. We cannot replace her professionally or personally in this agency."

That sentiment was echoed by training instructor, Tony Brown, who told Wooten, "You're leaving a big void in our family." u

Charles White

Asheville — After 33 years working for the Division of Adult Probation and Parole, assistant Judicial IV chief Charles White said farewell in June.

An Avery County native, White said during his career in probation and parole he saw a major shift from strict enforcement to treatment, and that he never looked back.

"The mission and pride associated with being a probation officer, along with new challenges as varied as the offenders coming and going in the caseload, combined to hold my interest and loyalty to the work," White said. "I can honestly say I always looked forward to going to work."

Four years after graduating from Western Carolina University in 1961, and after serving two years with the U.S. Army Twenty-Fifth Infantry Division, White became a probation officer assigned to Buncombe County.

In 1977, he earned his masters of Public Administration from N.C. State University.

"I enjoyed the opportunity to have been a part of managing the greatest expansions and change in the history of community-based corrections in the state," White said. Despite his many promotions into management, White always considered himself a probation and parole officer.

"Charles exhibited, throughout his career, a keen sense of what it is probation and parole officers should be about," Judicial Division Manager Roger Haynie said. "Always mindful of the importance of public safety, Charles had the unique ability to manage that concern as well as assist the offender through the rehabilitation process. Charles White leaves behind a legacy of character and professionalism. He never forgot our agency’s mission and encouraged all employees to eagerly embrace our goals." u

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