Activist receives Order of the Long Leaf Pine

CHARLOTTE — Mecklenburg County and the state of North Carolina recognized an activist responsible for helping dozens of students across Charlotte go to college.

John T. Crawford was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine during a surprise ceremony Tuesday night at the Mecklenburg County commissioners’ meeting.

That’s the highest award the state can present to a civilian.

Crawford founded Greater Steps Scholars back in 1983.

The program provides scholarships for students who live in public housing.

“This community has recognized what I’ve tried to do over the years,” said Crawford. “It’s been a lot of years. I’ve tried to do things to make this community a better place and to help, especially the children of this community.”

Crawford said he hopes the endowment they have for students will soon reach $10 million, so they can help even more with higher education.