There are two ways a name ends up on something – donating significantly and generously or living a life and providing a service whose value might never be fully known.
Archer Lodge exists as a town today, in part, because of Jeff Barnes. Though his contributions to the newly incorporated town are known down every winding road and carefully planned subdivision, the town council on Monday had its eye on his legacy, naming the town council chambers at town hall in his honor.
Barnes is a founding father of Archer Lodge and an original councilman, serving four years until resigning two years ago because of illness. He’s a lifelong resident of Archer Lodge and dedicated decades to the Archer Lodge Volunteer Fire Department and the Archer Lodge Community Center. After more than 30 years as a builder, he retired from Bobbitt Design Build as vice president of Construction.
Last Monday, the town council named its meeting room the Jeffrey D. Barnes Council Chambers and hung a plaque inside and nailed a sign at the front entrance of town hall.
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Barnes sat in the front row at Monday’s meeting as the council dedicated the room in his honor and talked about his impact on the town. Councilman Clyde Castleberry grew up with Barnes, went off to college at N.C. State at the same time, and the two served together on the fire department.
“It’s been a blessing to be born 34 days before you,” Castleberry said. “We have grown up here. It has been a true blessing.”
Councilman Matt Mulhollem described Barnes as a pillar of the Archer Lodge community and said there was no one else the council could name its chambers after.
“I cannot think of a more deserving person to name our council chambers in honor of,” Mulhollem said. “Throughout the years, you’ve demonstrated a selfless devotion to the people of our community. You have led and served from up front, in the community center, fire department and the town. We appreciate all that you’ve done for Archer Lodge and the example you have set. You are truly a man among men.”
With his construction background, Barnes was integral in bringing town hall to life. Former councilman Carlton Vinson said Barnes’ contributions go further than that, to his role in upholding a certain culture in northwest Johnston County.
“It was an honor and pleasure to be part of what we did here in Archer Lodge,” Vinson said. “I will never forget the contributions he made, not just to our town but to our community and everything that stands here and our way of life here in Archer Lodge.”
Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell attended last Monday’s ceremony and jokingly offered Barnes a get out-of-jail-free card, should he ever find himself on the wrong side of the law.
“This is what community is all about,” Bizzell said. “As long as I’m the high sheriff of Johnston County, Jeff Barnes will never go to jail.”