Ask just about anybody who knew Dr. Joseph Stephen Hoard III, better known as "Steve," and they would tell you he was all about improving the economic and social problems of Tarboro and Edgecombe County.
Hoard died in August, 2011, but Edgecombe County residents are working to make sure his name is never forgotten.
The Edgecombe County Board of Commissioners did their part Monday night by adopting a resolution which will allow the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to name the Kingsboro Bridge over U.S. Highway 64 as the Dr. Joseph Stephen Hoard III bridge.
The initiative was forwarded by Edgecombe County citizens petitioning NCDOT to name the bridge in honor of Hoard. The Department of Transportation will have the final decision in the matter.
Hoard served two terms on the county board of commissioners and two as a Tarboro town councilman, including one in the mid-1980's and again in 2008. Hoard resigned before completing that term because of health reasons.
Hoard was a dentist by profession and operated a practice from 1962-2003. Although he was known as one of the best dentists in the county, he earned popularity as a savvy businessman outside the confines of his dentist office. Hoard was a co-founder of Kanban in 1978 and tlogistics company has been noted as one of the best operations in Eastern North Carolina.
Hoard works didn't go unnoticed. In 1995, he was given the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. He also earned the Tarboro/Edgecombe Chamber of Commerce's Citizen of the Year and the North Eastern Entrepreneurial Roundtable Entrepreneur of the Year.
Although Hoard cherished his business ventures, it seems as if he was most pleased by his civic duty of giving back to his community.
One of his many efforts included his fight to improve education in Edgecombe County. Nearly single handedly, Hoard pushed a laptop initiative in Edgecombe County that brought laptop computers to all three Edgecombe County Schools.
Hoard went on another sole adventure when he found out that Edgecombe County was ranked 16th nationally in breast cancer cases. The retired dentist bought posters and posted them along the roadways.
He also bought billboard signs advertising Tarboro in an effort to bring more people in the town.
"He was a very good public servant and he served from the heart," said Leonard Wiggins, chairman of the board of commissioners.
Commissioner Charlie Harrell said, "He did a lot behind the scene that we will never know about. He is very worthy of this honor."