King of the county: Hargitt earns citizen of year honor from Chamber

King of the county: Hargitt earns citizen of year honor from Chamber

Joe Hargitt, right, receives congratulations from Mike Parker, left, and Judy Jones during the Kinston-Lenoir County Chamber of Commerce’s 108th annual award presentation Thursday at the Kinston Country Club. Hargitt was named the Chamber’s Citizen of the Year for 2018. Photo by Linda Whittington / Neuse News

One of Eastern North Carolina’s kindest and most generous individuals received Lenoir County’s most prestigious honor Thursday night at the Kinston Country Club.

Joe Hargitt, the owner of King’s Restaurant, was named the 2018 Citizen of the Year at the 108th annual Kinston-Lenoir County Chamber of Commerce awards presentation. He joins a long list of previous recipients which include June Cummings (2017), Rob Bizzell (2016), Stephen Hill (2014), Danny Rice (2012), Cam McRae (2008), Bill Ellis (2007), John Marston (2006), Earl Harper (2003), O.A. “Buddy” Ritch (2000), Debbie Chused (1999), and Paul Wellman (1994).

“I’m in awe of all the people who have received this award in the past,” Hargitt said. “To be considered in that group of local heroes is truly amazing.”

Hargitt is a true American success story – he started at King’s as a busboy and worked his way up to buying the popular restaurant from Wilbur King a few years ago. Although they’re not related by blood, King said Hargitt is his son.

“I’ve had him for 30-some years,” King said. “I’ve held his hand the whole time and he’s held mine.”

In his introduction of Hargitt, local columnist Mike Parker was effusive in his praise of the restaurateur.

“Rarely does a fundraiser occur in Kinston and Lenoir County without Joe Hargitt’s involvement,” said Parker, who writes for Neuse News. “His kindness to the CSS Neuse Foundation seems to have no depth.”

Parker also praised Hargitt’s wife, Angie, who is a co-owner of King’s.

Robin Jones, center, was named the Ambassador of the Year by the Chamber. She was announced by Jess Edwards, right, and Judy Jones. Photo by Linda Whittington / Neuse

“In many ways, the true measure of a man is reflected in his wife,” Parker said. “Angie is a testimony to Joe’s character. … They are a team – a whirlwind of good in our community.”

Angie Hargitt said she is very proud of her husband’s heart.

“He is very deserving of this award,” she said. “Marrying Joe is marrying the restaurant and he let me know that early on.”

Kinston attorney Nicholas E. Harvey Sr. was one of the citizens who nominated Hargitt. He said he’s known Hargitt for 15 years and has always exhibited characteristics of honesty, hard work and respect for others.

“I would like to highlight his willingness to employ persons from all cross-sections of our community and his efforts to support the less fortunate in Kinston and citizens of the surrounding areas throughout the year,” Harvey stated in his nomination letter.

David Mooring, a former recipient of the award himself in 2015, also nominated Hargitt.

“I cannot think of another individual who gives more of his time and business assets to assist members of Lenoir and surrounding counties with community service,” Mooring said.

The Chamber also gave out two other awards Thursday night. Robin Jones, of Judy Jones State Farm Insurance, was named the Ambassador of the Year, while Andi Miller of Spirit AeroSystems received the Young Professional of the Year award.


Kinston-Lenoir County Citizens of the Year

1963 – Daniel T. Lilley

1964 – Donald L. Henson

1965 – Lynwood C. Turner

1966 – Neale K. Lawson

1967 – E. Linwood Scott

1968 – Simon C. Sitterson Jr.

1969 – Richard S. Whaley

1970 – Benjamin C. Fountain

1971 – Sol Schechter

1972 – Oscar Greene Jr.

1973 – R.B. Patterson Jr.

1974 – C. Felix Harvey III

1975 – Rose Pully

1976 – John R. Hooten

1977 – Sharon C. Larkins

1978 – Leo Brody

1979 – John R. Poole

1980 – Harold W. Hardison

1981 – Harvey E. Beech

1982 – W. Roy Poole

1983 – H. Fleming Fuller

1984 – T.J. Turner

1985 – P.C. Barwick Jr.

1986 – John Sherman Jr., Virginia C. Evans

1987 – William L. Peedin Jr.

1988 – George C. Harper

1989 – Roland L. Paylor Jr.

1990 – Jesse P. Wooten

1991 – Robert L. Joyner

1992 – Fred Hunneke

1993 – Vernon H. Rochelle

1994 – Paul W. Wellman

1995 – Jack P. Hankins

1996 – Jack A. Harrell

1997 – Annette T. West

1998 – Junius H. Rose Jr.

1999 – Debbie R. Chused

2000 – Mary Mac Ritch, O.A. “Buddy” Ritch

2001 – Andy Culpepper

2002 – Kay T. Harrell

2003 – Earl Harper

2004 – Michael Moseley

2005 – Donald Boldt

2006 – John Marston

2007 – Bill Ellis

2008 – Cameron McRae

2009 – James Tull Hill Jr.

2010 – Richard A. Holder

2011 – Gary Black

2012 – Danny Rice

2013 – Paul L. Jones

2014 – Stephen B. Hill

2015 – Wilma Robinson Boldt, David Lee Mooring

2016 – William Robert “Rob” Bizzell

2017 – June S. Cummings

2018 – Joe Hargitt


Kinston-Lenoir County Ambassadors of the Year

1999 – Pamela Byrd

2000 – Michelle Lempin

2001 – Edna Potter

2002 – Carol Cobia

2003 – Carolyn I. Hardy

2004 – Amanda Hill

2005 – G. Scott Barwick

2006 – Jay Conner

2007 – Margaret Williams

2008 – Jessica Lail Wilson

2009 – Joan Machamer

2010 – Lyndon Fuller

2011 – Jane Wynne

2012 – Molly Taylor

2013 – Jacques Passailaique

2014 – Jared Edwards, Jeanene McBride

2015 – Carmon Jones

2016 – Danielle Howell, Philippe Wouters

2017 – Christa M. Davis

2018 – Robin Jones


Young Professionals of the Year

2009 – Becky L. Hines

2010 – Tonya Adams

2011 – B.J. Murphy

2012 – Chris Raines

2013 – Ashley Chadwick

2014 – Tony Sears

2015 – Coleman Becton

2018 – Andi Miller

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