Westbrook receives unexpected birthday gift

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Woodland Church Community resident Matoaka Westbrook recently received a pleasant surprise from friends, who bore tributes from North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper.

Westbrook celebrated her 100th birthday in August 2020 with a community drive-by parade.

COVID-19 restrictions have kept her close to home.

Last week, vaccinated friends delivered the “Old North State Award” to Westbrook. The prestigious award is presented by Cooper to recognize “dedication and service beyond expectation and excellence to the great state of North Carolina.”

She also received a State of North Carolina Centennial Birthday Proclamation signed by the governor.

An elegantly-dressed Westbrook was genuinely surprised.

“I believe this,” she said. “I don’t deserve anything.”

Westbrook grew up near Folkstone in Onslow County and moved to Duplin County after graduating high school. She and her late husband, Joe, operated Westbrook County Store for many years.

Westbrook worked as a licensed practical nurse at Duplin General Hospital for 19 years. She also worked as a beautician and often served as a counselor to the many who entered her shop.

Westbrook has been a faithful friend to her county, church and community, said Mark S. Hobbs with Snow Hill Church, where she attends. She “cares deeply for her family and continues to inspire all that witness her example and listen to her words of love, wisdom and encouragement.”

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