When a visitor to Scotland County crosses the county line his initial thought resembles something like “where in the world am I?” Once he arrives in Laurinburg and begins to explore the town he sees this downtown main street area has so much potential. To his surprise when he ventures just a couple of miles down Main Street, he finds a most urban setting, with shopping centers and a variety of dining options. But what really grabbed the attention of this visitor were the people who call Scotland County home. From the moment he stepped out of his car, locals at various locations made him feel welcome. He never once had a bad interaction where he walked away feeling like he was treated poorly or viewed as an outsider. Everywhere he went he was met with a smile and treated with courtesy and politeness. This should make every resident of this county proud. I’m writing about this visitor to share my first experience in Scotland County last December when I arrived to interview for a job with the County.
My name is Travis Allen, and I am the new assistant to the County Manager for Scotland County, and soon to be Clerk to the Board. My wife and I moved to Scotland County on December 30th, 2016, from Murphy, NC – a town that is smaller than Laurinburg. Murphy is situated 6 hours west of Laurinburg and is actually the last town in Western North Carolina before you cross in to either Tennessee or Georgia. Some of you may have heard of “Murphy to Manteo” referring to traveling from the last town on one end of the state to the last town on the opposite end. So how does a mountain boy like me end up in the Sandhills? My mother grew up in the Seagrove area so I have family roots in this region. I was finishing my Masters studies in Public Administration from Western Carolina University when I received an email regarding a job opportunity for clerk to the board in the county of Scotland. I had no idea where Scotland County was and, to make a long story short, after a couple of interviews and exploring the county a little more in depth like I described earlier I accepted the job and have been working for the County since January 3rd of this year.
As I said earlier, my first interactions with residents around the county were all positive and pleasant. My first meal when visiting after many recommendations was at 215 on Main, and believe me it did not disappoint. But while the food was incredible what struck me more was the environment and the overall attitude of the staff there. From the moment I stepped inside I was treated like I was at home. I’m usually not very attentive to details such as this, but in this moment the entire experience stuck out to me because I didn’t feel like a visitor. I would like to thank 215 on Main for that time because that visit helped persuade me to give Scotland County a chance and make it my home.
Being from the mountains adjusting to life in the flat lands has been trying at times. I still miss my mountains, but I now call Scotland County home. This county has so much to offer its residents. I have been pleasantly surprised to learn about some of the awesome things that go on within the county. From the parks and recreation department who are constantly holding events and offering various programs, to the historic properties and the festivals going on throughout
the year. Personally as a football fan knowing the love for high school football here is strong, Scotland County has so much more going for it than some may realize. One has to just get out and go discover it.
Working for a county government is never easy as you have to balance your personal opinions and views with what is right and best for the county and its residents. The big plus to me moving to Scotland County was I didn’t have any emotional ties at the time to the County, and therefore I knew I could be objective in doing my job professionally. So coming in to this job I wasn’t really sure of what to expect. I knew what duties were expected of me, but I had no clue what sort of atmosphere I was walking into when I started on that Tuesday back in January. Let me tell you now there is no way I could have anticipated everything that would be thrown at me on that first day. But looking back now and seeing what has transpired over the last three and a half months that has led me up to typing this article, I have to say it’s all been worth it, and I look forward to coming to work each day to work for a county that is constantly making efforts to expand and grow in order to provide economic security for its residents. The citizens of the county have reason to be proud of where they live. As someone who has only been here in the short time that I have I am happy to call Scotland County my home.
Travis Allen, the assistant to the county manager for Scotland County, wrote this week’s Focus on Scotland, an effort by community leaders on making Laurinburg/Scotland County a better place to work, live, and play.