This week’s Hometown Hero is Barry Jacobs, the longtime Orange County commissioner who is stepping down from the board which he has served on for 20 years.

Commissioner Jacobs has been a deep impact on the community, including creating the Orange County Lands Legacy program which provides for the acquisition and protection of highly important natural and cultural resource lands. Jacobs has also long supported a living wage and helped ensure that Orange County does offer a living wage for all county employees.

Jacobs has also supported funding for Orange County and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, making sure that every single school has a full-time nurse. His role in the local sports community is also widely known, as Jacobs has written five books and hundreds of articles about ACC basketball.

Upon stepping down, Jacobs was honored with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, which is the highest award for state service that can be granted by the North Carolina governor.