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Reaching Way Back

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Eddie Holland poses with some cherished framed gifts, upper left him with the most recent board of county commissioners, upper right the certificate of appreciation for his service with the seals of all local towns and the county and lower left a favorite

When Eddie Holland met for the last time with Rutherford's board of county commissioners, he didn't end 12 years of public service. In fact, he will likely serve others as long as he lives.

Instead, he brought up the rear of five generations of Hollands in Rutherford County elected office.

He pointed to a photo of himself and Bryan King, Alan Toney, Greg Lovelace, and Michael Benfield and said, "Best board I served with. They care about the county. That's why I felt I could leave. I knew I was leaving the county in good hands."

While he had high praise for the other three commissioners, he added a special salute to current chairman, Bryan King.

"He's real witty and at first I was scared that he would get in trouble, but he's too smart for that," Holland said.

The multi-generations of Hollands includes his father, Gene, who served on the school board for parts of three decades and his grandfather, Summey, who was not only a county commissioner but the founder of Holland Furniture, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

The beautiful, rambling furniture company, which covers several buildings in Henrietta, is a tribute to a family tradition that offers, "quality at a reasonable price. A woman came down here from Cherryville and bought a bedroom suite from me. I asked her why a woman from Cherryville would come all the way to Henrietta to buy furniture. She said she has a sister in Ellenboro and she told her Holland Furniture is the only place to buy furniture in this part of the country."

Holland acknowledged that the best advertising comes by world of mouth.

But his passion for serving customers can also be found in his passion to serve the taxpayers.

"My mother had a heart condition, so I learned CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation.) After I learned it, I had to do it three times. Each time it took the ambulance 45 minutes to get here. I ran for county commissioner to get an EMS station in the southern part of the county. Now everytime I hear that ambulance roll out and hear that siren, it is music to my ears. They may be saving somebody's life," Holland said.

He also advocated for the branch library in Henrietta, the new science building at ICC and the Facebook facility in Forest City, acknowledging that all these accomplishments were a team effort among many local officials.

But his first love is helping people solve problems, a love that will go on in the years ahead.

Holland has received a number of notes of appreciation and contact from both Republicans and Democrats for his 12 years of service. One note read, "Your years of service and your care for our county is greatly appreciated." Another said, "I want to thank you for all you've done as a county commissioner."

In the back of one of Holland Furniture's store buildings is a museum of Avondale and Henrietta, including the safe door from the Haynes Bank, which Holland has installed in a brick wall constructed for just that purpose. There are also old calendar's which his grandfather gave away to customers as a promotion. The calendars, featuring beautiful photos and art work are now framed and preserved for posterity.

The 1969 Chase High graduate also had kind words for some of his high school teachers: Mrs. Spratt in English, Mr. Huss in math, Mr. Harris in chemistry, and Mrs. Moore in science. But his biggest influence was his father.

"A father can put things in black and white terms and make everything real clear. That's wisdom," Holland said.

He has a daughter who went to Carolina and he pulls for the Tar Heels. Holland is a graduate of Campbell University.

He said when Jack Connor ran against Chris Francis for sheriff both of them bought a mattress from Holland Furniture.

Which one did Holland vote for?

"They didn't ask," he said.

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