WILMINGTON -- After 35 years of public service New Hanover County's assistant county manager is stepping down. Pat Melvin has spent her entire adult life serving in the New Hanover County government. Melvin said, "If I had to explain life for Pat Melvin in a nutshell, I would say it would be that of a pioneer on many fronts." For 35 years Melvin has worked for the New Hanover County government. She started in 1972 as a steno clerk, fresh out of high school. Next month she'll retire as the county's assistant manager. Melvin said, "To move up through the ranks is a personal success to me as one who grew up in a community where I would have otherwise been considered a statistic." Melvin, 53, grew up in Wilmington when the city was wrought with racial tension. She says the violence and chaos she witnessed during the city's race riots in the early seventies inspired her to make a difference. Melvin said, "I came to understand very clearly through that process and through some personal experiences in life what discrimination felt like, what it looked like. And I had an interest in that as a community we did in fact take every step necessary to ensure good human relationships." Throughout her career Melvin has held leadership roles in the community, devoting herself to creating equal opportunities those less fortunate. She's also done extensive work with minority owned businesses and helped the underprivileged have better access to healthcare. Melvin said, "I think the challenge of life and making life better for the citizens of New Hanover County, whether it's on an economic front or on a human relations front has been the best experience that I've had and the best memories that I've had in the community." Now Melvin is leaving city government, but she's not done serving her community. She plans to continue working as a minister. "This is the greatest leap of faith that I will ever take. And I cannot tell you the format that it will take. However, I will tell you that that's the calling I have for the next phase of my life and I have to answer that calling," Melvin said. Melvin is already an ordained minister but is not sure where she will work after October. She says denominations don't matter to her and she just wants to continue to help her community.
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