Some of Les Morrow’s earliest memories include riding around Claremont with his brothers and their father Hugh “DoDoll” Morrow as he went on patrol.
DoDoll Morrow, as most people knew him due to his dark, curly doll-like hair as a baby, served a long career in law enforcement, which inspired his sons to follow in his footsteps.
“I was 20 years old when I started at the (Catawba County) sheriff’s department,” Les Morrow said. “Sheriff asked me who my daddy was and his nickname was DoDoll so I said DoDoll and he said ‘I know who that is …’ They give you a gun and a badge and say go to work, and I did.”
That was in 1974. Since then, Morrow has also worked for the Claremont Police Department, N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles Enforcement Section and the N.C. State Highway Patrol. He also served as police chief for the Town of Catawba’s police department from 1985 to 1994.
Now, Morrow, who is 65, works two days a week for the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office at the Catawba County Justice Center.
“I’m on the summer schedule,” he laughed, explaining he works two six-hour shifts a week. He likes to spend the rest of his week during the summer at his beach house at Topsail Island, as long as there isn’t city council business to attend to.
Morrow has served on the Claremont City Council for two years.
“We don’t always agree, but at the end of the day we can say we’re still friends,” Morrow said, adding how he also knows they all want what’s best for Claremont.
At the Claremont City Council meeting on June 3, Morrow received a surprise he never saw coming: His family and friends honored him with the highest award for state service granted by the governor, The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, which is given to individuals who have made significant contributions to their communities.
“I had no idea and it didn’t really hit me what was going on until I saw Israel, Karen and the girls walk in,” Morrow said.
It was a special moment for Morrow, whose son Israel Morrow presented the award to him. Israel Morrow and his wife, Karen Morrow, also serve in law enforcement as an Alcohol Law Enforcement supervisor and SBI agent, respectively. Together they have two daughters.
“That was the first time I’ve really been at a loss for words,” Les Morrow said.
Morrow has been a resident of Claremont his entire life. He and his wife of 46 years Beverly Sigmon Morrow met at Bunker Hill High School. “She’s been the backbone,” Morrow said, reflecting on how much his wife and her love and support have meant to him throughout their lives and his career.
To Morrow, family is everything. He has a close relationship with his son and his granddaughters, who mean the world to him.
The support from his family, friends and community during Morrow’s life have kept him going. Sometimes that came from his fellow law enforcement officers having his back.
Early on in his career, it wasn’t uncommon for one deputy or officer to be on duty for the entire county at a time. One day, Morrow went to serve a warrant to a man who ended up taking Morrow’s nightstick away from him and beating him with it.
“I had to crawl out of there,” Morrow said. Fellow deputy David Pruitt came to his rescue. Morrow was so badly beaten, Pruitt thought he’d been shot.
“I was glad to see him,” Morrow said. “Today, he is one of my best friends.”
During his law enforcement career, Morrow has served as a deputy, investigator, state trooper and instructor. He’s also had opportunities to take part in rescue missions during natural disasters across the state.
He retired from Highway Patrol in 2007.
“I would not change my life in law enforcement for nothing,” Morrow said, adding he doesn’t plan to retire anytime soon.
Morrow dedicated his life to serving others and he wouldn’t have it any other way, he said.
Over the years, Morrow has also been involved in Bunker Hill High School athletics. He and his wife volunteer in the concession stand during football season. Morrow is also heavily involved in planning the annual Masonic Ham Day in raising money for The Children’s Home of Oxford and Eastern Star Home for the last 30 years.
The only time he’s missed a Ham Day, he said, was to be present at something for his granddaughters.