by: Natalie Pasquarella Updated:CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
On Tuesday night, there was an emotional Mecklenburg County Commission meeting when commissioners honored one of their own who lost a battle with cancer.
Neil Cooksey died on Wednesday and on Tuesday night, his family was there as his colleagues paid tribute to him.
The start of the commission meeting focused on a flickering candle in front of an empty chair where Cooksey once sat.
While a video played on of one of Cooksey's last appearances in the chamber.
"I want you to focus on lifting up those who are downtrodden and need it," said Cooksey in the video.
Commissioners wore purple ribbons. The color represents pancreatic cancer, the cancer that took Cooksey's life.
"I wasn't prepared for the purple seat when I came in tonight, and I just feel like he's still here," said Jennifer Roberts, commissioner at-large.
Each commissioner has shared memories of Cooksey, referring to the strong qualities that he possessed.
"Your willingness to hear all perspectives, and your true sincere compassion that you demonstrated in your service to this community," said Harold Cogdell.
The commissioners invited his wife and children to accept an award on behalf of their father for his service.
Manager Harry Jones wanted people to remember his best friend as a man who fought until the end to beat a cancer that Jones himself revealed months ago that he too is fighting.
"I just hope that my life can be as positive and beneficial to
others as Neil's life was to me," said Jones.
The award given to Cooksey's family was an induction into the Order of the Hornet. The award is the highest honor the board bestows for community service.