Sheriff Larry M. Pierce
Wayne County Native
Sheriff Lawrence, “Larry,” Pierce, Jr., is a Wayne County native, born and raised in the Nahunta community. He is the son of the Jean Hardison Pierce and the late Lawrence “Mack” Pierce, Sr. His parents brought up their 2 sons, Larry and Freddie, in the Nahunta Friends Church in Pikeville.
His father Mack, ran the Nahunta Hog Market and Slaughter House, and then opened the Nahunta Pork Center in 1975. Mack was also heavily involved in the volunteer fire service for many years and was a founding member of the Nahunta Volunteer Fire Department.
Jean is very active in her church and community. She is a member of the Nahunta Friends Church and the Nahunta Extension Club. His brother Freddie is a well-known and respected inspirational speaker and Christian comedian. Larry shares his parents’ commitment to family and community, as well as their strong work ethic and Quaker values.
In 1976, Larry graduated from Charles B. Aycock High School. During high school, he had joined the Nahunta Volunteer Fire Department, following in his father’s footsteps. He went on to attend Wilson Technical Institute, earning an Associates of Applied Science degree in Fire Protection. Later, while working, he completed his Bachelors of Science degree in Criminal Justice at North Carolina Wesleyan College, graduating Summa Cum Laude Honors with a 3.96 GPA.
Larry had a love for law enforcement, getting his first police “uniform” when he was just 5 years old. The Sheriff fulfilled this lifelong ambition when he graduated from Basic Law Enforcement Training and was sworn in as a Goldsboro police officer in 1982. That same year, Sheriff James Sasser would swear him in as a deputy sheriff and later promote him to detective. In 1987, with his hard earned Criminal Justice degree in hand, he applied to and was accepted by the North Carolina State Bureau of investigation.
When Mack was in dire need of help with the operation of the Nahunta Pork Center, Larry stepped away from his promising career with the SBI. He would answer his father’s call, and help run the family business as its Vice President, gaining valuable managerial experience. By now, the Nahunta Pork Center was a very successful and growing business.
However, Larry still was very active in volunteer fire service and was the only special deputy that was sworn in to be an Arson Investigator under Sheriff Carey Winders. On numerous occasions, he would come out to active arson crime scenes to lend his expertise and experience. He has been an active volunteer firefighter for over 40 years.
When Sheriff Carey A. Winders unexpectedly passed away, he was approached by many people in the community and the Sheriff’s Office to fulfill the remainder of Sheriff Winders’ unexpired term of Office. Seeing the need and having the commitment to community, Lawrence Maxton Pierce, Jr. was sworn in as Sheriff on February 14, 2014.
Wife & Children
In 1980, Larry Pierce married Rita Lynch. They have a son, Brandon that is married to Mandy Larson and they have a daughter Lauren, the apple of Larry’s eye! Larry and Rita attended the Bridge Church where he is a member of the emergency response team and a deacon. Rita and Brandon both work at the Nahunta Pork Center overseeing the day-to-day operations.
Over the years, Larry has received special recognition for his service to community.
- In 1985, Fremont Jaycees presented him the “Officer of the Year” award.
- In 1986, the Nahunta VFD recognized his commitment by awarding him the Fire Department Service Award.
- In 1994, the Wayne County Fireman’s Association presented him the “Fireman of the Year” award.
- 2000, 2002, and 2004 his fellow firemen at the Belfast VFD awarded him their “Officer of the Year” award.
- Larry would be voted in as Vice President of the Wayne County Firemen’s Association in 2008 and then be elected as their President the following year.
- In 2021, the Grantham Grange recognized him with the "Law Enforcement Officer of the Year" award.
He is a member of:
- International Association of Arson Investigators
- North Carolina Law Enforcement Officers’ Association
- The Wayne County Firemen’s Association
- Wayne County Law Enforcement Officers' Association
- The National Association of Fire Investigators