In showbusiness it's pretty common that 'normal people' (no-showbusiness) use special honours, prizes, rewards and degrees to get in touch with a famous person. For a city or a business it normally means publicity.
There's even a story from a young guy who studied at the ..... University in Tennessee. He and some other students made up a special (non-existing) degree. They decided to 'honour' Elvis with it. Contacts with Elvis was quickly made and the boy was allowed to hand over this sort of honour degree (non-existing) to Elvis. So they quickly bought a (cheap) plague to make it look more official. While giving it to Elvis (this was the mid-60s), Elvis took all the time in the world. The boy later on said that Elvis was quite humble towards him and full of respect of the 'award' and the university. Elvis told him that he couldn't go to college when he was young because he had to work.
So Elvis felt for this trick. And because he was sincere the student felt very ashamed. They never thought Elvis would take the invitation.
So this is an illustration of how to catch a famous celebrity. Perhaps that the governor from Tennessee wanted to meet Elvis and used this "you're a colonel now" document as an excuse.