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Education career led to a commitment of service for Gary Ridout

The Distinguished Citizen Award is given annually to citizens who, over the years, have consistently served the Smithfield-Selma area with outstanding ability and dedication. Recipients of this award have demonstrated their commitment to the vision of the chamber by "making the Smithfield-Selma area a community of choice." This award is sponsored by Woody’s Computing Service.
Our 2013 Distinguished Citizen has spent his entire life in service to others. As a member of Rotary clubs for over 30 years, he is part of an organization made up of business and community leaders who believe that service  is the basis of worthy enterprise and in particular to encourage and foster:
 1. The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service
 2. High ethical standards in business and professions, dignifying each Rotarians' profession as an opportunity to serve society
 3. Application of the ideal of service in one's personal, business and community life
 4. The advancement of International understanding, goodwill and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.
Cornell Cox, a fellow Rotarian, has said of this year's recipient: " He is the most service oriented person I have ever known. From the broad base from which our community provides opportunity to serve, it seems everything he does is geared around serving others. He always goes beyond the call of duty, going the extra mile, and that's without being asked to. Just to say he is dedicated to the Rotary motto "Service Above Self" may be an understatement."
 This commitment to service has led our recipient to a career in education of others as well as serving within his church and various other local charities. He has given of his time and money to not only serve our community but around the world through mission trips and study exchanges.


This year's Distinguished Citizen Award goes to - Dr Gary Ridout.
Gary has more than 40 years in education. He began as a vocational teacher in the Wake County schools before moving to the NC Department of Public Instruction. In 1985, Gary began working in the Johnston County schools- first as the director of Vocational Education and then as Principal at several schools before retiring in 2001. I use the word "retired" loosely because Gary has continued to serve the citizens of our county as a part time administrator and even today as a consultant to the Neuse Charter School. He has served in 23 of the Johnston County schools in an administrative role. What an impact he has had on so many young lives as well as the coworkers he worked along side.
Gary has served most recently on the board of the Smithfield Rescue Mission, breathing new life into a struggling yet vital area ministry. He also is very active in his local church, Centenary United Methodist, as a Sunday School teacher and chairman of the Communication Team. Along with these commitments, he has also served on various other charity organizations and in various leadership roles.
Eric Brownlee, owner of Golden Corral and a fellow Rotarian, nominated Gary and said of him, " Gary is involved in every fundraiser, special event, and endeavor for the organizations he serves. His energy level is unequaled, his work ethic unmatched, and his smile and positive attitude contagious."
Gary could not be with us in person tonight. He is on a Rotary Service Trip to the Dominican Republic where he and several other local Rotarians are building latrines in an area that has tremendous waste treatment problems. Accepting the award is his wife, Linda. But due to the wonders of technology, we hope to hear and see Gary through Skype.
It is with great pride and honor that the Chamber honors one of our 2013 Distinguished Citizens - Dr Gary Ridout.


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