Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor Mr. George Raz Autry, Jr., a proud veteran, a defender of education and a dedicated, lifelong contributor to the great State of North Carolina.
Enlisting in the Marine Corps out of High School, Mr. Autry honorably served our country in World War II. Upon his return, he attended East Carolina Teachers College where he served as Student Body President. Raz married his wife Ireni Toumaras Autry in 1951.
Mr. Autry then moved to my home county of Montgomery County, North Carolina, and helped open East Montgomery High School, my alma mater. Mr. Autry found further opportunity in Hoke County in 1967, where he became Hoke High School Principal and later School Superintendent. He continues his life of service today in Hoke County as a peach farmer, author, columnist, speaker, auctioneer and respected community leader.
An ambassador for education in North Carolina for more than 45 years, Mr. Autry has served in a multitude of prominent and important roles in support of youth, farmers and our community as a whole. Mr. Autry's impact on North Carolina will last for generations. His selfless service has inspired countless others, including myself. Mr. Autry has led through both example and instruction, and continues to serve as inspiration to all of us who know him. I was honored to nominate Mr. Autry for The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest order that can be bestowed in our State of North Carolina. Raz received that recognition recently, and he is certainly deserving of such a distinction.
I ask my colleagues to join me in honoring the life and work of my friend, a mentor, and my former High School principal, Mr. Raz Autry. Let us thank him for his life of continued service to the future of our Nation.
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