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D. Ray Harrison, Jr., inducted into the Trenton Hall of Fame

The City of Trenton Board of Commissioners met Monday, January 25, to induct D. Ray Harrison, Jr. into the Trenton Hall of Fame.
Many friends and family members were in attendance at the beginning of the 5:30 p.m. meeting. Trenton Attorney David M. Lang, Jr. introduced the honoree, which in Gilchrist County needs no introduction.
Attorney Lang went on to tell of Harrison’s many accomplishments. Lang said, the Board of Commissioners of the City of Trenton, Florida, established the City of Trenton Hall of Fame to recognize citizens who have committed their lives to the betterment and prosperity of the City of Trenton community through their lifetime devotion and achievements.
This year’s nominee, throughout the years, has demonstrated a continuing pattern of selfless COMMITMENT, COMMUNITY SERVICE, INVOLVEMENT, AND ACHIEVEMENT, for the betterment of the City of Trenton and Gilchrist County, Florida as a whole.
The word SELFLESS, is defined as someone who is concerned more with the needs and wishes of others than with one’s own. One who is unselfish, altruistic, self-sacrificing, and self-denying.
This year’s nominee, Mr. D. Ray Harrison, Jr., truly exemplifies the criteria and principles for which this award was established and he is extremely worthy of this recognition. I’ve personally known D. Ray and his wife, Diana, longer than most members of this community, and they and their children have always been very close family friends.
While D. Ray’s accomplishments through the years really are too numerous to mention, here are some of his noteworthy milestones and accomplishments: He was born August 12, 1937 in Alachua, FL where he grew up and graduated from Alachua High School in 1955; He married Diana Webb in 1958 and they had two children, daughter, Renee and son, Dan (who passed away in 2000); He was employed by Williams Thomas Funeral Home in Gainesville, FL from 1955 to 1963; He is a 1959 graduate of the Cincinnati College of Embalming; In 1963 he opened Harrison Funeral Home in Trenton which he owned and operated from 1963-1968; He served as a Trenton City Commissioner in 1964-1965; He served as the Gilchrist County Property Appraiser from August 1965 to January 2005. While property appraiser he implemented the 911 mapping and addressing system for Gilchrist County 911; He was President of the Property Appraiser’s Association of Florida, Inc. from 1983-1984; He is a past President of the Trenton Rotary Club, having been a member since 1964, and he is a 1993 Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International; He was chosen as the 1994 Gilchrist County Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year; He is a recipient of the 2011 J. Min Ayers Lifetime Achievement Award from the Gilchrist County Chamber of Commerce; He helped organize, and served as President of the Gilchrist County Education Foundation, Inc., for its first 10 years; He has served as President of the Trenton Quarterback Club, and as President of the Gilchrist County Chamber of Commerce; He is the current Chairman of the Corporate Advisory Board of Haven Hospice and finally he served on the Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners from 2007-2019, where he also served as Chairman of the Board.
With these accomplishments, D. Ray has always found time to offer assistance to help anyone with their day to day problems and to counsel, advise, praise, listen to, or participate in some shape, form or fashion in the lives of several generations of Trenton and Gilchrist County citizens, many of whom are now leaders in our community.
In closing, although D. Ray is an Alachua County native, he has lived in Gilchrist County for so long and done so much for Trenton and the Gilchrist County Community, the most of us have always claimed him as a Gilchrist County native and most folks never even knew he was from Alachua County.
D. Ray has demonstrated through his deeds and action, the high standards and ideals for which this award was created, and in my opinion, there is no one more deserving of this special recognition for their service to the City of Trenton and this community.
D. Ray thanked the City of Trenton for honoring him in this way. He explained that he started his political career in 1964-65 as a Trenton City Commissioner. He went on to thank the citizens for their support through the year. Harrison said, “I really appreciate being inducted into the Trenton Hall of Fame, it a real honor.”