When Rick Reid retired from the National Guard in 2010, he was just pleased to know he had the chance to serve his country for 24 years. Recently, he received some well-deserved recognition for his service.
Reid, a supervisor in the department’s Structural Pest Control Section, was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal from the United States and a Certificate of Appreciation from President Barack Obama. In addition, the state of North Carolina presented Reid with a Meritorious Service Medal and a framed North Carolina flag. Reid also received a Certificate of Service from the National Guard Bureau, and his wife, Virginia, received a Certificate of Appreciation for her support of the Guard.
The recognition completed a long and rewarding journey for Reid. He was almost 35 years old when he decided to join the National Guard. For him, enlisting was a chance to serve his country, and one he originally thought would last six years. But after being called to active duty in the Gulf War and assisting local relief efforts following hurricanes Hugo and Floyd, Reid was hooked. “I got a sense of satisfaction from helping others,” he said.
Once he decided to stay on, Reid assumed more leadership roles with the National Guard and eventually rose to the rank of master sergeant. He said the position allowed him to work closely with enlisted personnel in the field, which he enjoyed thoroughly. During his years of service, Reid also worked with the military police and became a chaplain’s assistant – a move that later would lead him to become an ordained minister. He currently performs the Sunday service at a local nursing home near his home in Catawba County.
At the same time, Reid also moved up the ranks in the department. He first started working with Structural Pest Control in 1994. He was promoted to a supervisor position nine years ago, and is currently the western field manager. He supervises a team of six inspectors covering 51 counties from Murphy to Mebane. Reid said both roles required their own leadership style.
“The mindset was very different, and I had to constantly readjust from military to civilian, which was not easy at times,” he said. “I’m very grateful to my NCDA co-workers who have understood this transition all these years.”
Reid said the hardest part of being deployed, particularly in the Gulf War, was not being able to talk to his wife and two children. Now, military personnel can use the Internet to Skype with their families and email back and forth. However, during Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Rick said there were just a handful of satellite phones available, and he once spent three months without talking to his family.
During Operation Enduring Freedom in 2009, Reid was able to remain stateside and orientate soldiers for deployment. The assignment allowed him to be closer to his wife and children, who are now adults and have children of their own.
Enduring Freedom was Reid’s last mission before he retired from the National Guard on Oct. 21, 2010. And, now that his awards have arrived, he says Virginia can finally start planning his retirement party.
If you would like to send Rick Reid a message, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.