By Paul Gable
Horry County District 5 council member Paul Price announced today that he will not seek re-election this year.
Price, who is retired from the military and the highway patrol said it was time to focus on his family.
“When I look at my life as a whole, I’ve served the country, the state and the county for a total of 45 years,” Price said. “It’s time to focus on family now.”
Price said his 45 years of service was a team effort with wife, Judy, supporting him the whole way.
“I look back on how much encouragement and support my wife gave through the years,” he said. “She was the one person I could always count on for advice. Without her I couldn’t have accomplished what I did.”
Elected in 2010, Price focused on improving the Garden City and south end of the county during his one term in office.
Among the projects he is most proud of are a parking lot in Garden City to help alleviate parking problems for those going to the beach; beautification of U.S. 17 Business including signs identifying Garden City; a website for Garden City that is coordinated with the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce; identification of all public parking spaces in the Garden City area and improvements on the 16 beach access areas including an Adopt the Beach Access program which is maintained by residents.
“It takes time to make things happen, but my thrust was to bring Garden City and the south end of the county to the fore,” said Price. “My goal was to leave the district better than it was when I took office. People like to see things improve.”
On county wide issues, Price is proud of being the only member of council to vote against the West Jet contract, which cost the county $551,000 last year and supporting the amendment to the county’s solid waste flow control ordinance.
“I personally do not support authorities as public policy and I do not believe in giving tax dollars to for profit companies,” Price said.
Price will complete his term of office December 31, 2014.
Below is a reprint of a Public Servant of the Week profile I wrote on Price for Carolina Weekly:
With the draft in full operation, Paul Price graduated from high school in 1966 and immediately enlisted in the Marine Corps. Trained as a rifleman and truck driver, Price spent most of his seven years at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, N.C.
“I went through all the training, but never received orders to Vietnam,” Price said. “I spent some time on Navy ships when my unit embarked for exercises, but basically I was at Camp Lejeune for most of my time.”
Price received his discharge from the Marines in 1973 and moved to South Carolina where he joined the highway patrol. In 1988, Price decided to return to military service as a member of the North Carolina Air National Guard.
“I decided to go into the Air National Guard and finish out my time for retirement,” he said. “The weekend each month I was off from police work, I did my guard training.”
During the buildup for Operation Desert Storm, Price was called to active duty.
“I was activated for about six months,” Price said. “The main operation we were involved in was getting equipment from McIntyre Air Force Base loaded up and over to Saudi Arabia for Desert Storm.”
Price returned to active reserve status for the next 10 years training one weekend per month and two weeks during the summer. He retired from the highway patrol in 1997.
In 2001, Price was again called to active duty immediately after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and spent the next five years on active duty. He was initially assigned as part of Operation Noble Eagle, which was a partial mobilization of reservists to help with homeland security and civil support missions immediately after the attacks. In 2002, he was sent to Kuwait where he took part in operations Southern Watch and Enduring Freedom.
“We flew a lot of different missions generally rotating between Kuwait, Oman and Pakistan,” Price said. As the buildup for the invasion of Iraq was beginning, Price was ordered to Charleston Air Force Base in South Carolina where he was a first sergeant with the security forces providing base security. He remained there until his retirement in 2006.
“The regular Air Force guys were basically rotating six months to Iraq and six months back, so they used us to provide continuity in base security at Charleston,” he said. ”It was a great assignment.”
After his retirement, the Prices moved to Horry County. In 2010, Price decided to try his hand at politics by running for Horry County Council from District 5.
“Howard Barnard decided to run for chairman and I had several people approach me about running for his seat in District 5,” Price said. “I had watched the political scene in the county for four years and there were some things I didn’t agree with so I decided to run.”
Price said the most rewarding part of serving on council is individual contact with constituents.
“I average 10 to 15 calls per week from constituents needing help or offering their viewpoint on an issue,” Price said. “When you can do something to help people improve their lives or save money it is very rewarding.”
Price is known for holding town hall meetings with his constituents at least twice a year to stay in touch with the voters. “People come from all over the county to attend the meetings,” Price said. “I give them an update of what has been going on at council meetings then open up the floor for anybody to ask questions.”
“When I ran for office, I told people I would give it a try for one term and would serve two at the most,” Price said. “I have enjoyed being a facilitator for the citizens of my district, but it’s time for me to retire.”