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Carey, Johnson honored with PGA Lifetime Achievement Awards

Cape Gazette of Lewes, Delaware

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Pair chooses different public-service paths

Two Milford-area men who chose different paths of public service were honored Friday, June 25, with the Positive Growth Alliance Lifetime Achievement Award.

Retiring Rep. V. George Carey, R-Milford, was honored for 26 years of elected service representing the 36th District. Richard M. Johnson, owner of Richard Y. Johnson and Son Co., was honored for his commitment to strong business ethics working on some of the largest building projects in southern Delaware, and also for his volunteer efforts on behalf of several organizations, including the Boys & Girls Clubs.

Dave Kenton, a Milford Realtor and Positive Growth Alliance (PGA) president, who is running to fill Carey's seat, and Rich Collins, PGA executive director, presented the awards during a banquet in Independence Hall in the Independence development off Route 5.

Born and raised in the Milford area, Johnson graduated from Milford High School and the University of Delaware with a degree in civil engineering. After a stint with the Navy SeaBees as a chief petty officer, he returned in 1970 to take over the family construction business.

Richard Y. Johnson and Son Co. grew from building houses to building commercial projects. Some of those include renovations to several state buildings in Dover, including the governor's office. Among the company's many major projects are Sussex County Family Court; Sussex County Court of Chancery; Milford, Lewes and Rehoboth Beach libraries; Caesar Rodney High School; Epworth UM. Church in Rehoboth Beach; and Sussex County Emergency Operations Center.

Over the years, Johnson became involved in community activities. He donated the scoreboard at Milford High School, created a fund to support churches in southern Delaware and helped raise funds for the Western Sussex Boys & Girls Club in Seaford.

In 1990, he was appointed to the Milford Boys & Girls Club board of directors and has helped to raise funds for many club programs. The club's aquatics center was named in his honor.

He has also served on the Milford Public Library board of directors since 1997, serving as president in 2000. Under his direction, the library has become more active in outreach and children's programming.

He is married to Donna and the couple has two sons, Mark and Dean, who have joined the family business.

Carey's Sussex County farming roots date) back more than 200 years. His father, Vinal Carey, grew up on the same farm where Carey and his wife of 62 years, Jeanette, live today.

While serving in the House, Carey espoused his conservative philosophy by refraining from initiating new legislation because, he said, there were too many laws on the books already. Throughout his political career, he claimed he spoke for farmers, since he was the only full-time farmer in the General Assembly.

He assisted in several public works projects benefiting the 36th District, including green-ways in Milford; Wagamons Pond cleanup in Milton; beach replenishment at Slaughter, Primehook and Broadkill beaches; and the Milton Historical Society home.

He has served in the General Assembly as a member of four committees: agriculture, capital infrastructure, energy and natural resources. He was also a member of the Bond Bill Committee.

Talking about Carey and his crucial vote to secure a fire school in Sussex County, Sussex County Councilman Mike Vincent, R-Seaford, said he was the lone Republican to vote in favor of the measure. "He's earned our respect because at the end of the day, he's done what is right, " Vincent said. "He's voted for Sussex County."

Carey said his first task when elected back in 1984 was to mend some political fences in a predominately Democratic district.

"To me everyone is a constituent; I don't ask their party, " he said.

Carey, known for his sharp wit, talked about his reason for retiring. "I lived through the Stone Age and I've lived through the Iron Age, but I just can't hack the communications age, " he said.

Carey said email is not for him - he still prefers face-to-face conversations.

He also talked about the love of his life. He apologized because his wife Jeanette could not attend the function after falling and breaking her arm. "The best part of me is not here tonight, " he said. He noted that some other women had remarked how sharply he was dressed. "I always wear what my wife puts out on the bed for me. If it had been a negligee I might have worn that, " he said with a smile.

PGA is a coalition of landowners, business owners, employees and their families who promote the principles of free enterprise and the benefits of economic growth to counter the anti-growth movement. Rich Collins is its registered lobbyist.

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Original Publication Date: July 2, 2010

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