Raye is passing the camera on to someone else

Trudy Raye is set to retire in the coming months after taking the county’s driver’s license photos for the last 16 years.

Anyone who has had their driver’s license picture taken since 2005 has most likely met Trudy Raye who tells everyone, “Look up and smile, there will be no ugly picture taken here today.”

Chances are this encounter, although brief, brightened their day. This county employee who spreads joy to everyone she meets will be retiring April 1, 2022. “Leaving is bitter-sweet,” said Raye. “There is a season for everything and it’s my time to pass the camera on to someone else.”

Raye has been a DeKalb County employee since 1992 when she started at the Revenue Commissioner’s office. “I worked for Walmart and Winn Dixie for several years, but I’ve worked for the county the longest and feel this was what I was meant to do,” said Raye. “I was fortunately at the right place at the right time.”

Raye said she has taken 99.9 percent of the driver’s license photos for the last 16 years, saying she can only remember taking one sick day during all that time. She said she has enjoyed being employed in a place with a great work environment, where a person is allowed to be themselves. “I feel a job should not focus on the money you make, but on the connection you make with others,” said Raye.

Most likely anyone who has met Raye has been addressed with one of her endearing terms she addresses others with such as; “Love Bug, Sunshine, or Angel.” Raye says kindness has a boomerang effect. She credits her mother and the “Good Lord” for her positive, upbeat personality. “Momma always said, ‘” The Lord put it into our hearts to be kind.’”

Raye is the ninth child in a family of ten children. She still lives in the neighborhood where she was raised and is still surrounded by family. She loves the small town feel of Fort Payne where she says “everyone knows everyone.” She has been married for 44 years, has two children and four grandchildren, all of which live in Arizona, where she plans to travel frequently after retirement.

Raye said there will be a party (by invitation only) to commemorate her thirty years with the county. Raye was honored in 2019 as Employee of the Year, but will no doubt be best remembered for her kind, uplifting words that greeted everyone she met.

Currently the replacement to fill Raye’s position is being trained and Raye said the new lady is perfect for the job. “I’m passing the camera over,” said Raye. “Judge Osborn couldn’t have done a better job of hiring my replacement, she’s wonderful.”

Trudy’s Motto: “Momma always said, ‘Keep your hands, heart, and mind clean and you’ll go far.’”

— Marla Ballard’s Who's Who appears in the Times-Journal Wednesday editions.

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