August 2004

It is not unusual to run into visitors that have driven 15-20 hours to get to Emerald Isle, or have flown from the western part of the United States. Rarely do I hear of international vacationers in Emerald Isle, but Town Manager Frank Rush, Mayor Pro-Tem Floyd Messer, and I had the pleasure of spending some time with one recently.

Gentry Smith is the Deputy Regional Security Officer at the U. S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt. He and his family have vacationed with us for the last 13 years, and they wouldn't think of vacationing anywhere else. They have traveled extensively throughout the world, but they always look forward to the time they spend each year in Emerald Isle.

Gentry was raised in Weldon and his wife in Gastonia. He studied Political Science and Law Enforcement at NC State and worked as a police officer in Raleigh before joining the State Department. They have three children, one at Duke, one at NC State, and another still in high school. He has been with the State Department for 17 years.

With a US security staff of 9, which oversees a 400 member local security force, he is responsible for providing security for the United States Embassy in Cairo, and for US officials visiting Egypt. His department is also responsible for gathering the information contained in travel alerts for United States citizens visiting Egypt, as well as issuing visas to Egyptians coming to the United States. His group processes numerous visa applications each day, and each day someone is arrested because of improper documentation etc. Even with the anti-Americanism expressed in some countries, he says the lines to apply for visas to come to the United States are long almost everywhere.

We thank him for stopping by to inform us about his work in Cairo, and wish him well in his new assignment as Regional Security Officer in Tokyo, Japan. He said his family may not be leaving Japan for their vacation next year, but that they would be returning to Emerald Isle for many years to come.

Posted by Admin Sunday, August 1, 2004 4:34:00 PM

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