A lifelong resident of Yadkin County, Wayne Dixon has been a public servant for most of his life.
After graduating from Forbush High School, Dixon went on to Gardner-Webb and Western Carolina Universities, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in social science. After graduation he returned to Yadkin County and quickly found work in the Department of Social Services as a social worker.
“The director of social services told me that he had a job opening, and I said you know I might solve most of the world’s problems in a few months,” Dixon said, laughing. “I always wanted to be of service, and I’ve always had that mindset for some reason.”
He got involved in a new state program that paired the Department of Juvenile Justice with the administrative offices of the courts. This program established juvenile probation.
“In the past they had always just had adult probation officers, and then they started this new program to have juveniles placed on probation, and they would be assigned to court counselors,” Dixon said.
While managing the juvenile probation in Yadkin County and part of Wilkes County Dixon, he decided to go back to school for his master’s degree. He pursued his master’s in political science at Appalachian State University and had a concentration in public administration.
“I went to Appalachian, and they were very understanding of an adult who was coming back to school that was older than some of the professors. Or at least I felt like I was,” Dixon said.
After obtaining his master’s degree, Dixon received a promotion to chief court counselor and was able to be involved with the establishment of several group homes and facilities for children and their families.
He eventually received another promotion to area administrator, which put him in charge of 32 western North Carolina counties and 132 employees.
“I did a lot of traveling, which was interesting,” Dixon said. “I was able to help set up a lot of different programs and do a lot of good things with employees and others to develop programs for juveniles in western North Carolina.”
Dixon was given more responsibility as time went on and managed 47 counties and 200 employees at the peak of his court-counseling career. His field finally became its own department in the state and Dixon played a role in developing the department’s policies and programs.
“At one time we had almost 500 community based-type programs in my 47 counties,” Dixon said. “We felt like we were helping kids and families by giving them a place when they had problems and issues.”
After years of traveling Dixon decided he needed to get off the road and find a job that allowed him more time with his family. He was elected to Yadkin County’s Clerk of Court in 2002.
Dixon now serves as the record keeper for all court actions. He hears divorces, foreclosure hearings, estate hearings and many other functions that don’t require a courtroom setting.
“It’s been a wonderful experience to be a clerk,” Dixon said. “I can’t thank the people enough for putting me in here and to give me that opportunity.”
As important as work is for Dixon, he says his love for his family is more valuable. He is married to Betty Dixon and the couple has two sons, Charley and Benjamin.
Charley is married and has two daughters, Taylor and Reagan. Benjamin is developmentally disabled and lives with Dixon and his wife.
“I told the doctor when we found out that he was handicapped that I was going to take him home and raise him just like I did my other son,” Dixon said.
Dixon refers to Benjamin as his “buddy,” and his eyes brighten when he talks about him. He says that Benjamin spends time at New Horizons Adult Day Services and stays active.
“He’s a joy; he gets up in the morning, and he starts smiling from the time he wakes up to the time he goes to bed,” Dixon said. “We have a good time and we make the most out of everything that we can.”
Dixon says that Benjamin likes to watch him as he works on his farm and that he occasionally finds work that Benjamin can help him with.
“My wife once said if you jump off a roof make sure Ben isn’t watching you because he’s going to jump off right behind you,” Dixon said laughing. “He’s been a blessing to us. Whenever we’re feeling down we just look at Ben and he will just light your day up. He’s an inspiration to us.”
Aside from spending time with his family, Dixon says that he enjoys working out at the YMCA and being involved at his church, Yadkinville Methodist Church.
“Yadkin County has a lot to offer, but you really have to work on the opportunities to make them come to reality,” Dixon said. “It’s a good place to live and a good place to bring my family up. I really enjoyed my decision to stay here. Others would disagree with that, but the good red clay of Yadkin County has been good to me.”
Reach Lindsay Craven at 679-2341 or at email@example.com.