Rex “Buck” Baity is a well-known face in Yadkin County. He can be found at most county commissioners meetings and participating on the board for Yadkin County Schools.
Baity was born to Dorothy Baity in Boonville in 1957. He attended Yadkinville Elementary and Forbush High School. He’s been a lifelong resident of Yadkin County and he has never wanted it any other way.
“I always said that I would live and work in Yadkin County until I retired because there’s really no other place that I need to go,” Baity said.
While Baity was growing up his family lived up the street from the Yadkinville EMT station. Baity would venture down the street and play cards with the guys and hear their stories from their job. He caught the bug for rescue services and decided to make it his career.
Baity attended Surry Community College where he obtained his EMT certification in 1978.
“When the county took over the ambulance service in 1978 I was one of the first 14 that was hired,” Baity said. “I told the county manager at the time that if he would give me a job then I would stick with it. I was true to my word and I worked for them for 30 years.”
A short time after beginning his career as a paramedic, Baity decided he wanted to add another service job to his plate. He developed an interest in law enforcement.
“I got interested in law enforcement in the 1970s because I was hanging out with some of the deputies at a cafe that I used to work at,” Baity said. “I thought that would be a decent job.”
Baity returned to Surry Community College in 1979 and got his law enforcement training and started working part-time with the Yadkin County Sheriff’s Office as an auxiliary officer, jailer and any other position that the department needed him to fill.
In 1999 Baity began his second full-time job when he joined the Boonville Police Department. He was asked to step up as police chief in 2002 when the previous chief retired.
“I had a lot of positive experiences in law enforcement,” Baity said. “It’s a community thing. You get out and meet the people. Most of the people I had to arrest were not that bad, circumstances just got to them and I would have to arrest them and bring them in.”
When Baity wasn’t busy working he was playing an active role as father to his only son, William. Baity served as the Boonville Rec Club football director for seven years while his son played and then went on to served as the PTA president for Starmount High School his son’s freshman year.
“He liked that everything I’ve done he’s been involved in too,” Baity said.
In 2000 Baity would step into his next major role, Yadkin County School Board member. He ran for a seat on the board in 1998 but was beat out. Determined not to give up he ran again in 2000 and won a seat; a seat he’s held ever since.
“I’ve always had a good thought about students,” Baity said. “I thought that maybe I could make a difference by working on the school board. To this day I still feel like somewhere along the way I have made a difference; maybe not every time but I do think we make a difference.”
Baity finally retired from his two full-time jobs in 2008 and decided that it was time for him to take some time to himself. He leased a house at North Myrtle Beach and enjoyed some time by the sea before returning to his hometown.
“I wanted to take a break after retiring,” Baity said. “I wanted to allow the new police chief in Boonville the opportunity to do things the way he wanted to do it instead of citizens coming to me because they didn’t like the changes. I wanted to back down and let him run things the way he needed to.”
Baity’s other passion is antique collecting and selling. He opened an antique flea market in Yadkinville in the early 1980s and ran it for six years before the building he was operating out of was sold.
“I used to collect cookie jars,” Baity said. “At one time I probably had 500. I’ve still got a lot of them. It’s amazing how many different kinds there are. At one time when antiques were expensive I had a collection that was probably worth more than my house was worth.”
In 2000 he decided to go back into the business and opened Boonville Antique Mall in a building that used to be a furniture store across from Dollar General. About a year and a half ago Baity decided to hand the store over to his brother and mother to allow himself more personal time.
Today Baity is focused on getting himself in good health and maybe traveling to the Florida Keys or Minnesota one day. He still likes to attend yard sales and auctions to try to find the next best antique and now he has his son by his side when he goes.
“We like to attend auction sales together and he knows even more than I do now because he’s a licensed auctioneer,” Baity said. “I rely on him a whole lot and I hope he relies on me too.”
Baity said that he just wants to enjoy his life to the fullest and continue to watch his beloved county grow.
“I would like to continue to do the best job I can do,” Baity said. “I never want to give up. I like to get out and have a little fun where I can.”
Reach Lindsay Craven at 679-2341 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.