trending Rountree gives to help others, because he recognizes the help he has received over the course of his life. Rountree’s involvement in the community goes far beyond writing checks. He sees himself as a mentor and a role model, and someone who can equip other role models, for the purpose of helping youth. It is a facet of his personality that is fueled in large part by the memory of that summer evening in 1973, when it was driven home that as someone in the public eye he has a responsi-bility to use his influence to the benefit of others. “That young man’s message, through his mother, reminded me of the role that people in public office have an opportunity to play in the lives of youngsters,” he says. “It’s been a constant reminder that as my mother and my wife have both said, ‘George, when you walk into a room people know you’re there.’ So the question is, are they going to know it in a positive fashion or are they going to know it in a negative fashion? Are they going to know it because they understand that you believe in helping others, that you believe that people are more important than things, that you have practiced what you’ve preached?” Rountree, who overcame a pronounced stutter as a young man, now speaks at schools and to groups of young people every chance he gets, to dispense the wisdom acquired over the years. He warns young people about “the three legs on which the stool of failure rests: I’m entitled to it; because I’m entitled to it I want it now, I want instant gratification; and if anything goes wrong it’s not my fault.” He gives them his four points for success: integrity, discipline, a positive attitude, and surrounding themselves with friends who want them to make it. He imparts the importance of patriotism, of knowing American history and the uniqueness of the Declaration of Independence, the only founding document to combine “nationalism and the absolute importance of individual freedom,” he says. “If a young-ster does not understand that we’re the first and only country in the history of the world that has done that, then he or she fails to understand why he or she lives in the land of opportunity.” This attorney with an impeccable command of the English language, who drops works like “adroitly” and “alacrity” into every-day conversation, preaches to anyone who will listen the necessity of learning how to communicate clearly — “every youngster needs www.wrightsvillebeachmagazine.com 17 WBM George Rountree volunteers his time as a motivational speaker at local schools. He is seen here at D.C. Virgo Preparatory Academy, located in the city’s youth enrichment zone.
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