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Local reflects on upbringing in new book

VALLEY — Fairfax native Dr. Terry Harrison has worked his whole life trying to do right by the community that raised him. According to him, his education, his career and his newly-written book, “Climbing the Ivory Tower: 101 to 999,” are dedicated to where he came from, which is right here in the Greater Valley Area.

To celebrate the new book and re-engage with his home town, Harrison will be holding a book signing at Bradshaw Library on Sept. 27. He said the event will also provide him with an opportunity to discuss the memoir with the people who inspired him to write it.

“I am standing on the shoulders of the old people in the Valley,” he said. “I wanted to make sure that my end result was a reflection on where I grew up. I was raised by the village of Fairfax and the surrounding Valley area. Those people put their arms around me and raised me.”

Harrison started his life in Fairfax pursuing education. From the age of five he devoted the majority of his efforts to getting the most out of what his schooling offered.

He attributes so much of his success to the people who raised him, because of the opportunities he was provided growing up. Harrison said that he was raised by a great aunt who was on a fixed income, forcing him to work at a furniture store and the textile mills to make ends meet. Had it not been for the people offering him those positions while he went through schooling, he said, he would not be as successful as he is today.

“The reason I wrote this particular book was to show young people that no matter what you go through in life, you need to go ahead and get your education, because it’s going to be important in the long run,” he said.

Attending Alabama State University for college, Harrison joined the Air Force so that he could eventually continue his secondary education.

“I was only going to go into the air force for four years and next thing I know, I was there for 24,” he said.

Throughout his service he was able to get a master’s degree from TCU and a doctorate from Kansas State. The subtitle to his latest book, “101 to 999,” comes out of his rise from introduction classes to those of the highest level.

Harrison wants to instill the values he picked up along the way with those who live where he grew up and said he is excited to come back to Valley.

“We have a tendency in small towns that when we go away we don’t come back,” he said. “My thing is, you have to come home and give back to the people who gave to you.”

The book signing event will be at 1 p.m. ET on Sept. 27.