Your Neighbor: Meet Richmond Griner
By Mandy Haggerson
For the Clemmons Courier
Richmond Griner grew up in Clemmons and from a young age appreciated the opportunities that came his way from hard work and taking initiative. “I was fortunate to have parents that have always been very supportive of me. I also took note of how much they enjoyed their professions, my dad as a nurse anesthesiologist at Wake Forest and my mom as a teacher. I knew that honing in on what you love and making it your life’s work is important,” explains Griner.
Griner found that playing soccer and lots of it was a great way to challenge himself physically and mentally. Playing for Twin City Youth Soccer, now known as N.C. Fusion, as a kid, Griner found the discipline and competition to be rewarding. “I was able to play with kids from different schools and develop friendships with them too,” reflects Griner. He also played for his local high school, West Forsyth. While at West Forsyth, Griner focused on his academics and other extracurricular activities. One of the standout programs that he participated in was YMCA based and nationwide known as Youth and Government. “Students participated in a government model program that focused on the legislative, judicial and executive branches. People came from all over the state to work on various projects including proposing a bill, trying to get it approved, and everything that is entailed in the process. For me, I love history and politics, and I also like talking and connecting people. This program resonated and inspired me,” says Griner.
When Griner began looking for a college that would continue to challenge him both inside and outside of the classroom, he focused in on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “Both my dad and sister had gone there, and I knew it was one of the top public schools in the country. Having been in public schools all my life, I appreciated what I had been given from them, and thought it was a good fit. When I had to declare a major, I chose political science. From my time in the youth and government with the YMCA, I knew it would be a meaningful degree. I chose to minor in biology and chemistry though because ultimately, I plan to go to dental school. Becoming a dentist will give me the opportunity to have a work life balance, allow me to help people, and still continue to learn daily. I’ve always believed in asking questions and to listen. The idea of also mastering a skill is very intriguing to me. Growing up, I never felt like I was the best student or athlete, and this would be a great way to gain mastery of a subject and skill,” notes Griner. “I hope to be accepted to Carolina’s dental school program.”
As Griner continues down the path of heading to dental school, he has affirmations of dentistry being the right choice. “I interned this past summer at pediatric dentists, Spangler, Rohlfing & Lambert DDS this summer. It’s been a great way to see what the day to day is like and be a part of a great team over there,” mentions Griner. He also initiated a dental drive to benefit the Community Care Center in Winston-Salem. “I’ve spoken to my congregation, Highland Presbyterian Church and the Jerry Long YMCA where they have allowed me to place boxes to collect toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash and floss to help those in need,” explains Griner. “I’ll be collecting items until the end of July and then all of the donations will be distributed through the Community Care Center.”
Griner believes of the importance of giving back to a community that has always supported him. “It’s been great to see people come together when there is a need. People have been very generous and willing to do what they can to support one another. I’m really looking forward to what’s ahead and continuing to do my part.”