Ryals honored with lifetime achievement award

Published 4:25 pm Tuesday, July 19, 2022


Beaufort County, NC – Deborah “Debbie” Ryals, Beaufort County, NC resident, received the North Carolina Association of County Directors of Social Services (NCACDSS) Lifetime Achievement Award at the Associations June 9th, 2022, Executive Board meeting in Raleigh, NC. The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented each year to a retired or former Director of Social Services who has made a lasting impact in the field of social work and contributed to the betterment of the community.

Mrs. Ryals, a long time Washington, NC resident, began her career in Social Services with the Durham County Department of Social Services in 1969. She served in several positions in Pitt and Lenoir County Departments of Social Services and finished her career as the Director of Greene County Department of Social Services in 2000. She has been an adjunct professor for the East Carolina University School of Social Work since 1998.

She served on the Beaufort County Department of Social Services Board for many years, and Mrs. Ryals has served on numerous committees and boards in the community including at First United Methodist Church. She was instrumental in organizing the local domestic violence shelter and served as President on the shelter’s board of directors. Mrs. Ryals is a tireless advocate for the citizens of Beaufort County, the staff at Beaufort County Department of Social Services, and the field of social work.

Mrs. Ryals is married to Phil Ryals. They have two children, Kristen Smithwick (Austin) and James Ryals (Megan) and four grandchildren; Sydney, Braden, Isabella, and Mae.