Inspired by teachers, Havelock native Gary Shelton found his passion and a career

Published: Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 09:16 PM.

Today, Shelton does birthday parties, family events, parties for children, corporate events, roasts and toasts.

But his emphasis has still been on libraries.

"I’ve done 16 libraries this summer," Shelton said. "The whole thing is to inspire kids to go out and get into a book. Kids that read and read well by the third grade have done a lot to ensure their own success, so you try to inspire them to pick up different kinds of books."

For the last couple of years, Shelton has taken on an apprentice, Luther Jones, 8, of Bridgeton. Shelton met Jones in a costume contest three years ago.

"His mother made clear that he was serious about magic. It wasn’t just a costume to him," Shelton said. "I really got to know that he was sincere about it and I was going through a bunch of stuff at my office — magazines, books, and small tricks that people mailed me to try out. I just put together a little care box and gave it to Luther. The next time I saw him, he was performing them."

Jones helped Shelton for a show last week at the Pamlico County Library. Shelton, in turn, was helping Jones refine his technique.

"You give back," Shelton said. "We’re all lifted up when we lift others up." 

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