Newly dubbed Citizen of the Year Gary Rusch has called Hunt County home for more than 25 years, and has dedicated countless hours to service for his community.

Being named as “Citizen of the Year” by the Commerce Chamber of Commerce came as a huge shock to Gary Rusch.

“I was just in total disbelief,” Rusch said. “I had no idea that was even being considered.”

“I can think of several people in the community who would be deserving of such an honorable designation,” he added.

The flabbergasted Rusch was named Citizen of the Year in March at the 110th annual Chamber awards banquet held on the campus of Texas A&M University-Commerce. While taken aback by the recognition, he says that he is “extremely humbled” by the chamber’s decision.

Rusch was originally a Chicagoan, spending his early years up north. He graduated from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa with a degree in economics, with a minor in business administration. He began what has become his long career in banking soon after in the Rocky Mountain states, but made his way south the Texas more than a quarter of a century ago. Rusch has been with Alliance Bank for the past 26 years, and calls Commerce home. He was previously the Branch President of Alliance in Commerce, but has since moved to a role that includes the whole county.

In addition to his work at Alliance, Rusch has made a name for himself serving on almost any board and organization he can find. He currently serves on the Chamber of Commerce Boards for both Commerce and Wolfe City, the Northeast Texas Children’s Museum Board, the Rotary Club in Commerce and the Kiwanis Club in Wolfe City.

He previously served on the Boys and Girls Club Board in Greenville, the Kiwanis Club in Greenville and the Board of the former YMCA of Hunt County.

It seems like with all of that involvement, Rusch wouldn’t have a shred of free time. But he says he enjoys getting to serve in the community any way he can.

“Service is something I enjoy doing,” Rusch said. “By helping the community, I feel like there is a lot that one can get out of that.”

Rusch and his wife Mary have six grown children and 11 grandchildren.