Planes, Trains & Heroes: A Story of Warner Robins and the Robins Region

An illustrated history of Warner Robins, Georgia, paired with histories of the companies and organizations that have made the city great.

An illustrated history of Warner Robins, Georgia, paired with histories of the companies and organizations that have made the city great.

  • No tags were found...

You also want an ePaper? Increase the reach of your titles

YUMPU automatically turns print PDFs into web optimized ePapers that Google loves.

Thank you for your interest in this HPNbooks publication.<br />

For more information about o<strong>the</strong>r HPNbooks publications, or information about<br />

producing your own book with us, please visit www.hpnbooks.com.

HPNbooks, a division <strong>of</strong> Lammert Incorporated<br />

San Antonio, Texas

Houston County Hospital.<br />

First Edition<br />

Copyright © 2019 HPNbooks<br />

All rights reserved. No part <strong>of</strong> this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, without permission in writing<br />

from <strong>the</strong> publisher. All inquiries should be addressed to HPNbooks, 11535 Galm Road, Suite 101, San Antonio, Texas, 78254. Phone (800) 749-9790,<br />

www. hpnbooks.com.<br />

ISBN: 978-1-944891-67-1<br />

Library <strong>of</strong> Congress Card Catalog Number: 2019954602<br />

<strong>Planes</strong>, <strong>Trains</strong> & <strong>Heroes</strong>: A <strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>Region</strong><br />

author: Dianne Dent Wilcox<br />

executive editor: Marsha Priest Buzzell<br />

contributing writers for “Sharing <strong>the</strong> Heritage”: Garnette Odom<br />

Brenda Thompson<br />

cover design: Robert Elliott<br />

HPNbooks<br />

chairman <strong>and</strong> chief executive <strong>of</strong>ficer: Jean-Claude Tenday<br />

publisher <strong>and</strong> chief creative <strong>of</strong>ficer: Bernard O’Connor<br />

president: Ron Lammert<br />

project manager: Brenda Thompson<br />

administration: Kristin Williamson<br />

book sales: Joe Neely<br />

production: Colin Hart<br />

Evelyn Hart<br />

Craig Mitchell<br />

Christopher D. Sturdevant<br />

Steve Althouse<br />

Special thanks to Jenny Maas, Museum <strong>of</strong> Aviation.<br />



4 FOREWORD<br />

8 CHAPTER ONE Before <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

14 CHAPTER TWO Community Connections<br />

30 CHAPTER THREE Competition<br />

32 CHAPTER FOUR Churches<br />

36 CHAPTER FIVE Commerce<br />

44 CHAPTER SIX Schools<br />

50 CHAPTER SEVEN Quality <strong>of</strong> Life<br />

52 CHAPTER EIGHT Growth<br />

54 CHAPTER NINE The Future<br />



72 AFTERWORD<br />


74 WORKS CITED<br />


126 SPONSORS<br />


Contents ✦ 3


“Every Day in <strong>the</strong> U.S.A. is Armed<br />

Forces Appreciation Day”—<strong>the</strong> motto<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>.<br />

History is what we were <strong>and</strong> what we are. <strong>Planes</strong>, <strong>Trains</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Heroes</strong>: A History <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> treats<br />

history like snapshots, documenting significant facts <strong>and</strong> important happenings. It captures images,<br />

stories <strong>and</strong> commentaries for 2018, <strong>the</strong> seventy-fifth anniversary <strong>of</strong> a growing metropolitan region. No<br />

history is a complete history. Ra<strong>the</strong>r, each history is ano<strong>the</strong>r perspective. This author loves Georgia—a<br />

vibrant state with historical importance to America's stature globally. Growing up beneath <strong>the</strong> flight path<br />

<strong>of</strong> B-52s <strong>and</strong> F-15s leaves an impression. So does each individual. <strong>Planes</strong>, <strong>Trains</strong>, <strong>and</strong> <strong>Heroes</strong> looks at history<br />

based on facts, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> stories <strong>of</strong> people who live here. A few remember Watson Boulevard “when<br />

it was a dirt road,” <strong>the</strong> sound <strong>of</strong> Miss Nola Brantley’s school bell, a wooden train depot repurposed as a<br />

church sanctuary, base gate guards dressed in 1950s uniforms for an Air Force anniversary, a horrific<br />

September 11th, several Little League World Championships, <strong>and</strong> Butch, <strong>the</strong> Georgia Bulldog.<br />

During <strong>the</strong> years 1943-1944, <strong>the</strong> Georgia Sou<strong>the</strong>rn & Florida Railroad replaced a wooden depot<br />

at Wellston with a larger brick structure. The wooden structure was moved <strong>and</strong> became <strong>the</strong> first<br />

sanctuary for First Presbyterian Church. Known today as <strong>the</strong> E. L. Greenway Welcome Center, <strong>the</strong><br />

newer brick depot is <strong>the</strong> centerpiece for a growing historic village which includes Miss Mildred’s<br />

Country Store <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Elberta Depot built in 1918. Elberta is a community named for <strong>the</strong> peach<br />

produced in this area that withstood transport to markets on <strong>the</strong> eastern seaboard. Georgia is known<br />

for its peaches <strong>and</strong> part in <strong>the</strong> great Norfolk Sou<strong>the</strong>rn Rail System.<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> “is located in nor<strong>the</strong>rn Houston County…<strong>and</strong> consists <strong>of</strong> over 35.82 square miles,<br />

approximately 66,500 people <strong>and</strong> is home to <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base, Georgia's largest industry. It is<br />

in <strong>the</strong> heart <strong>of</strong> Georgia's agricultural belt <strong>and</strong> boasts an ideal climate” (<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Police<br />

Department). <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, <strong>the</strong> city which grew from Wellston <strong>and</strong> York, is one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

fastest growing cities in <strong>the</strong> nation thanks to <strong>the</strong> continued efforts <strong>of</strong> its citizens <strong>and</strong> its role in<br />

national defense.<br />

The City <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> emerged because <strong>the</strong> United States ramped defenses for World War II. Most<br />

expected <strong>the</strong> town to fade away after that war. It did not. The end <strong>of</strong> military activities in Korea <strong>and</strong><br />

Vietnam did not end <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>. The Cold War <strong>and</strong> desert wars did not end growth in <strong>the</strong> area, ei<strong>the</strong>r.<br />



The earth trembled as a B-52 emerged from a fog bank—its wings spreading to both extremes <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> horizon. The apparition<br />

confirmed my worst fears. It was <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> world, a chilling realization for a child on a Christian academy campus.<br />

Conditioning began in first grade with a screeching siren <strong>and</strong> Mrs. Grace instructing us to tuck ourselves beneath wooden laminate<br />

<strong>and</strong> metal desks. Walter Cronkite <strong>and</strong> Dan Ra<strong>the</strong>r re-enforced paranoia by showing young girls running down country roads, <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

clo<strong>the</strong>s burning <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong>ir bodies. Worse, <strong>the</strong>y were making <strong>the</strong>ir way through throngs <strong>of</strong> emotionally detached cameramen. Daddy<br />

ranted, “If God doesn’t judge <strong>the</strong> United States, He will have to apologize to Sodom <strong>and</strong> Gomorrah,” <strong>and</strong> o<strong>the</strong>rs said, “Don’t worry<br />

about it. The Russians will attack <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base first. We’re already dead. You’ll never know what hit you.” Some children<br />

wore dog tags so that <strong>the</strong>ir bodies could later be identified. As <strong>the</strong> giant air craft passed over my school, I prayed not for safety, but<br />

for an eternal home in heaven. The earth seems so temporary when <strong>the</strong> nuclear bombs fly over playgrounds. I thought about <strong>the</strong><br />

yellow <strong>and</strong> black signs for fallout shelters downtown. It’s a long way down town.<br />

One <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> many civilian workers<br />

employed at <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base.<br />

Foreword ✦ 5

Top: <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> City Hall.<br />

Middle: A B-52D Strat<strong>of</strong>ortress on<br />

display at <strong>the</strong> Museum <strong>of</strong> Aviation.<br />

Bottom: The modern flightline at<br />

<strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base.<br />


The United States <strong>and</strong> its children survived<br />

<strong>the</strong>se struggles <strong>and</strong> so did <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, a city<br />

that repurposes itself with each need <strong>and</strong> each<br />

opportunity. It’s now an International City in<br />

which individual citizens speak a minimum<br />

fifty-five languages.<br />

Above: The E. L. Greenway Welcome<br />

Center greets visitors <strong>and</strong> future<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>’ residents.<br />

Bottom, left: A welcome sign at <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Convention & Visitors<br />

Bureau, featuring some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> fiftyfive<br />

languages spoken by area<br />

residents.<br />

Below: A plaque honoring Butch <strong>the</strong><br />

Georgia Bulldog.<br />

Foreword ✦ 7



Remnants <strong>of</strong> a stone wall believed to<br />

be constructed by early Native<br />

Americans. Houston County, Georgia<br />

was home to Native American nations<br />

for thous<strong>and</strong>s <strong>of</strong> years.<br />

Early morning mist rises from <strong>the</strong> creeks <strong>and</strong> rivers <strong>of</strong> Houston County, Georgia, as thous<strong>and</strong>s <strong>of</strong><br />

workers commute to <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> technology hubs <strong>and</strong> businesses that support her.<br />

Strategic from <strong>the</strong> day people found this unique area, <strong>the</strong> l<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> water guards our free nation.<br />

Prehistoric Uchee, Hitchiti, <strong>and</strong> people <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Weeden Isl<strong>and</strong> culture once roamed forests filled with<br />

life-giving water, wild game, <strong>and</strong> edible plants. They followed herds <strong>of</strong> buffalo <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> seasons, which<br />

provided food <strong>and</strong> shelter. Archeological evidence shows an extensive trade network, accessed by trails<br />

<strong>and</strong> waterways. Muskogee-Creeks followed. Legends state <strong>the</strong>y came from <strong>the</strong> west, again drawn by<br />

Georgia’s sheltering forests <strong>and</strong> accessible waterways. Indigenous groups moved to o<strong>the</strong>r areas or were<br />

conquered or absorbed. This, <strong>of</strong> course, foreshadowed <strong>the</strong> fate <strong>of</strong> The Great Creek Confederacy as<br />

Europeans later followed <strong>the</strong> same paths, this time from <strong>the</strong> east. Native trails became European <strong>and</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong>n United States roads <strong>and</strong> highways. Later, Americas took to <strong>the</strong> skies <strong>and</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, Georgia<br />

was born.<br />

The area is still environmentally rich. <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base, as do o<strong>the</strong>r federal institutions, tracks<br />

<strong>and</strong> protects its locale. Biologists identified upl<strong>and</strong> forest, wetl<strong>and</strong>s, natural s<strong>and</strong> dunes, “400 plant, 39<br />

mammal, 110 bird, 60 fish, 34 reptile, 26 amphibian, <strong>and</strong> 411 insect species” here (“<strong>Robins</strong> AFB <strong>and</strong><br />

78 ABW Heritage Pamphlet”). The city is centrally located: 100 miles from Atlanta, 111 miles from<br />

A<strong>the</strong>ns, 150 miles from Augusta, 95 miles from Columbus, 11 miles from Macon, <strong>and</strong> 165 miles from<br />

Savannah (Guide to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>Region</strong> Georgia 3).<br />

Although Christopher Columbus comes to mind as <strong>the</strong> discoverer <strong>of</strong> America because <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

schoolhouse rhyme “In fourteen hundred <strong>and</strong> ninety-two, Columbus sailed <strong>the</strong> ocean<br />

blue,” people met him when his ships arrived in San Salvador. The key phrase is people met<br />


him. Columbus, living in <strong>the</strong> era <strong>of</strong> Guttenberg’s<br />

printing press, brought European attention to a<br />

New World. Estimated populations <strong>of</strong><br />

indigenous peoples living in America before<br />

Columbus’ arrival range from 2.1 to 18 million.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> area, <strong>the</strong>se peoples<br />

include <strong>the</strong> mound builders known as<br />

Mississippian or Master Farmers, <strong>the</strong> Uchee,<br />

Hitchiti, Weeden Isl<strong>and</strong> Culture, Muskogee-<br />

Creek <strong>and</strong> o<strong>the</strong>rs. Their oral histories, passed<br />

from generation to generation, were lost much<br />

to decimation <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir populations by exposure<br />

to European diseases. Only archeological<br />

records remain that researchers piece toge<strong>the</strong>r<br />

upon each discovery.<br />

When <strong>the</strong> U.S. government acquires an<br />

area for development, researchers conduct<br />

archeological studies. This occurred at Macon’s<br />

Ocmulgee National Monument. The work <strong>the</strong>re<br />

set <strong>the</strong> stage for archeological surveys at <strong>Robins</strong><br />

Air Force Base:<br />

In December <strong>of</strong> 1933 Dr. Arthur Kelly arrived<br />

at Ocmulgee Old Fields in Macon, Georgia to<br />

Above: A fragment <strong>of</strong> a stone wall<br />

built by early Native Americans.<br />

Houston County, Georgia, has been<br />

home to Native American cultures for<br />

thous<strong>and</strong>s <strong>of</strong> years.<br />

Below: Clockwise, from top, left): Rose<br />

chert, a shard <strong>of</strong> Kasita red pottery,<br />

paleo fossils, <strong>and</strong> a chunk <strong>of</strong> pottery<br />

from <strong>the</strong> Mississipian or earlier<br />

Woodl<strong>and</strong> culture.<br />



Chapter One ✦ 9

Archeology on Big Indian Creek, 2017.<br />

begin large-scale archaeological excavations<br />

with <strong>the</strong> assistance <strong>of</strong> over 200 men from <strong>the</strong><br />

Civil Works Administration. The excavations<br />

were expected to take two months, but were<br />

extended again <strong>and</strong> again utilizing labor from<br />

various Depression-era programs, such as <strong>the</strong><br />

Works Progress Administration (WPA), <strong>the</strong><br />

Federal Emergency Relief Administration<br />

5:16 (FERA), <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Civilian Conservation<br />

Corps. (Site Bulletin: “Civilian Conservation<br />

Corps at Ocmulgee National Monument”<br />

1937-1942.<br />

These men, between <strong>the</strong> ages <strong>of</strong> 17 <strong>and</strong> 23,<br />

lived in military-style camps <strong>and</strong> conducted one<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> largest archeological surveys in U.S.<br />

History. Ocmulgee’s Site Bulletin notes that “In<br />

1941 some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> CCC enrollees’ duties transferred<br />

to nearby Camp Wheeler, an infantry<br />

training facility” <strong>and</strong> “On December 7, 1941 one<br />

era ended <strong>and</strong> ano<strong>the</strong>r began.” The same was<br />

true for Wellston/<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>. In <strong>the</strong> 1940s,<br />

archeologist Charles Andrews led <strong>the</strong> surveys at<br />

<strong>Robins</strong>. Andrew’s team found artifacts from <strong>the</strong><br />

Paleo, Archaic, Woodl<strong>and</strong>s, <strong>and</strong> Mississippian<br />

peoples <strong>of</strong> pre-Columbian America at <strong>Robins</strong>.<br />

In 2017, Georgia’s Department <strong>of</strong><br />

Transportation sponsored Archeology on Big<br />

Indian Creek on South Houston County’s Highway<br />

247, near <strong>the</strong> Pulaski County line. Archaic people<br />

camped here during <strong>the</strong>ir hunting <strong>and</strong> working<br />

trips. They traveled by dugout canoe on creeks<br />

<strong>and</strong> on <strong>the</strong> Ocmulgee River, about two miles from<br />

this site. The ancient s<strong>and</strong> dune provides an undisturbed<br />

area for ongoing archeological study. On<br />

March 23, 2018, <strong>the</strong> group posted “The first sample<br />

dates <strong>the</strong> site to <strong>the</strong> Middle Archaic Period (ca.<br />

6000-3000 B.C.). The material used to achieve this<br />

date was a burned acorn shell that was recovered<br />

from 50 to 60 cm below datum. The second is<br />

from <strong>the</strong> Late Woodl<strong>and</strong> Period (ca. A.D. 650-<br />

1050) <strong>and</strong> was recovered from soot that was found<br />

on a fragment <strong>of</strong> s<strong>and</strong>-tempered pottery. The pottery<br />

was collected from 20 to 30 cm below datum.”<br />

Georgia’s Department <strong>of</strong> Transportation will locate<br />

<strong>the</strong> new bridge so that future study is possible.<br />

This section <strong>of</strong> highway is not an ancient trail,<br />

though. It was built specifically for workers to<br />

access <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base.<br />

When early setttlers migrated to middle<br />

Georgia, <strong>the</strong>y immediately recognized <strong>the</strong> area for<br />

its strategic value. Remains <strong>of</strong> a man-made stone<br />

wall sit atop Brown’s Mount, now in Bibb County.<br />

An obscure reference to a stone wall in Houston<br />

County led to rediscovery <strong>of</strong> a defensive work<br />

near Grovania. It is on private property. Although<br />

difficult to see using ground level photography,<br />

<strong>the</strong> wall crests a natural ridge over a creek <strong>and</strong><br />

circles, forming small strongholds on <strong>the</strong> highest<br />

outcroppings <strong>of</strong> that ridge. The distance between<br />

strongholds is appropriate for pre-historic<br />

defense. Topographical studies would show more.<br />

So, Middle Georgians <strong>of</strong> pre-history determined<br />

that our area was one to defend.<br />



“My gr<strong>and</strong>daddy, Ernest Hugh Holleman, Sr., was drafted for <strong>the</strong> army during World War I<br />

<strong>and</strong> was to report to Fort McPherson in Atlanta. He went to Echeconee to catch <strong>the</strong> train to<br />

Macon <strong>the</strong>n to Atlanta. When he reached <strong>the</strong> train station, he learned that <strong>the</strong> war was over <strong>and</strong><br />

that he could go home. It was November 11, 1918.”<br />

- Steve Holleman<br />

“In 1942, I worked in Macon in <strong>the</strong> long distance department <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> telephone company.<br />

There were only two circuits for long distance calls to Wellston at that time.”<br />

- Janie Townsend<br />

Several <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Mississippian mounds at<br />

Ocmulgee National Monument feature defensive<br />

trench work. These first Georgians took full<br />

advantage <strong>of</strong> natural assets, such as high-ground<br />

visibility, as well as creek <strong>and</strong> river transportation.<br />

In 1690, <strong>the</strong> British established a fortified trading<br />

post, whose archeological footprint is on <strong>the</strong><br />

grounds <strong>of</strong> Ocmulgee. Located on <strong>the</strong> Lower <strong>and</strong><br />

Middle Creek trading paths, it operated until<br />

burned in <strong>the</strong> Yamassee War <strong>of</strong> 1715. Upon <strong>the</strong><br />

establishment <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> United States, both George<br />

Washington <strong>and</strong> Thomas Jefferson eyed <strong>the</strong><br />

southwestern frontier, Georgia’s Ocmulgee River.<br />

By 1806, Fort Hawkins towered above <strong>the</strong><br />

Muskogee-Creek sacred grounds <strong>and</strong> represented<br />

<strong>the</strong> Manifest Destiny philosophy <strong>of</strong> its new<br />

government. The ancient trading path became<br />

known as The Federal or Garrison Road. A<br />

Pictorial History <strong>of</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base, Georgia<br />

summarizes what happened next:<br />

Houston County was created from l<strong>and</strong><br />

ceded to <strong>the</strong> State <strong>of</strong> Georgia by <strong>the</strong> Creek<br />

Indians in <strong>the</strong> Creek Treaty <strong>of</strong> 1821. The treaty<br />

was negotiated at Indian Springs, which is now<br />

a state park in Butts County, above Macon.The<br />

Upper Creeks rejected <strong>the</strong> treaty but a delegation<br />

<strong>of</strong> Lower Creeks, led by controversial half-white<br />

Chief William McIntosh, signed it.McIntosh was<br />

not only a Creek Chief but a Brigadier General,<br />

USA, a first cousin <strong>of</strong> Governor George M.<br />

Troup, <strong>and</strong> a rich man with numerous slaves.<br />

He had three wives, two red <strong>and</strong> one white, but<br />

attended <strong>the</strong> Methodist Church when he<br />

visited his cousin, <strong>the</strong> Governor, in<br />

Milledgeville. Milledgeville was <strong>the</strong> state capitol<br />

in those days. A second Creek Treaty (1825)<br />

negotiated at Indian Springs, in which McIntosh<br />

ceded ano<strong>the</strong>r slice <strong>of</strong> Indian l<strong>and</strong>, cost him his<br />

life. He was shot <strong>and</strong> scalped by a party <strong>of</strong> Creek<br />

warriors. It didn’t change anything.The remaining<br />

Indians <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Sou<strong>the</strong>astern United States<br />

were rounded up in <strong>the</strong> 1830s <strong>and</strong> moved to<br />

what is now <strong>the</strong> state <strong>of</strong> Oklahoma. (1)<br />

A L<strong>and</strong> so Dedicated describes <strong>the</strong> rationale<br />

behind <strong>the</strong> forced removal <strong>of</strong> Native<br />

Americans— what <strong>the</strong> Cherokee call “The Trail<br />

<strong>of</strong> Tears” <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Muskogee call “The Trail on<br />

which They Cried”—this way:<br />

Ironically, it was <strong>the</strong> civilization <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> tribes<br />

<strong>and</strong> not <strong>the</strong>ir savagery that now most frightened<br />

<strong>the</strong> Georgians. Both <strong>the</strong> Creeks in <strong>the</strong> South <strong>and</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Cherokees in <strong>the</strong> north were setting up<br />

‘states’ asserting <strong>the</strong>ir sovereignty <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> l<strong>and</strong>.<br />

Their lifestyle had taken on many aspects <strong>of</strong><br />

o<strong>the</strong>r pioneer settlers except that <strong>the</strong>y would not<br />

acknowledge <strong>the</strong> jurisdiction <strong>of</strong> Georgia’s government<br />

over <strong>the</strong>ir tribes. (Nelson 40).<br />

Next came farming, <strong>the</strong>n trains. A few<br />

pre-1950 structures remain in Houston County,<br />

<strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> historic rail lines have merged into<br />

Norfolk Sou<strong>the</strong>rn.<br />

By <strong>the</strong> time <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Civil War, both <strong>the</strong><br />

Confederate <strong>and</strong> Union soldiers used <strong>the</strong> Old<br />

Federal Road. In fact, <strong>the</strong>y engaged on what was<br />

once <strong>the</strong> site <strong>of</strong> Fort Hawkins <strong>and</strong> what is now <strong>the</strong><br />

Ocmulgee National Monument in The Battle <strong>of</strong><br />

Dunlap Farm. By 1917, <strong>and</strong> in <strong>the</strong> same general<br />

area, <strong>the</strong> United States chose author Harry Stillwell<br />

Edwards’ family farm, Holly Bluff, for <strong>the</strong> site <strong>of</strong><br />

World War I Camp Wheeler <strong>and</strong> trained about<br />

Chapter One ✦ 11

Above: Most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> railroad tracks<br />

in Houston County have been<br />

consolidated under <strong>the</strong> Norfolk<br />

Sou<strong>the</strong>rn Railroad.<br />

Top, right: An early locomotive.<br />

Below: The historical marker at<br />

Elberta Depot Historic Center.<br />

83,000 troops on its 21,480 acres. Later, “On<br />

October 12, 1940, Congressman Carl Vinson’s<br />

<strong>of</strong>fice announced that Camp Wheeler would be<br />

rebuilt <strong>and</strong> was scheduled to be ready for operation<br />

by March 15, 1941. The camp’s first comm<strong>and</strong>er<br />

was Colonel A. R. Emery for whom Emery<br />

Highway was later named” (Maffeo). During five<br />

years <strong>of</strong> operation, 217,878 soldiers trained on <strong>the</strong><br />

Camp Wheeler firing ranges <strong>and</strong> 4,700 prisoners<br />

<strong>of</strong> war worked through camps operating under its<br />

administration. At this same time, Cochran Field<br />

operated near <strong>the</strong> Bibb <strong>and</strong> Houston County line<br />

on Echeconee Creek, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> United States Army<br />

Air Corp began exploration <strong>of</strong> a larger base establishment<br />

in Middle or South Georgia. This was <strong>the</strong><br />

result <strong>of</strong> a Macon policy <strong>of</strong> <strong>of</strong>fering free l<strong>and</strong> for<br />

defense installations to create jobs for <strong>the</strong> area. It<br />

helped Macon gain a naval ordinance plant (operated<br />

by Reynolds Metals), “an infantry replacement<br />

camp (Camp Wheeler), <strong>and</strong> an Army Air Corps<br />

pilot training facility (Cochran Field)” (5).<br />


Mildred’s Store.<br />

According to A Pictorial History <strong>of</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force<br />

Base, “In 1939, <strong>the</strong>re were twenty-one Army air<br />

installations in <strong>the</strong> continental United States. By<br />

<strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> 1941, <strong>the</strong>re were 114 completed or<br />

under construction—including <strong>the</strong> one which is<br />

now known as <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base [1982]<br />

(Prologue). The Air Corps was renamed <strong>the</strong> Army<br />

Air Forces on June 22, 1941.<br />

Chapter One ✦ 13




Bond Minutewomen, 1945.<br />

The New Georgia Encyclopedia explains that “For nearly fifty years <strong>the</strong> farm community was known<br />

as York, after <strong>the</strong> federal post <strong>of</strong>fice located in a country store.” Then <strong>the</strong> Georgia Florida Railroad<br />

arrived “to connect <strong>the</strong> rail line between Macon <strong>and</strong> Perry. It changed everything. The chief engineer,<br />

William H. Wells, became friends with a plantation owner, Henry Feagin, Jr., who donated [l<strong>and</strong>] on<br />

which to build a train station. When <strong>the</strong> job was completed, Feagin named <strong>the</strong> station <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

community Wellston, after Wells. For <strong>the</strong> next sixty years <strong>the</strong> area remained a whistle stop<br />

surrounded by dairy farms, corn fields, peach orchards, <strong>and</strong> pecan groves” (New Georgia<br />

Encyclopedia).<br />

A Feagin family story indicates that in 1865, after Union forces captured Confederate President<br />

Jefferson Davis in Irvinville, Georgia, <strong>the</strong> delegation traveled north <strong>and</strong> camped near <strong>the</strong> Feagin<br />

home: “Two <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Davis daughters [Davis’ family followed him in a separate party during <strong>the</strong> escape<br />

but reunited for <strong>the</strong> trip north] accepted Judge Feagin’s <strong>of</strong>fer <strong>of</strong> hospitality <strong>and</strong> lodging for <strong>the</strong> night.<br />

The Feagins sent refreshments to <strong>the</strong> former president <strong>and</strong> his wife. The events <strong>of</strong> that night were<br />

recalled by President Davis many years later [1887] as he was making a tour <strong>of</strong> Georgia” (4).<br />

Ano<strong>the</strong>r event that sparked excitement in Wellston happened on May 18, 1899. A newspaper<br />

article, in <strong>the</strong> files at <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Convention & Visitors Bureau titled “Fire at Wellston,”<br />

reports, “The town <strong>of</strong> Wellston, this county, barely escaped destruction by fire last Tuesday afternoon.<br />

Sparks from a passing engine caused <strong>the</strong> fire. The G.S. & F. [Georgia Sou<strong>the</strong>rn & Florida] railroad<br />

woodshed <strong>and</strong> rack, a quantity <strong>of</strong> word, <strong>and</strong> a freight care were burned. The depot building, <strong>and</strong> Mr.<br />

Watson’s store were in great danger, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir contents were removed. Hard work prevented <strong>the</strong><br />

depot from catching, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r buildings were thus saved. The afternoon trains were<br />

considerably delayed.”<br />

During <strong>the</strong> Great Depression, Georgia leaders looked for ways to provide jobs <strong>and</strong> build <strong>the</strong> economy.<br />

Hitler's rise spurred employment in <strong>the</strong> defense industry.. A collaborative effort began which involved,<br />

<strong>the</strong> City <strong>of</strong> Macon, Congressman Carl Vinson, <strong>and</strong> Bostwick Watson, among o<strong>the</strong>rs: “The City <strong>of</strong> Macon<br />


<strong>and</strong> Bibb County purchased 3,108 acres from…<br />

local farm families for just over $97,000 <strong>and</strong><br />

donated <strong>the</strong> property to <strong>the</strong> army air forces in<br />

August 1941” (New Georgia Encyclopedia).<br />

This acquisition was a continuation <strong>of</strong><br />

Middle Georgia’s efforts to bring jobs <strong>and</strong> people<br />

to <strong>the</strong> area by making defense jobs available.<br />

Women helped raise money for <strong>the</strong> war<br />

effort. They worked in factories <strong>and</strong> held<br />

positions in <strong>the</strong> armed forces.<br />

When <strong>the</strong> Air Force base arrived, it signaled<br />

changes for <strong>the</strong> Feagin family. A Pictorial History<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base says that,<br />

The l<strong>and</strong> which is now <strong>the</strong> site <strong>of</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Air<br />

Force Base was assembled from numerous<br />

individual property owners but much <strong>of</strong> it was<br />

once a part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Feagin Plantation. In fact, <strong>the</strong><br />

grave <strong>of</strong> Henry Feagin (1795-1842) is on <strong>Robins</strong><br />

Air Force Base in <strong>the</strong> tiny cemetery on 10th<br />

street, in <strong>the</strong> block between E <strong>and</strong> F streets. His<br />

home, ‘The Oaks,’ was also on <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force<br />

Base <strong>and</strong> was still in existence when <strong>the</strong> base was<br />

built. For a time, during World War II, it was<br />

used as <strong>the</strong> enlisted men’s Guest House. In 1966,<br />

<strong>the</strong> house was sold <strong>and</strong> moved away from<br />

<strong>Robins</strong> AFB (2).<br />

Guide to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>Region</strong> Georgia says, “The<br />

thriving city that is now <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> was<br />

once a small town known as Wellston, which<br />

housed 50 residents <strong>and</strong> served as a train stop<br />

for local farmers in <strong>the</strong> early 20th century. In <strong>the</strong><br />

1930s, <strong>the</strong> U.S. government entertained <strong>the</strong><br />

thought <strong>of</strong> building an Army Air Corps Depot in<br />

metro Atlanta; that is, until [a Middle Georgia<br />

partnership promoted] Wellston [<strong>and</strong>] promised<br />

to build <strong>the</strong> depot cheaper <strong>and</strong> faster than its<br />

urban competitor could” (3).<br />

Members <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Feagin family remained in<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>and</strong> later gained employment on<br />

<strong>the</strong> base.<br />

Groundbreaking for <strong>Robins</strong> Air Field<br />

occurred across a dirt road “in September<br />

[1941]. Wellston town leaders, led by Bostwick<br />

Watson <strong>and</strong> his bro<strong>the</strong>rs, helped win <strong>the</strong><br />

contract, at least in part, by donating l<strong>and</strong> for<br />

<strong>the</strong> town’s first school <strong>and</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r civic buildings.<br />

[These] leaders also obtained a promise from<br />

Wellston Housing Company to construct 2,000<br />

affordable homes in 1942 <strong>and</strong> more later” (New<br />

Georgia Encyclopedia). Nashville, Tennessee;<br />

Atlanta, Dublin, Albany, Milledgeville, Cordele,<br />

<strong>and</strong> Vienna, Georgia” were “also interested in<br />

<strong>the</strong> new Air Corps facility” (Head 3). Atlanta,<br />

who favored an Ellenwood site, <strong>and</strong> Macon,<br />

who favored <strong>the</strong> Wellston site, were <strong>the</strong> final<br />

two who competed for this contract. Wellston<br />

(later <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>) won.<br />

As progress on <strong>the</strong> new base began, issues <strong>of</strong><br />

housing <strong>the</strong> civilian population arose. Macon<br />

planned to build housing for workers in Bibb<br />

Top, left: Nurses at <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force<br />

Base during World War II.<br />

Above: A photograph <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> first<br />

<strong>of</strong>ficial blue Air Force uniforms.<br />

Chapter Two ✦ 15

Above: Much <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> property<br />

originally designated for <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> Air Field belonged to <strong>the</strong><br />

Feagin family.<br />

Top, right: A telegram from Carl<br />

Vinson announcing <strong>the</strong> selection <strong>of</strong><br />

Wellston, Georgia, as <strong>the</strong> site <strong>of</strong> a new<br />

Air Corps depot in 1941.<br />

Below: A train passing<br />

through Avondale.<br />

<strong>and</strong> Houston counties. First base comm<strong>and</strong>er,<br />

Col. Charles E. Thomas, Jr., “met with <strong>the</strong> Macon<br />

Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce shortly after his arrival in<br />

Middle Georgia in early November 1941. He<br />

listened to <strong>the</strong> report <strong>of</strong> progress [on housing<br />

construction] <strong>and</strong> he wasn’t impressed. What he<br />

said must have left <strong>the</strong> Maconites stunned. Not<br />

only was <strong>the</strong> available housing insufficient, but it<br />

was being built in <strong>the</strong> wrong place. He wanted it<br />

across <strong>the</strong> highway from <strong>the</strong> depot—not in Bibb<br />

County, but in Houston County. In fact, he<br />

wanted a city for civilian workers with movie<br />

<strong>the</strong>aters, drugstores, fire protection, <strong>and</strong><br />

sidewalks” (A Pictorial History <strong>of</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force<br />

Base 25). Macon proposed moving its planned<br />

housing to sou<strong>the</strong>rn Bibb County across from<br />

Cochran Field, but wartime shortages dictated<br />

two things. First, housing must be adjacent to<br />

<strong>Robins</strong> Field because automobile tires became a<br />

rationed item to support military use. Second,<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r shortages meant that housing would be “a<br />

subdivision around which a city would grow”<br />

instead <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> planned city Thomas envisioned<br />

(25). The Wellston Housing Company began its<br />

first 250 houses in <strong>Robins</strong> Manor on July 30,<br />

1942. Many are still in use today. The <strong>of</strong>ficial<br />

name change from Wellston to <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

occurred September 1, 1942, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> base<br />

“became <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Army Air Depot on<br />

October 14, 1942” (A Pictorial History <strong>of</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Air<br />

Force Base 26).<br />


Top: Workers with Flint Electric.<br />

Middle: The gas station in Wellston.<br />

Bottom: A map <strong>of</strong> Wellston.<br />

Chapter Two ✦ 17

Top: First School in Wellston<br />

Middle: Examples <strong>of</strong> early<br />

base housing.<br />

Bottom: Homes <strong>and</strong> neighborhoods<br />

originally built as base housing are<br />

being used today by <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

citizens.<br />

And so, <strong>the</strong> daily commute began <strong>and</strong> growth<br />

became a way <strong>of</strong> life.<br />

More than one community grew from York <strong>and</strong><br />

Wellston to become part <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> during<br />

<strong>the</strong> 1940s. Jody Town is still a little south <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> main gate in <strong>the</strong> Second <strong>and</strong> Third Street,<br />

Linwood Drive area. African-American workers<br />

<strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir families settled here near Memorial<br />


Top: Commercial Circle.<br />

Middle <strong>and</strong> Bottom: Early base<br />

construction.<br />

Chapter Two ✦ 19

Park. A major form <strong>of</strong> entertainment was baseball.<br />

Gabrielle Dawkins interviewed Marvis Roberts for<br />

a 2016 news piece called “Jody Town Community<br />

Reunites Again.” In it she quoted Mr. Roberts as<br />

saying, “‘This was our home park now. Memorial<br />

Park. This is where we played all <strong>of</strong> our games.<br />

On <strong>the</strong> weekend…<strong>the</strong> only thing in Jody Town<br />

was baseball.’” He emphasized baseball saying,<br />

“‘We had our own bus. We had a traveling set <strong>of</strong><br />

uniforms. We were real organized’” (qtd. In<br />

Dawkins). Jody Town had <strong>the</strong> Rams <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Jets<br />

<strong>and</strong> several players moved from <strong>the</strong>re to <strong>the</strong><br />

major leagues. Jerome Stephens was on one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

teams. Not only did his family help build <strong>the</strong><br />

base, <strong>the</strong>y helped establish educational<br />

opportunities for <strong>the</strong> community. For Dawkins’<br />

news piece, he said, “It’s great to see people I’ve<br />

not seen in a long time. It’s a joy to see <strong>the</strong>m.”<br />

Top: This postcard shows both <strong>the</strong><br />

Wellston <strong>and</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

postmarks <strong>and</strong> is addressed to Gene<br />

Espy. Mr. Epsy was <strong>the</strong> second person<br />

to through-hike <strong>the</strong> Appalacian Trail<br />

<strong>and</strong> wrote The Trail <strong>of</strong> My Life about<br />

that experience. At publication <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Trains</strong>, <strong>Planes</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Heroes</strong>: A<br />

History <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, Mr. Espy<br />

lived in Macon.<br />

Middle: The <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base<br />

front gate, c. <strong>the</strong> 1940s.<br />

Bottom: The <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base<br />

front gate, c. <strong>the</strong> 1950s.<br />


Left: The <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base front<br />

gate, c. <strong>the</strong> 1960s.<br />

Below: A meeting in Sam Nunn’s<br />

<strong>of</strong>fice to discuss extending<br />

Russell Parkway.<br />

In 1971, <strong>the</strong> Central <strong>of</strong> Georgia Railroad<br />

merged <strong>the</strong>ir 1951 purchase <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Savannah &<br />

Atlanta, into <strong>the</strong> Central <strong>of</strong> Georgia. This included<br />

<strong>the</strong> Brinson Railway, which began in 1906. Its<br />

connection, <strong>the</strong> Savannah & Atlanta appeared in<br />

1915. The Central Rail Road & Banking Company<br />

<strong>of</strong> Georgia began construction in 1835. It was<br />

controlled by Illinois Central from 1909-1948 <strong>and</strong><br />

by Frisco from 1956-1961. In 1963, <strong>the</strong> Central <strong>of</strong><br />

Georgia became a subsidiary <strong>of</strong> Sou<strong>the</strong>rn.<br />

Sou<strong>the</strong>rn <strong>and</strong> Central <strong>of</strong> Georgia also merged in<br />

1971. The Georgia & Florida Railroad formed<br />

from four shorter lines in 1906, was bought by<br />

Sou<strong>the</strong>rn Railway in 1962, <strong>and</strong> became part <strong>of</strong><br />

Sou<strong>the</strong>rn’s Central <strong>of</strong> Georgia Railroad in 1971.<br />

In 1981, <strong>the</strong> Elizabeth City & Norfolk<br />

Railroad, founded in 1880, became Norfolk<br />

Sou<strong>the</strong>rn. Sou<strong>the</strong>rn bought it <strong>and</strong> merged it<br />

with Carolina & Northwestern in 1974. They<br />

separated <strong>the</strong> two in 1981 so that <strong>the</strong> Norfolk<br />

Sou<strong>the</strong>rn name could be used for <strong>the</strong> merger.<br />

Also in 1981, Norfolk Western purchased <strong>the</strong><br />

Illinois Terminal Railroad Company, which<br />

started as a streetcar system for Champaign-<br />

Urbana in 1890, <strong>the</strong>n moved away from interurban<br />

transport to freight by 1956.<br />

In 1982, <strong>the</strong> Sou<strong>the</strong>rn Railroad joined Norfork<br />

& Western to become part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> greater Norfolk<br />

Sou<strong>the</strong>rn Corporation. Chartered in 1850 as<br />

Norfolk & Petersburg <strong>and</strong> grouped with Atlantic,<br />

Chapter Two ✦ 21

Watson Boulevard.<br />

Mississippi & Ohio in 1881. South Carolina Canal<br />

& Railroad, 1833, joined <strong>the</strong> newer Sou<strong>the</strong>rn<br />

Railway in 1894. This eventually included<br />

Alabama Great Sou<strong>the</strong>rn; Cincinnati, New Orleans<br />

& Texas Pacific; New Orleans & Northwestern.<br />

Norfolk & Western acquired several railroads<br />

before <strong>the</strong>y all became Norfolk Sou<strong>the</strong>rn.<br />

The Norfolk Sou<strong>the</strong>rn Railway was<br />

established December 31, 1990, after Norfolk &<br />

Western became a subsidiary <strong>of</strong> Sou<strong>the</strong>rn.<br />

Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway began in 1873,<br />

merged into a successor <strong>of</strong> Norfolk & Western –<br />

a Norfolk Sou<strong>the</strong>rn subsidiary in 1988, but was<br />

sold in 1990 to a group reusing <strong>the</strong> Wheeling &<br />

Lake Erie name.<br />

Consolidated Rail Corporation was formed in<br />

1976 after <strong>the</strong> failure <strong>of</strong> Penn Central <strong>and</strong><br />

acquisition <strong>of</strong> six smaller roads. In 1998,<br />

Norfolk Sou<strong>the</strong>rn <strong>and</strong> CSX purchased <strong>and</strong><br />

divided <strong>the</strong> Conrail, beginning operations in<br />

1999. The Conrail br<strong>and</strong> now represents a local<br />

freight provider.<br />



“In March <strong>of</strong> 1946 my fa<strong>the</strong>r, Joe Dembowski, was transferred to <strong>the</strong> Army<br />

Air Forces base at Wellston Air Depot (presently <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> AFB). My<br />

family, dad, mo<strong>the</strong>r, older bro<strong>the</strong>r, sister, <strong>and</strong> I were flown to <strong>the</strong> base in a<br />

small military plane. I was five months old at <strong>the</strong> time. I think I have a picture<br />

<strong>of</strong> mom holding my sister, dad holding my bro<strong>the</strong>r, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> pilot holding me.<br />

It was after <strong>the</strong> war, <strong>and</strong> my mo<strong>the</strong>r, Mary Dembowski, told me it was like a<br />

frontier ghost town, with many houses just ab<strong>and</strong>oned with furnishings left<br />

in <strong>the</strong>m. People would go <strong>and</strong> take what <strong>the</strong>y needed from <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

“Soon afterwards, when dad was sent to Japan to serve with <strong>the</strong> Army<br />

<strong>of</strong> Occupation, mo<strong>the</strong>r stayed in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> with us three toddlers.<br />

After he returned, <strong>the</strong>y chose to make <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> our home. Joe <strong>and</strong><br />

Mary quickly became leaders in <strong>the</strong>ir church <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> community, giving<br />

back to <strong>the</strong> town <strong>the</strong>y called home. Among <strong>the</strong> boys in her Boy Scout den,<br />

were a future governor <strong>and</strong> an astronaut. Joe was to Boy Scouts what<br />

Mary was to Girl Scouts. Both influenced generations <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>’<br />

children through <strong>the</strong>ir examples <strong>and</strong> caring.<br />

“Mary taught girls that we could be anything we wanted to be, if we<br />

worked at it. She taught independence <strong>and</strong> self-esteem, <strong>and</strong> she modeled<br />

what it meant to be a strong woman, inspiring generations <strong>of</strong> women. When<br />

her own girls were gone from <strong>the</strong> home, she established a Girl Scout Troop<br />

with <strong>the</strong> young women at <strong>the</strong> Sheltered Workshop working <strong>the</strong> Junior Girl<br />

Scout program. Those young ladies, who were <strong>of</strong>ten only on <strong>the</strong> receiving<br />

end <strong>of</strong> giving, learned that <strong>the</strong>y, too, had worth to give <strong>and</strong> share with o<strong>the</strong>rs.<br />

“Mary was instrumental in teaching at least three generations <strong>of</strong> local<br />

youth how to swim, first at <strong>the</strong> old dormitory pool, <strong>the</strong>n as director <strong>of</strong><br />

swimming for Parks <strong>and</strong> Recreation Department for <strong>the</strong> city. At <strong>the</strong> same time, Joe, also a Red Cross certified water safety instructor,<br />

taught adults to swim in <strong>the</strong> evening. Before swimming pools were common place <strong>and</strong> easily accessible, many never had <strong>the</strong> opportunity<br />

to learn to swim. Both were community heroes, vested in <strong>the</strong> worth <strong>of</strong> every person <strong>and</strong> dedicated to challenging <strong>the</strong>m to reach high<br />

<strong>and</strong> persevere through any difficulties. A classmate shared with me at my high school fifty-year reunion that ‘They believed in me when<br />

I didn’t believe in myself, <strong>and</strong> so I tried, <strong>and</strong> found out I could! I am forever grateful <strong>the</strong>y were part <strong>of</strong> my upbringing!’<br />

“<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> was a great place to grow up. Pleasant Hill Road was on <strong>the</strong> far edge <strong>of</strong> town. I have memories <strong>of</strong> riding as fast as<br />

I could down that hill to get up enough speed to make it to <strong>the</strong> top <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> next where it dead-ended onto Green Street. We picked<br />

wild blackberries where <strong>the</strong> Galleria Shopping Center is today <strong>and</strong> ga<strong>the</strong>red pecans from stately trees in <strong>the</strong> old dormitory area at <strong>the</strong><br />

corner <strong>of</strong> Green Street <strong>and</strong> Davis Drive. We had an old farm fire bell high on a 4-by-4 pole in our back yard, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> house rules were<br />

that when it rang, we had five minutes to get home. I guess you would call us ‘free range kids’ today. We knew we had to be home<br />

when <strong>the</strong> street lights came on. I delivered papers for The <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Sun, a weekly paper. We had an old Willy's Jeep Station<br />

Wagon, <strong>and</strong> on summer Sunday afternoons, Daddy would drive slowly along Highway 247 from <strong>the</strong> main gate to <strong>the</strong> seven bridges<br />

section looking for discarded soda bottles. We would take <strong>the</strong>m home, wash <strong>the</strong>m out with soapy water <strong>and</strong> small pebbles for agitation,<br />

<strong>and</strong> redeem at <strong>the</strong> grocery store for <strong>the</strong> deposit money. Regular soda bottles were worth two cents, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> big Canada Dry bottles<br />

were a nickel. That change was saved in a Liberty Bell bank <strong>and</strong> was used to fund mini vacations--day trips around <strong>the</strong> state.<br />

“I remember when <strong>the</strong> Cuban missile crisis happened, <strong>the</strong> base closed mid-afternoon, <strong>and</strong> everyone was sent home with<br />

instructions to watch <strong>the</strong> CBS Evening News <strong>and</strong> be ready to get back to base within thirty minutes if called. Those next weeks <strong>and</strong><br />

months were tense times at <strong>the</strong> base <strong>and</strong> in <strong>the</strong> homes, especially because we were within presumed range <strong>of</strong> those missiles <strong>and</strong> a<br />

possible target.<br />

“Mary Dembowski lived to age ninety-three <strong>and</strong> was a member <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Pioneers Club in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>. You had to have lived<br />

<strong>the</strong>re by 1950 to belong.”<br />

- Joan Dembowski Pottinger<br />

Chapter Two ✦ 23



“Just before <strong>the</strong> bombing <strong>of</strong> Pearl Harbor, <strong>the</strong> U.S. Army Air Force began to build at Wellston, Georgia; <strong>the</strong>n an unincorporated<br />

village <strong>of</strong> less than fifty people, what is now <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Air Material Area, <strong>the</strong>n known as Wellston Air Depot.<br />

“Immediately after <strong>the</strong> bombs fell on Pearl Harbor activities changed to high gear! Contractors with <strong>the</strong>ir personnel <strong>and</strong> equipment<br />

flocked in from all points <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> compass. The personnel was typical <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> times <strong>and</strong> undertaking; mostly good people, but<br />

containing <strong>the</strong> expected number <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> rougher element, <strong>of</strong> both sexes. All sorts <strong>of</strong> equipment, from <strong>the</strong> largest to <strong>the</strong> smallest was<br />

moved to <strong>the</strong> site over <strong>the</strong> single-track railroad <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> narrow dirt road, which is now <strong>the</strong> modern four-lane highway to Macon.<br />

“All types <strong>of</strong> businesses sprang up, principally along what is now First <strong>and</strong> Second streets. These early business enterprises<br />

embraced everything from fortune tellers in tents <strong>and</strong> jalopy automobiles to <strong>the</strong> uncovered wooden movie show, which is now <strong>the</strong><br />

RAMA Theatre. In its early days this <strong>the</strong>atre resembled, from <strong>the</strong> outside at least, a country nickelodeon <strong>of</strong> forty or fifty years ago.<br />

“Troops were moving to <strong>the</strong> air field which attracted <strong>the</strong> usual number <strong>of</strong> so-called ‘camp followers.’ Order was maintained in<br />

<strong>the</strong> town by one deputy sheriff, Mr. W. W. Martin, civilian guards <strong>and</strong> Military Police from <strong>the</strong> air base. To afford <strong>the</strong> city fa<strong>the</strong>rs<br />

a place to house those arrested, <strong>the</strong> air base erected a barracks building on North Second Street. This building served as city hall<br />

<strong>and</strong> jail. The first prisoner confined in <strong>the</strong> jail released himself by <strong>the</strong> simple expedient <strong>of</strong> kicking out a board <strong>and</strong> just walking<br />

away. However, he finally became so drunk that his recapture was very simple.<br />

“To meet housing needs, Fickling <strong>and</strong> Walker, <strong>the</strong> FHA, Mr. L.B. Eleanor <strong>and</strong> do-it-yourself ‘carpenters’ were rapidly turning<br />

watermelon <strong>and</strong> peanut patches into what is now known as Zeigler Housing Units, The Manor, Eleanor Homes <strong>and</strong> Dormitory<br />

Area. Many <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se structures were unique <strong>and</strong> interesting, especially those constructed from packing crates <strong>and</strong> scrap lumber.<br />

“In <strong>the</strong> meantime, those hardy souls who could really rough it utilized all sorts <strong>of</strong> makeshift living quarters. Except for <strong>the</strong><br />

absence <strong>of</strong> horses <strong>and</strong> six shooters, Wellston at that time very much resembled a gold rush boom town <strong>of</strong> frontier days.”<br />

Wellborn Cemetery, located just south <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Russell Parkway entrance to <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force<br />

Base, provides a final resting place for several<br />

early <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> area families. Names include<br />

Booth, Bryant, Floyd, McBride, Scarborough, <strong>and</strong><br />

Wellborn. Wellborn Mills was closer to <strong>the</strong><br />

Ocmulgee <strong>and</strong> gave its name to <strong>the</strong> area early on.<br />

The Gazetteer <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> State <strong>of</strong> Georgia mentions that<br />

Wellborn Mills had a post <strong>of</strong>fice in 1837 (from A<br />

Pictorial History <strong>of</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base 3). The<br />

village appears on <strong>the</strong> 1847 Bonner Map as <strong>the</strong><br />

nearest town to present day <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>. Mrs.<br />

Members <strong>of</strong> a <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> baseball<br />

team, along with city <strong>and</strong> county<br />

<strong>of</strong>ficials. Baseball teams were a source<br />

<strong>of</strong> pride for local communities like<br />

Jody Town.<br />



“I am Charlie Scott, Jr. <strong>and</strong> was born August 6, 1942 in Grovania,<br />

Georgia/Houston County to parents Charlie Scott, Sr. <strong>and</strong> Annie Mae Scott. I am<br />

<strong>the</strong> oldest <strong>of</strong> twelve children. My fa<strong>the</strong>r was a Sou<strong>the</strong>rn Railroad employee. Later<br />

<strong>the</strong> name changed to Norfolk Sou<strong>the</strong>rn Railroad. As a boy growing up in<br />

Grovania, I went to school in Methodist <strong>and</strong> Baptist churches. All schools were<br />

segregated. Later we went to a one room school building with grades 1-7 in <strong>the</strong><br />

same room. We just used different books. Grovania had a post <strong>of</strong>fice. All mail<br />

was general delivery. The locomotive stopped to pick up people <strong>and</strong> mail.<br />

Grovania had Ellis Grocery Store, <strong>the</strong> train depot, <strong>and</strong> a cotton gin. It was a<br />

farming community. We lived in Railroad Section houses. There were four<br />

houses <strong>and</strong> one larger house for <strong>the</strong> foreman. My fa<strong>the</strong>r, Charlie Scott, had a<br />

bro<strong>the</strong>r who lived in one <strong>of</strong> those houses. He had ano<strong>the</strong>r bro<strong>the</strong>r, Cornelius<br />

Scott, Jr., who lived in section houses in Kathleen <strong>and</strong> worked for <strong>the</strong> same<br />

railroad. All section houses closed in <strong>the</strong> early 1950s <strong>and</strong> all three bro<strong>the</strong>rs<br />

moved to <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>. They bought l<strong>and</strong> where Scott Boulevard is today. I’ve<br />

had three bro<strong>the</strong>rs work for <strong>the</strong> railroad: Calvin, Lamar, Kendal <strong>and</strong> Terry still<br />

work for Norfolk Sou<strong>the</strong>rn.”<br />

- Charlie Scott, Jr. (undated from files at <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Convention <strong>and</strong> Visitors Bureau).<br />

Top: Lieutenant Charlie Scott.<br />

Middle: The children <strong>of</strong> Lieutenant<br />

Charlie Scott (from left ro right):<br />

Charlie Scott, Jr.; Willie Frank Scott;<br />

Willie Mat<strong>the</strong>w Scott; Jessie Lee Scott;<br />

Calvin Scott; Mary Lois Scott Riley;<br />

Vera Scott Walton; Edward Scott;<br />

Elverna Scott Cherry; Emma Jean<br />

Scott; Terry Scott; <strong>and</strong> Lama<br />

Kendall Scott.<br />

Bottom: Grovania, Georgia.<br />

Chapter Two ✦ 25


“Our family moved to <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> in 1979, <strong>and</strong> one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> main reasons was for my bro<strong>the</strong>r <strong>and</strong> I to attend Central<br />

Fellowship Christian Academy. My dad later got a job at RAFB.”<br />

- Joy McCammon<br />

“In 1994, my family moved to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>/ South Bibb County area. I left in 2000 to attend college, <strong>and</strong> immediately<br />

after earning a commission in <strong>the</strong> AF, I was sent to RAFB in 2005 for my first duty station.”<br />

- Ben Elton<br />

“Castle Air Force Base in California closed [in 1995]. I l<strong>and</strong>ed here. <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Police Department hired me two days before<br />

Gwinnett Police Department <strong>of</strong>fered.”<br />

- Tommy Williams<br />

“We moved to <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> in March 1996. Chris, my step-dad, was part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> new JSTARS unit at RAFB. Then, in 1998,<br />

he did his Korea tour for a year. When he came back, we were supposed to get transferred to ano<strong>the</strong>r base. Because I was a senior<br />

in high school, <strong>the</strong>y let him stay at <strong>Robins</strong>. I have since moved to <strong>the</strong> Atlanta area, but he <strong>and</strong> mom still live in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

<strong>and</strong> do not have any plans <strong>of</strong> moving.”<br />

- Emily Denny Bishop<br />

“Sam <strong>and</strong> I moved here in 1968 when he was stationed at <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base as Squadron Comm<strong>and</strong>er <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> base hospital.<br />

We were here three years <strong>and</strong> away for two when he got his CPA license. Then we moved back here <strong>and</strong> never left.”<br />

- Dianne Ward Dean<br />

“My family came to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> area in 1983. Dad researched options <strong>and</strong> decided this is where he wanted to retire<br />

from <strong>the</strong> Air Force. His decision was precipitated by his receiving orders to Minot, North Dakota. As an <strong>of</strong>ficer with twenty-five<br />

years in, he was able to secure a transfer to <strong>Robins</strong>. He retired six months later <strong>and</strong> ended up doing ano<strong>the</strong>r twenty years on base.<br />

My entire family is from Ohio, <strong>and</strong> I was having Deliverance-type visions when we first got here. I have since fallen in love with<br />

<strong>the</strong> South, <strong>and</strong> Georgia particularly. I don’t want to live anywhere else.”<br />

- Lee Vanosdol<br />

“In 1999, Dad worked civil service at Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. When <strong>the</strong>y were told it would be shutting<br />

down, my parents thought <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> would be a nice place to raise us with <strong>the</strong> coast, Disney, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Blue Ridge <strong>and</strong> Smokey<br />

mountains close by.”<br />

- Vanessa Smith<br />

“I started work as an Industrial Engineer at <strong>Robins</strong> AFB in 1971.”<br />

- Lou Crouch<br />

“Our family moved to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> area twice, in 1985 <strong>and</strong> in 1993. Both times were due to <strong>the</strong> Air Force assigning us<br />

to <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base.”<br />

- Patti Ferrell Bedford<br />

Charity Wellborn Bryant’s tombstone, in <strong>the</strong><br />

Wellborn Cemetery, notes that she migrated to<br />

Houston County, Georgia from Wake County,<br />

North Carolina. She died here in 1909.<br />

Shiloh Cemetery, on <strong>the</strong> line separating<br />

Houston County from Peach County, was lost to<br />

its community, but now is found. A church<br />

building sat on <strong>the</strong> site from 1831–1961. Mr.<br />

Reggie Holloman was one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> last survivors <strong>of</strong><br />

that congregation. He attempted to keep <strong>the</strong><br />

cemetery, which was lost because <strong>the</strong> older<br />

road was severed by modern subdivision<br />


Wellborn Cemetery is <strong>the</strong> final resting<br />

place for many area families.<br />

Chapter Two ✦ 27

construction. Late in his life, neighbors, a<br />

community college, <strong>and</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r organizations<br />

stepped in to help.<br />





I joined [Shiloh] church in 1942. I was born<br />

in ’37. They used to christen <strong>the</strong> infants in <strong>the</strong><br />

Methodist church, you know. I started down<br />

here to church ever since I can remember.<br />

We went to church here all through World<br />

War II. I tore it [<strong>the</strong> church building] down, me<br />

<strong>and</strong> my farm crew. Part <strong>of</strong> it was fat lighter—put<br />

toge<strong>the</strong>r with wooden pegs, <strong>and</strong> it never had a<br />

coat <strong>of</strong> paint on it. It had rough boards—<br />

this wide (12 to 18 inches). The inside was<br />

painted. It was painted white. It had that<br />

beaded ceiling <strong>and</strong> wooden shingles. It was a<br />

big old church with two doors. The ladies<br />

went in on one side, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> men went in on <strong>the</strong><br />

o<strong>the</strong>r side. It never had electricity, no plumbing.<br />

The fact is, <strong>the</strong>y didn’t even have restrooms.<br />

When we had church down <strong>the</strong>re, people would<br />

go out in <strong>the</strong> woods. They’d say, “I got to go to<br />

<strong>the</strong> bushes.”<br />

That old tree, right <strong>the</strong>re, when it was<br />

smaller, it had rings in it where you tied <strong>the</strong><br />

horses. They’d take ‘em loose from <strong>the</strong> buggies.<br />

Of course, that was a little before my time.<br />

But, <strong>the</strong> tree still had <strong>the</strong>m old rings in it. The<br />

tree just growed over em <strong>and</strong> all. I’d be scared to<br />

get in <strong>the</strong>re with a chain saw. You’d probably hit<br />

one <strong>of</strong> those iron rings. A lot <strong>of</strong> times, <strong>the</strong>y’d<br />

have a feed bag, <strong>and</strong> feed <strong>the</strong> horse while <strong>the</strong>y<br />

were in church.<br />

We had services once a month, because we<br />

were on a circuit church, with Byron <strong>and</strong><br />

Powersville. We’d have church on this Sunday;<br />

<strong>and</strong> next Sunday, if you wanted to go to church,<br />

you’d go to Powersville. The pastor, I believe,<br />

was named Smith. You’d come to church<br />

about dinner time, or right after dinner, <strong>and</strong> stay<br />

all evening. Every now <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>n, we’d have<br />

dinner on <strong>the</strong> grounds. At one time it was a big<br />

church, but by <strong>the</strong> time I was born, it was<br />

playing out.<br />

One <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> families who joined Shiloh<br />

Church was Statham. They were from North<br />


Opposite: Gravestones in<br />

Shiloh Cemetery.<br />

Carolina. Part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> family came here when <strong>the</strong>y<br />

opened this territory up. Down <strong>the</strong>re, <strong>the</strong>y had<br />

a ferry that crossed <strong>the</strong> river. On some <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong>se old maps, you’ll find that ferry. Part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

family came here when <strong>the</strong>y opened this<br />

territory up. If it wasn’t for <strong>the</strong> people buried<br />

here, <strong>the</strong>re wouldn’t be a Byron or a <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong>, Georgia.”<br />

Above: In <strong>the</strong> mid-nineteenth century<br />

parishioners at Shiloh Church would<br />

tie <strong>the</strong>ir horses to <strong>the</strong> trees outside<br />

<strong>the</strong> church. This tree would have iron<br />

rings hammered into <strong>the</strong>ir trunks.<br />

Bottom: Members <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Shiloh<br />

Cemetery Team from Georgia<br />

Military College.<br />

Chapter Two ✦ 29



Teams from <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> won <strong>the</strong><br />

Little League World Series in 2007,<br />

2009 <strong>and</strong> 2010.<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>’ birth ties directly to competition. In competing for more Middle Georgia jobs after<br />

<strong>the</strong> Great Depression, <strong>the</strong> City <strong>of</strong> Macon stepped into competition for new defense contracts which led<br />

to <strong>the</strong> reopening <strong>and</strong> streng<strong>the</strong>ning <strong>of</strong> Camp Wheeler (1917-1919 <strong>and</strong> 1940-1946), <strong>the</strong> development<br />

<strong>of</strong> Cochran Field (1941-1945), <strong>the</strong> establishment <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Naval Ordnance Plant (1941-1965), <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

birth <strong>of</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Air Field in Middle Georgia (established 1941). Then, a competition for housing<br />

erupted, <strong>the</strong> City <strong>of</strong> Macon believing that housing should be in South Bibb County, <strong>and</strong> a new base<br />

comm<strong>and</strong>er, Colonel Charles Thomas, believing that housing must be in Houston County adjacent to<br />

<strong>the</strong> base. Thomas <strong>and</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> won that competition, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> first named public school in<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> was named for Thomas’ son, Charles Thomas III, who was killed in a training accident.<br />

That sense <strong>of</strong> competition remains. <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> hosts championships for Little League <strong>and</strong><br />

brings home World Series trophies <strong>of</strong> its own, produces state <strong>and</strong> national champions in high school<br />

athletics, sends players to pr<strong>of</strong>essional sports, sends winners <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Miss <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> pageant to<br />

Miss Georgia, Miss America, <strong>and</strong> to Miss Universe pageants, <strong>and</strong> sends politicians to service at <strong>the</strong><br />

state, local, <strong>and</strong> worldwide levels. It goes fur<strong>the</strong>r, though. Beyond competition lies a deep sense that<br />

people make a difference in <strong>the</strong> world. The competitors <strong>and</strong> heroes, listed in this chapter, use <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

strength to build communities <strong>and</strong> make <strong>the</strong> lives <strong>of</strong> o<strong>the</strong>rs better. Each has a personal platform:<br />

education, Children’s Miracle Network, disaster relief, Special Olympics, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> list goes on <strong>and</strong> on.<br />

A community college student said, “I’m always looking for an opportunity to serve.” By <strong>the</strong> time he<br />

finished his two-year degree at <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>’ Georgia Military College campus in 2018, <strong>the</strong> young<br />

international student earned over 500 hours <strong>of</strong> community service. This spirit is what keeps <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> moving forward. Of <strong>the</strong> military bases <strong>and</strong> support units listed in this chapter, only one<br />

remains active, <strong>and</strong> that’s <strong>Robins</strong>. The spirits <strong>of</strong> competition, readiness, <strong>and</strong> service continue to<br />

contribute to <strong>the</strong> viability <strong>of</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> continued growth <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>.<br />

There’s a long-st<strong>and</strong>ing claim that Claude Lewis invented <strong>the</strong> game <strong>of</strong> tee-ball in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

in 1958. Whe<strong>the</strong>r tee-ball was first played here or not, <strong>the</strong> city maintains a Little League tradition<br />

that few o<strong>the</strong>r cities match. In 2007, <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> defeated a team from Japan to win <strong>the</strong> Little<br />


Little League s<strong>of</strong>tball team won <strong>the</strong> Little League<br />

S<strong>of</strong>tball World Series in 2009, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>n again in<br />

2010. In 2011, when <strong>the</strong> baseball team returned<br />

to <strong>the</strong> World Series, SBNation reporter Jeremiah<br />

Oshan stated, “<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Little League<br />

has been here before. In fact, <strong>the</strong> team from<br />

Georgia has now represented <strong>the</strong> Sou<strong>the</strong>ast<br />

<strong>Region</strong> in <strong>the</strong> Little League World Series three<br />

times over <strong>the</strong> last five years” (“LLWS 2011:<br />

How <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>’ Little League Baseball<br />

Team Got Here”). Although <strong>the</strong> team did not<br />

win in 2011, <strong>the</strong>y came close. Jake Fromm, a<br />

2018 quarterback for <strong>the</strong> University <strong>of</strong> Georgia,<br />

pitched in that series.<br />

Top: Miss <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Burma<br />

Davis won <strong>the</strong> crown <strong>of</strong> Miss Georgia<br />

in 1968.<br />

League World Series. The baseball team played<br />

on national television before “tens <strong>of</strong> thous<strong>and</strong>s<br />

<strong>of</strong> spectators,” got to meet President George W.<br />

Bush, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>y appeared on The David Letterman<br />

Show (Kovac, Jr.) In 2008, <strong>the</strong> Little League<br />

International Board <strong>of</strong> Directors chose <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> as <strong>the</strong> Sou<strong>the</strong>ast <strong>Region</strong> Headquarters <strong>of</strong><br />

Little League Baseball. Its beautiful stadium<br />

began hosting games in 2010. Then <strong>the</strong> s<strong>of</strong>tball<br />

team came to bat. The <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> American<br />

Middle <strong>and</strong> bottom: <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> is<br />

home to <strong>the</strong> Little League International<br />

Sou<strong>the</strong>astern <strong>Region</strong>al Headquarters.<br />

Chapter Three ✦ 31



Sacred Heart Catholic Church has<br />

served <strong>the</strong> community since 1945.<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, Houston County, <strong>and</strong> Middle Georgia are part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> United States’ Bible Belt. Area<br />

churches were established following agreements with Native Americans. Mission work began earlier.<br />

Hern<strong>and</strong>o DeSoto brought missionaries in 1540. Namesake <strong>of</strong> Hawkinsville Road—which runs<br />

between <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> city <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>—Benjamin Hawkins, allowed<br />

Moravian missionaries to teach at his Flint River Indian Agency before 1812. He brought <strong>the</strong>m from<br />

Old Salem, North Carolina to teach weaving, but allowed <strong>the</strong>m to teach <strong>the</strong> Bible after hours. It is<br />

impossible to trace <strong>the</strong> origins <strong>of</strong> Christianity in <strong>the</strong> south, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>refore, impossible to form an<br />

inclusive list <strong>of</strong> churches. Here is a partial list <strong>of</strong> historic churches in <strong>and</strong> around <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>and</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong>ir organization dates:<br />

• Henderson Baptist Church, 1821<br />

• Haynesville Baptist Church, 1824<br />

• Henderson Methodist Church, 1824<br />

• Shiloh Methodist Church, 1831<br />

• Asbury Chapel, 1835<br />

• Wesley Chapel Methodist Church, 1840<br />

• Lane’s Chapel, 1841<br />

• Pleasant Hill Primitive Baptist Church, 1845<br />

• Henderson Methodist Church as Wesley<br />

Chapel Methodist Church, 1858<br />

• Hickory Grove Baptist Church, 1872<br />

• Elko Baptist Church, 1890<br />

• S<strong>and</strong>y Run Baptist Church, 1892<br />

• Grovania Methodist Church as Haneyville<br />

Methodist Church, 1893<br />

• Centerville Baptist Church, 1900<br />

• Bonaire Baptist Church, 1909<br />

• Cochran Field Baptist Church (on Cochran<br />

Field Army Air Base) now Central Fellowship,<br />

1942<br />

• Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 1945<br />

• All Saints Episcopal Church, 1950<br />

• Memorial Heights Baptist Church, 1954<br />

As population <strong>and</strong> diversity grew, so did <strong>the</strong> number <strong>and</strong> diversity <strong>of</strong> churches. Most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

historic churches still hold regular worship services. Again, an inclusive list is not possible, but here<br />


is a partial list <strong>of</strong> newer churches in <strong>and</strong> around<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> in 2018:<br />

• A New Beginning Church <strong>of</strong> God<br />

• Abundant Life Church <strong>of</strong> God<br />

• Adams-Smith Tabernacle A.M.E.<br />

• Central Baptist Church<br />

• Christ Chapel<br />

• Christ Sanctified Holy Church<br />

• Christ <strong>the</strong> Redeemer Anglican Church<br />

• Christ United Methodist Church<br />

• Christian Fellowship Baptist Church<br />

• City Church<br />

• Covenant Presbyterian Church<br />

• Crosspoint Baptist Church<br />

• First Baptist Church<br />

• First Presbyterian Church<br />

• First United Methodist Church<br />

• Friendship Baptist Church<br />

• Harvest Church<br />

• Inglesia Cristiana Remanso de Paz<br />

• Inglesias Bautista la Cruz de Cristo<br />

• Mt. Nebo Primitive Baptist Church<br />

• New Hope International<br />

• New Life Seventh-Day Adventist Church<br />

• Oakl<strong>and</strong> Baptist Church<br />

• Second Baptist Church<br />

• Southside Baptist Church<br />

• The Church <strong>of</strong> Jesus Christ <strong>of</strong> Latter-Day Saints<br />

• The River Church<br />

• Trinity United Methodist Church<br />

• <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> C.M.E. Church<br />

• <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Church <strong>of</strong> Christ<br />

• <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Hispanic Four-Square Church<br />

• <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Korean Church<br />

• Word in Season Ministries<br />

According to Dr. William P. Head, historian<br />

for <strong>the</strong> 78 ABW, “The need for an Air Corps<br />

installation in Georgia grew out <strong>of</strong> a change <strong>of</strong><br />

policy in <strong>the</strong> War Department. Prior to World<br />

War II, <strong>the</strong> servicing <strong>of</strong> military aircraft was a<br />

relatively minor business. The dramatic success<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Luftwaffe (German Air Force) in France<br />

<strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Balkans (sou<strong>the</strong>astern Europe) forced<br />

<strong>the</strong> Army to take a hard look at building a<br />

modern air force. This growth <strong>of</strong> air power<br />

confronted <strong>the</strong> Amy Air Corps with increased<br />

responsibilities in <strong>the</strong> areas <strong>of</strong> supply <strong>and</strong><br />

maintenance. One result was <strong>the</strong> need for more<br />

air depots to service <strong>the</strong> additional aircraft.<br />

Pertinent to our story is <strong>the</strong> fact that one <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong>se was planned for <strong>the</strong> sou<strong>the</strong>astern United<br />

States” (Through <strong>the</strong> Camera’s Eye: A Photographic<br />

Survey <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Origins <strong>of</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Field, 1941-1945).<br />

The name <strong>of</strong> what most Middle Georgians<br />

call <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base changes with its<br />

mission. On June 16, 1941, “Congressman Carl<br />

Vinson sent a telegraph from Washington [D.C.]<br />

to local civic dignitaries, led by Macon Mayor<br />

Charles Bowden, announcing that <strong>the</strong> U.S. War<br />

Department had selected …Wellston, Georgia,<br />

as <strong>the</strong> location <strong>of</strong> a new sou<strong>the</strong>astern Army Air<br />

maintenance <strong>and</strong> supply depot” (“<strong>Robins</strong> AFB<br />

<strong>and</strong> 78 ABW Heritage Pamphlet”).<br />

Through <strong>the</strong> Camera’s Eye: A Photographic<br />

Survey <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Origins <strong>of</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Field, 1941-1945<br />

says that, “The l<strong>and</strong> was located along <strong>the</strong><br />

unpaved Hawkinsville Highway (today Georgia<br />

State 247), approximately 16 miles south <strong>of</strong><br />

Macon. Rail facilities were near, <strong>the</strong> site being<br />

across <strong>the</strong> highway from <strong>the</strong> Wellston (modern<br />

day <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>) station” (Head). At that time,<br />

Wellston consisted mainly <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Carter Dairy<br />

Farm, Wellston Train Stop, Thompson’s Café, a<br />

gasoline station, <strong>and</strong> area farms. Groundbreaking<br />

for <strong>the</strong> new defense depot occurred September 1,<br />

1941. Then, <strong>the</strong> Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor<br />

on December 7. Construction accelerated.<br />

Workers completed <strong>the</strong> first section <strong>of</strong> flight line<br />

<strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base<br />

headquarters, 1953.<br />

Chapter Four ✦ 33

Opposite: Presidents Lyndon B.<br />

Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy<br />

Carter, Bill Clinton, <strong>and</strong> George W.<br />

Bush are among <strong>the</strong> world leaders<br />

who have visited <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force<br />

Base over <strong>the</strong> years.<br />

by April, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> first aircraft arrived for<br />

maintenance by May <strong>of</strong> 1942. Although <strong>the</strong><br />

United States had entered World War II, local<br />

dignitaries wanted a dedication <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> former<br />

dairy farm turned military installation. On<br />

September 1, 1942, <strong>the</strong>y encouraged base<br />

comm<strong>and</strong>er Col. Charles E. Thomas to hold a<br />

ceremony <strong>and</strong> to name <strong>the</strong> base for his mentor,<br />

Brigadier General Augustine <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>:<br />

“Gen. <strong>Robins</strong> was comm<strong>and</strong>er <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Materiel<br />

Division (near Dayton, Ohio) from 1935—1939”<br />

(Head). In his speech Col. Thomas said, “I doubt<br />

that any single individual has had any more to do<br />

with <strong>the</strong> development <strong>of</strong> what we now know as<br />

<strong>the</strong> Air Service Comm<strong>and</strong> than Brigadier General<br />

Augustine <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>.…It is most gratifying<br />

that such an important project bears <strong>the</strong> name <strong>of</strong><br />

one who held supply <strong>and</strong> maintenance functions<br />

so close to his heart, <strong>and</strong> who inspired many<br />

improvements in <strong>the</strong> performance <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se<br />

functions” (“<strong>Robins</strong> AFB <strong>and</strong> 78 ABW Heritage<br />

Pamphlet”). The base grew to be Georgia’s<br />

“largest industrial facility” by <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> World<br />

War II (“<strong>Robins</strong> AFB <strong>and</strong> 78 ABW Heritage<br />

Pamphlet”). General <strong>Robins</strong>’ wife <strong>and</strong> daughters<br />

attended <strong>the</strong> dedication ceremonies, <strong>and</strong><br />

dignitaries continue to follow <strong>the</strong>ir footsteps to<br />

<strong>Robins</strong>. These include former first lady Madame<br />

Chiang Kai-shek <strong>of</strong> China, President Anwar El-<br />

Sadat <strong>of</strong> Egypt, Prime Minister Menachem Begin<br />

<strong>of</strong> Israel, Vice Presidents Dan Quayle <strong>and</strong> Al<br />

Gore, <strong>and</strong> Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson,<br />


“The following is about what I was told by my parents who moved here to <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> from Ohio in 1943. The original<br />

Sacred Heart Church corner stone still marks <strong>the</strong> 1945 year it was built. Before that time Masses were celebrated in <strong>the</strong> USO hall<br />

attached behind <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> City Hall building, which was replaced by <strong>the</strong> Nola Brantley Memorial Library in 1976. My<br />

first recollection <strong>of</strong> Sacred Heart Church was that <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> brick church that seated about 200 people before <strong>the</strong> choir l<strong>of</strong>t was built<br />

around 1957.<br />

“The architectural design with <strong>the</strong> exposed beams <strong>and</strong> floor plan is very similar to <strong>the</strong> St. Peter Clavier Church built probably<br />

about <strong>the</strong> same time in Macon. I remember <strong>the</strong> Sundays <strong>of</strong> my parents driving my two older bro<strong>the</strong>rs <strong>and</strong> younger sister to Mass<br />

from Cochran Field to Sacred Heart Church on what was <strong>the</strong>n a two-lane highway from Macon to <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>. Before <strong>the</strong> Catholic<br />

schools in <strong>the</strong> area were built, some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> parishioners would travel to Macon on Sunday <strong>and</strong> bring <strong>the</strong> Sisters <strong>of</strong> Mercy to <strong>and</strong> from<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> to teach Sunday School (Catechism) along with o<strong>the</strong>r lay ministers <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> parish in <strong>the</strong> old barracks building that was<br />

moved to <strong>the</strong> church grounds before Sacred Heart School was built in 1956. That old wooden building served as school <strong>and</strong> later<br />

<strong>the</strong> activity hall for several ministry organizations. I was fortunate to go through <strong>the</strong> forth <strong>and</strong> fifth grades at St. Joseph School when<br />

it was first built on High St. in Macon. The Presentation Sisters had arrived from Irel<strong>and</strong> in time for <strong>the</strong> new Sacred Heart School to<br />

start in 1956. I was in <strong>the</strong> seventh <strong>and</strong> eighth grades <strong>and</strong> in <strong>the</strong> second graduation class <strong>of</strong> Sacred Heart School.<br />

“My first experience with airplanes was when we lived in Cochran Field shortly after <strong>the</strong> war shut down <strong>the</strong> Army training<br />

base. I would ride on by bro<strong>the</strong>r’s h<strong>and</strong>le bars to <strong>the</strong> air field between <strong>the</strong> hangers <strong>and</strong> watch <strong>the</strong> prop driven planes l<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong><br />

taxi up to <strong>the</strong> terminal. I was <strong>the</strong>n six <strong>and</strong> couldn’t believe <strong>the</strong> size, sound, <strong>and</strong> power <strong>of</strong> those airplanes. This was well before jet<br />

airlines came into service. As it was with most citizens <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, we occasionally felt <strong>the</strong> effects <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> now defunct C-<br />

124, nicknamed “old shaky,” would make its flight pattern over our house. The term “shake, rattle, <strong>and</strong> roll” came into use long<br />

before Chuck Berry wrote his lyrics. One evening my dad was flying back from Ohio in his single engine Cessna. He had said<br />

before he left that he would circle <strong>the</strong> house on Shirley Drive in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> as a signal to meet him on return to Cochran<br />

Field Airport. We kids were all excited as he tipped his wings <strong>and</strong> mom was shouting to get in <strong>the</strong> car. Where were <strong>the</strong> cell phones<br />

back <strong>the</strong>n? On just about any day at Mass you could hear <strong>the</strong> propeller engines running up, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> train horn blasting from <strong>the</strong><br />

trains that ran along <strong>the</strong> rails east <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> city. The propeller sounds <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> past have changed to <strong>the</strong> sounds <strong>of</strong> jet engines, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

startling sonic boom, “sound <strong>of</strong> peace.” The train horns sound <strong>the</strong> same from <strong>the</strong> diesel train engines.<br />

“However, I must confess my racing on an unexpected occasion down to <strong>the</strong> track to see a very rare steam engine chug by.<br />

Their whistles have a very distinct sound. My experiences with trains <strong>and</strong> planes really were not that involved until I became an<br />

adult, mainly following <strong>the</strong> footsteps <strong>of</strong> my bro<strong>the</strong>rs in service to <strong>the</strong> Air Force. Yes, <strong>the</strong>y are my heroes. But that’s ano<strong>the</strong>r story<br />

covering ano<strong>the</strong>r country <strong>and</strong> assigned duty stations. It’s still good to have settled in good ole <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, Georgia.”<br />

- John Wagner, Sr., 2018<br />


Richard M. Nixon, James E. “Jimmy” Carter,<br />

George W. Bush, <strong>and</strong> William Jefferson “Bill”<br />

Clinton <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> United States.<br />

According to Guide to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>Region</strong><br />

Georgia, “The base was a turning point in<br />

Wellston’s history, increasing <strong>the</strong> population,<br />

reputation, <strong>and</strong>, in a sense, bringing <strong>the</strong><br />

hibernating community to life…. Today, <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> is called ‘The International City’<br />

<strong>and</strong> enterains a growing, diverse population<br />

<strong>and</strong> culture” (5).<br />

Chapter Four ✦ 35



The April 1953 tornado.<br />

Virtually wiped <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> map by a catastrophic April 1953 tornado, which “left in its wake 18 dead,<br />

350 injured, 1,000 homeless, <strong>and</strong> $10 million in damage,” <strong>Robins</strong> has grown from its original<br />

4,000 to 6,935 acres (A Pictorial History <strong>of</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base, 62). Today, its runways accommodate<br />

“<strong>the</strong> largest aircraft in <strong>the</strong> world including <strong>the</strong> C-5B, C-17 [<strong>and</strong> on March 28, 1997] <strong>the</strong> NASA<br />

Space Shuttle piggybacked on a Boeing 747” (“<strong>Robins</strong> AFB <strong>and</strong> 78 ABW Heritage Pamphlet”). <strong>Robins</strong><br />

AFB, Georgia “remains one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> nation’s greatest defense assets” (“<strong>Robins</strong> AFB <strong>and</strong> 78 ABW<br />

Heritage Pamphlet”).<br />

In 1929, <strong>the</strong> Great Depression hit <strong>the</strong> United States. Unemployed men took to <strong>the</strong> highways as<br />

hobos. Two <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se men walked into <strong>the</strong> store at U.S. Highway 41, <strong>the</strong> North-South corridor <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

nation, <strong>and</strong> Dunbar Road. The men told Lester David Holleman (b. 1875), <strong>the</strong> store owner, “We are<br />

going to rob this store. If you stay behind <strong>the</strong> counter, you will be fine. If you follow us, we will kill<br />

you.” When <strong>the</strong>y started out, Holleman pulled his shotgun from beneath <strong>the</strong> counter <strong>and</strong> followed<br />

<strong>the</strong>m into <strong>the</strong> yard. They killed him <strong>the</strong>re. There is still a store in <strong>the</strong> same spot today. Holleman is<br />

buried in historic Shiloh Cemetery behind today’s Eagle Springs Elementary School.<br />

Today, commerce has moved from small country stores to nationwide chains <strong>and</strong> military logistics.<br />

Over 21,000 civilian <strong>and</strong> military personnel work at <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base. According to <strong>the</strong> Georgia<br />

Public Library Service projections for 2018, more people work at <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base than live in<br />

sixty-six <strong>of</strong> Georgia's 159 counties.. The Guide to <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>Region</strong> Georgia says that “Today, <strong>Robins</strong> Air<br />

Force Base consists <strong>of</strong> almost 7,000 acres <strong>and</strong> is <strong>the</strong> largest industrial complex in Georgia” (68). The<br />

base impacts <strong>the</strong> economies <strong>of</strong> twenty-five Middle Georgia counties <strong>and</strong> is roughly bounded by <strong>the</strong><br />

Ocmulgee River, Highway 96, Highway 247, <strong>and</strong> Echeconee Creek. Across 247, Norfolk Sou<strong>the</strong>rn<br />

Railway runs north <strong>and</strong> south. “Currently, more than 120 aerospace companies maintain facilities in<br />

<strong>the</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>Region</strong> to provide aircraft repair, avionics, electronics, engineering, procurement, <strong>and</strong><br />


Left: Damage caused by <strong>the</strong> 1953<br />

tornado.<br />

Below: Pleasant Hill Primitive<br />

Baptist Church.<br />

logistics support” for <strong>the</strong> base (Guide to <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> <strong>Region</strong> Georgia 69). Immediately west <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> railroad tracks lies <strong>the</strong> city <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong><br />


“The streets named <strong>of</strong>f Pleasant Hill Road<br />

are named for my family members. The<br />

Stalnaker family owned about half <strong>of</strong> this<br />

town. We have been here since it was called<br />

Wellston. My fa<strong>the</strong>r had a business called<br />

Rolovalve. It was where Home Depot is now.”<br />

- Chuck Hulon<br />

Chapter Five ✦ 37

Above: Bloodworths Grocery, 1958.<br />

Right: A patriotic water tower.<br />

<strong>Robins</strong>. The 1950s style depot acts as <strong>Warner</strong><br />

Robin’s Convention <strong>and</strong> Visitors Bureau <strong>and</strong><br />

plans for a new visitors’ center at Interstate I-75<br />

<strong>and</strong> Russell Parkway are underway.<br />

The 21st Century Partnership is “a 501c3<br />

dedicated to <strong>the</strong> long-term vitality <strong>and</strong><br />

sustainability <strong>of</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base [that<br />

works] closely with RAFB <strong>of</strong>ficials, regional,<br />

state <strong>and</strong> national chambers, development<br />

authorities, <strong>and</strong> community partners to foster<br />

regional development” (21st Century<br />

Partnership). Composed <strong>of</strong> civic <strong>and</strong> business<br />

leaders, retired military members <strong>and</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

concerned citizens, <strong>the</strong> group works “to<br />

enhance <strong>the</strong> military value <strong>of</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force<br />

Base <strong>and</strong> economic development in Middle<br />

Georgia” (21st Century Partnership). The<br />

website for 21st Century Partnership shows a<br />

2017 Economic Impact for <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force<br />

base at 22,257 personnel employed, $177<br />

million awarded in “Contracts to Houston<br />

County Firms,” <strong>and</strong> an increase <strong>of</strong> $11 million<br />

in total economic impact over 2016.<br />

From <strong>the</strong> 21st Century Partnership:<br />

During <strong>the</strong> 1993 Base Realignment <strong>and</strong><br />

Closure (BRAC) process, <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base<br />




“I remember when <strong>the</strong>y built Carrol’s.<br />

Watson Boulevard was two lanes, <strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong>y<br />

added two more to make it four.”<br />

- Grady Stokes<br />

“When we went to Houston Mall, we got<br />

rolls <strong>of</strong> pennies to throw into <strong>the</strong> fountain.<br />

We were dirt poor, but it was a fun activity!”<br />

- Jennifer Lauren English<br />

Left: The City Council, 1949.<br />

Below: Commercial Circle.<br />

Chapter Five ✦ 39

Houston Mall.<br />


“I walked Houston Mall with my mo<strong>the</strong>r-in-law <strong>the</strong> morning I went into labor, <strong>the</strong>n went<br />

back to school to teach afternoon classes. I didn’t feel well. The school nurse realized what was<br />

happening <strong>and</strong> sent me straight to <strong>the</strong> doctor.”<br />

- April Moyer Lunceford<br />

“I remember going to Belk’s to get new shoes with my mom. I can still vividly see <strong>the</strong> green carpet<br />

<strong>of</strong> Houston Mall in my mind.”<br />

- Sarah Curington Eno<br />

“I loved going to <strong>the</strong> mall bookstore!”<br />

- Karen Fowler<br />

“My family <strong>and</strong> I had great times shopping at Houston Mall. I remember buying penny loafers,<br />

Bee Bops, <strong>and</strong> a store with a soda fountain.”<br />

- Debra Parkman Elliott<br />

“My favorite place in Houston Mall was Orange Julius.”<br />

- Cindy McCullough Gentry<br />


Above: A <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Chamber <strong>of</strong><br />

Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony.<br />

Left: Carrols was a <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

mainstay for many years.<br />


<strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base 24,500<br />

Houston County Board <strong>of</strong> Education 2,355<br />

Houston Healthcare 2,267<br />

From Guide to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>Region</strong> Georgia, p. 79<br />

Chapter Five ✦ 41

Above: The old railroad station is now<br />

<strong>the</strong> E. L. Greenway Welcome Center.<br />

Right: The Homer J. Walker, Jr.,<br />

Civic Center.<br />

was added to <strong>the</strong> BRAC list for evaluation…a<br />

shock to <strong>the</strong> entire Middle Georgia region, as well<br />

as to <strong>the</strong> entire State <strong>of</strong> Georgia. At <strong>the</strong> insistence<br />

<strong>of</strong> Senator Sam Nunn, <strong>the</strong> 21st Century<br />

Partnership was hurriedly formed to defend<br />

<strong>Robins</strong> <strong>and</strong> thus <strong>the</strong> Middle Georgia region during<br />

<strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>ficial BRAC process. That massive<br />

organizational effort was spearheaded by<br />

community leaders such as George Israel, Bob<br />

Hatcher, Paul Nagle, Ralph Nix, Eddie Wiggins,<br />

Sherrill Stafford, Jack Steed, <strong>and</strong> many o<strong>the</strong>rs…<br />

with <strong>the</strong> sage counsel <strong>of</strong> Senator Sam Nunn. The<br />

military value <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> base, <strong>and</strong> community was<br />

once again evaluated in BRAC 2005. As in BRAC<br />

1995, not only did <strong>Robins</strong> survive, but actually<br />

gained mission during BRAC 2005.Fortunately,<br />

<strong>the</strong> 21st Century Partnership continued to defend<br />

<strong>and</strong> evoke positive actions to ensure <strong>the</strong> continued<br />

viability <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> base. But equally important, <strong>the</strong><br />

organizational structure, mission, <strong>and</strong> approach<br />

have matured tremendously, vaulting <strong>the</strong><br />

partnership to <strong>the</strong> elite class <strong>of</strong> defense community<br />


support organizations in <strong>the</strong> Nation <strong>and</strong> certainly<br />

in <strong>the</strong> State <strong>of</strong> Georgia. This transformation began<br />

with a dramatic shift <strong>of</strong> philosophy. That is <strong>the</strong><br />

best way to defend <strong>Robins</strong> is from an <strong>of</strong>fensive<br />

st<strong>and</strong>point vs. a defensive st<strong>and</strong>point. The<br />

objective was straightforward—make <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>and</strong><br />

Middle Georgia so attractive to decision makers for<br />

assignment <strong>of</strong> military missions that <strong>the</strong> base<br />

would exp<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> become so vital to <strong>the</strong> Nation’s<br />

defense posture, it would always be in a position<br />

to accept <strong>and</strong> execute new missions vs. just<br />

fighting to keep jobs in Middle Georgia. This<br />

approach caused focus <strong>and</strong> solutions to issues<br />

like encroachment; education; affordable/suitable<br />

housing; child care; health care; air quality;<br />

workforce development; transportation access;<br />

quality <strong>of</strong> life for assigned personnel; cost <strong>of</strong> living;<br />

cost <strong>of</strong> operating an installation in Middle Georgia;<br />

capacity to grow; base-community partnerships;<br />

public private partnerships’ collaboration with<br />

sister Air Force industrial operations; helping<br />

<strong>Robins</strong> execute <strong>the</strong>ir strategic plans; etc. The<br />

transformation in philosophy also led to<br />

organizational structure changes. While <strong>the</strong><br />

original board structure has virtually remained in<br />

place, retired senior military <strong>of</strong>ficers were added as<br />

advisors; Executive Directors were added; a<br />

formal <strong>of</strong>fice front was established; a 501c3<br />

was created; <strong>the</strong>n we transitioned to a CEO/COC<br />

construct…. Under <strong>the</strong> current staffing <strong>the</strong> focus<br />

will be developing a strategy <strong>and</strong> action plans that<br />

build on National, State <strong>and</strong> local layers, focusing<br />

on ensuring not only <strong>the</strong> continuing viability<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> AFB in <strong>the</strong> future but working to<br />

bring more missions <strong>and</strong> jobs to <strong>the</strong> Middle<br />

Georgia area.<br />

Above: <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> City Hall.<br />

Below: A 747 carrying a space<br />

shuttle. <strong>Robins</strong> AFB’s runways can<br />

accommodate <strong>the</strong> largest aircraft in<br />

use today.<br />

Chapter Five ✦ 43


S CHOOLS<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>’ growth led to a merger <strong>of</strong> communities that <strong>the</strong> early founders did not expect.<br />

At one point, <strong>the</strong> city limits <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, Byron, <strong>and</strong> Fort Valley converged. This involves<br />

major interaction between Houston <strong>and</strong> Peach counties. Perry <strong>and</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> addresses may be<br />

across a highway from each o<strong>the</strong>r. Bonaire reaches to <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base, <strong>and</strong><br />

Kathleen. Kathleen almost reaches Perry <strong>and</strong> Haneysville. Haneysville <strong>and</strong> Grovania share common<br />

ground. <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> surrounds Centerville. <strong>Planes</strong>, <strong>Trains</strong> & <strong>Heroes</strong> lists all schools that fall under<br />

<strong>the</strong> Houston County Board <strong>of</strong> Education. It includes colleges with a physical campus in <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong>, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> private academies that serve Houston County students. This list is not complete, as<br />

different educational options are continually growing. However, <strong>the</strong> list is representative <strong>of</strong> options<br />

available in 2018.<br />

The Houston County Board <strong>of</strong> Education serves <strong>the</strong> following schools:<br />

• Bonaire Elementary School<br />

• Bonaire Middle School<br />

• C.B. Watson Primary School<br />

• Centerville Elementary School<br />

• David Perdue Elementary School<br />

• David Perdue Primary School<br />

• Eagle Springs Elementary School<br />

• Feagin Mill Middle School<br />

• Hilltop Elementary School<br />

• Houston County Career Academy<br />

• Houston County Crossroad Center<br />

• Houston County High School<br />

• Huntington Middle School<br />

• Kings Chapel Elementary School<br />

• Lake Joy Elementary School<br />

• Lake Joy Primary School<br />

• Langston Road Elementary School<br />

• Lindsey Elementary School<br />

• Matt Arthur Elementary School<br />

• Miller Elementary School<br />

• Morningside Elementary School<br />

• Mossy Creek Middle School<br />

• Northside Elementary School<br />

• Northside High School<br />

• Northside Middle School<br />

• Parkwood Elementary School<br />

• Pearl Stephens Elementary School<br />

• Perry High School<br />

• Perry Middle School<br />

• Quail Run Elementary School<br />

• Russell Elementary School<br />

• Shirley Hill Elementary School<br />

• Thomson Elementary School<br />

• Tucker Elementary School<br />

• Veterans High School<br />

• <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> High School<br />

• <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Middle School<br />

• Westside Elementary School.<br />


Houston County High School’s students have won numerous state <strong>and</strong> national championships.<br />

• Athletics: Baseball, state championship, Class 5A, 2012-2013; S<strong>of</strong>tball, state championship, 1995;<br />

Wesley Steiner, state champion in discus, Class 6A, 2017-2018; <strong>and</strong> Kyah Plummer, state<br />

champion in triple jump, Class 6A, 2017-2018<br />

• Literary: State champions, 1993 (tie)<br />

• Future Farmers <strong>of</strong> America: State championships, dairy judging, 2005-2006 through 2014-2015,<br />

2016-2017 <strong>and</strong> 2017-2018<br />

• SkillsUSA: Thomas Ireson, state championship, 2018<br />

• Technology <strong>and</strong> science: Christopher Saetia, state top award in computer-aided design in architecture:<br />

2018; Harshvardhan Singh, Science <strong>and</strong> Engineering State Award winner, 2018<br />


• Communication: Dhruvesh Patel, state<br />

champion, Gateway Optimist International<br />

Club for <strong>the</strong> Deaf <strong>and</strong> Hard-<strong>of</strong>-Hearing<br />

communication content, 2018<br />

• Art: Alisha Raza, All-State Art Symposium<br />

state finalist, 2018<br />

Future Business Leaders <strong>of</strong> America: Nivedha<br />

Soundappan <strong>and</strong> Sasha Lee, national first<br />

place, emerging business issues, 2016<br />

• Family, Career <strong>and</strong> Community Leaders <strong>of</strong><br />

America: Mary DeTota <strong>and</strong> Dalton Vasquez,<br />

state champions, first in chapter service<br />

project display, 2018; Abigail McDowell,<br />

Shewta Patel, <strong>and</strong> Jaidan Beal, state<br />

champions, first in chapter review<br />

display, 2018; Cori Calvert <strong>and</strong> Cassidy<br />

Hindman, National Gold Award, chapter<br />

in review display, 2017; Illiana Esquivel<br />

<strong>and</strong> Laurel Gaskin, National Gold Award,<br />

chapter in review display, 2017; Lawson<br />

Smith <strong>and</strong> Maryah Booker, National Gold<br />

Award, chapter service project display: 2017;<br />

Cori Calvert, Kelli Gunerman, <strong>and</strong><br />

Brayden Santos, National Gold Award,<br />

chapter in review display, 2016; Elizabeth<br />

Deal <strong>and</strong> Nikita Shetty, National Gold<br />

Award, environmental ambassador, 2016;<br />

Shivani Patel <strong>and</strong> Isabella Trauth, National<br />

Gold Award, chapter in review portfolio,<br />

2016; Bobbie Melden <strong>and</strong> Logan Vasquez,<br />

National Gold Award, national programs in<br />

action, 2016<br />

Notable Houston High School alumni include<br />

Br<strong>and</strong>on King, former cornerback, National<br />

Football League (NFL); Kyle Moore, former<br />

defensive end, NFL <strong>and</strong> Canadian Football<br />

League (CFL); Jake Fromm, Gatorade Player <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Year for football (2015) <strong>and</strong> quarterback at<br />

<strong>the</strong> University <strong>of</strong> Georgia (2017-present); D. L.<br />

Hall, pitcher, Baltimore Orioles (2017-present);<br />

Jessica Burroughs, drafted as <strong>the</strong> first overall<br />

pick in <strong>the</strong> 2017 NPF Draft, becoming <strong>the</strong> first<br />

player from <strong>the</strong> ACC to be drafted at number one<br />

for s<strong>of</strong>tball; <strong>and</strong> Steven Moore, Gatorade Player<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Year for soccer (2015).<br />



Northside High School’s students have won<br />

numerous state <strong>and</strong> national championships.<br />

• Athletics: Girls basketball, state champions,<br />

Class AA, 1966-1967 <strong>and</strong> 1967-1968; Football,<br />

state champions, 2006, 2007, <strong>and</strong> 2014; Girls<br />

track, state champions, 2014; Cassondra Hall,<br />

state champion, 400 meters, 2014; Ta’kera<br />

James, Cassondra Hall, Toleah Martin, Tia<br />

Williams, <strong>and</strong> Toneah Martin, state champions,<br />

1,600-meter relay, 2014; Becky Dyson, state<br />

champion, discus, 1995; Kevondre Hunt, state<br />

champion, 300-meter hurdles, 2013; Braxton<br />

Golden, state champion, shot put, 2018; <strong>and</strong><br />

DaShawn Farber, state champion, wrestling,<br />

2017 (132 lbs.) <strong>and</strong> 2018 (138 lbs.)<br />

• Literary: State champions, 1968, 1969, 1976,<br />

1978, 1981, 1982, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1992,<br />

1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2003,<br />

2004, 2007, 2008, <strong>and</strong> 2013<br />

• One Act Play: State champions, 2006,<br />

2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014,<br />

<strong>and</strong> 2016<br />

Northside High’s notable alumni include Kal<br />

Daniels, former left fielder, Major League<br />

Baseball; Corey Harris, former safety, NFL; Abry<br />

Jones, defensive tackle, Jacksonville Jaguars<br />

(2013-present); Steven Nelson, cornerback,<br />

Kansas City Chiefs (2015-present); Chansi<br />

Stuckey, former wide receiver, NFL; Robert<br />

Davis, wide receiver, Washington Redskins<br />

(2017-present); <strong>and</strong> David Perdue, U.S. senator<br />



Perry High School’s students have won<br />

numerous state <strong>and</strong> national championships.<br />

• Athletics: Boys’ basketball, state champions,<br />

1947, 1949, 1953, 1956, 1959, 1962, 1963,<br />

1964, <strong>and</strong> 1966<br />

• Literary: State champions, 1961 (B), 1962<br />

(B), <strong>and</strong> 1966 (A)<br />

• One Act Play: State champions, AAAA, 2009,<br />

2013, <strong>and</strong> 2015<br />

• FFA: State champions, meat evaluation:<br />

2007-2008; state champions, senior meat<br />

evaluation, 2010-2011 <strong>and</strong> 2014-2015; state<br />

champions, junior meat evaluation, 2014-<br />

2015; state champions, senior nursery<br />

l<strong>and</strong>scaping, 2010-2011 <strong>and</strong> 2014-2015;<br />

state champions, gr<strong>and</strong> champion heifer <strong>and</strong><br />

steer, 2014-2015; national champions,<br />

nursery l<strong>and</strong>scaping, 2007-2008 <strong>and</strong><br />

Chapter Six ✦ 45

2014-2015; <strong>and</strong> national champions,<br />

floriculture, 2010-2011<br />

Notable Perry High School alumni include<br />

Casey Hayward, cornerback with <strong>the</strong> Los Angeles<br />

Charges (2016-present); Dontarrious Thomas,<br />

former linebacker, NFL <strong>and</strong> United Football<br />

League (UFL); Kiwaukee Thomas, former<br />

cornerback, NFL <strong>and</strong> CFL; Al Thornton, former<br />

forward, NBA, who currently plays pr<strong>of</strong>essionally<br />

in Japan; Kanorris Davis, former safety <strong>and</strong><br />

linebacker, NFL; David C<strong>of</strong>fey, former outfielder,<br />

MLB; Deborah Roberts, television journalist;<br />

Larry Walker, Jr., Georgia state representative;<br />

<strong>and</strong> Sam Nunn, United States senator.<br />



Veterans High School’s state <strong>and</strong> national<br />

championships include:<br />

• Athletics: Cheerleading, state champions,<br />

AAAA, 2012-2013 <strong>and</strong> 2013-2014; Malik<br />

Broughton, state champion, track & field,<br />

AAAA, 2013; <strong>and</strong> Francis Morrisey, state<br />

champion, wrestling, AAAA, 2018.<br />

• Literary: Margaret Higginbotham, state<br />

champion, essay, 2014-2015<br />

• FFA: State champions, meats team: 2014-<br />

2015, 2016-2017, <strong>and</strong> 2017-2018; state<br />


“Of <strong>the</strong> hundreds <strong>of</strong> students I’ve been blessed to help through <strong>the</strong>ir middle school, high<br />

school, or college classes, a surprising number came from foreign countries. One middle school<br />

student’s Nigerian mo<strong>the</strong>r met his U.S. Air Force fa<strong>the</strong>r <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>y moved here. For <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

<strong>and</strong> Middle Georgia, this is common. A friend from Spain met her husb<strong>and</strong>, from New York,<br />

while he was stationed abroad. They now live in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>and</strong> she completed <strong>the</strong> process<br />

to become a United States citizen. What I did not expect were numbers <strong>of</strong> international students<br />

without military connections.<br />

“A Cuban family came to <strong>the</strong> United States by boat. The student in a <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> classroom<br />

was too young to remember much <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> journey; but remembers <strong>the</strong> constant crashing <strong>of</strong> waves,<br />

<strong>the</strong> tension <strong>of</strong> adults seeking freedom in a new l<strong>and</strong>, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> joy <strong>of</strong> stepping on solid ground<br />

once more. A Nicaraguan woman told me that as an infant <strong>and</strong> child, her fa<strong>the</strong>r gave her gifts <strong>of</strong><br />

18-carat gold jewelry, for each birthday or event, <strong>and</strong> trained her to wear all <strong>the</strong> pieces all <strong>the</strong><br />

time. When a different regime took <strong>the</strong> country, her family fled to <strong>the</strong> United States with ‘only<br />

<strong>the</strong> clo<strong>the</strong>s on <strong>the</strong>ir backs’ <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> jewelry <strong>the</strong>y wore. This gold jewelry helped <strong>the</strong>m establish<br />

new lives. A Nigerian teacher needed additional United States college credits to teach French in<br />

Houston County, a st<strong>and</strong>ard language in her home county. She had family in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> who<br />

could sponsor her into <strong>the</strong> United States. A student from Venezuela helped us in <strong>the</strong> college<br />

<strong>of</strong>fices on a work/study program while she earned a degree. Her primary language was<br />

Portuguese. Our college <strong>of</strong>fers a Student Leadership Award for which a student must complete<br />

100 hours <strong>of</strong> community service during his or her a two-year degree program. The Vietnamese<br />

student completed 500 hours. A U.S. Marine, in my class, explained how he came from<br />

Columbia for a new life. My co-worker grew up in Korea <strong>and</strong> a student from India taught me<br />

how many languages are spoken <strong>the</strong>re. He spoke three <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m. A <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> business family<br />

came from Lebanon. They now sponsor one <strong>of</strong> our college scholarships.<br />

“After <strong>the</strong> attacks on New York <strong>and</strong> Washington, D.C., on September 11, 2001, a high school’s<br />

assistant principal told me that his job was to convince parents <strong>of</strong> Middle Eastern students that<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir children were safe to return to school. Frightened parents kept <strong>the</strong>ir children at home, but<br />

most returned to classes within a few days. O<strong>the</strong>rs chose <strong>the</strong> homeschool option. Of course, at<br />

<strong>the</strong> college level, we are seeing more <strong>and</strong> more homeschooled students from all ethnic groups as<br />

parents choose <strong>the</strong> option to personally ‘Train up a child in <strong>the</strong> way he should go.’<br />

“So, <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> is diverse, <strong>and</strong> that diversity enriches <strong>the</strong> community.”<br />

- Dianne Dent Wilcox<br />



“Riding <strong>the</strong> Nancy Hanks train from Macon to Atlanta in 1962 was quite an<br />

exciting experience. The train started in Savannah, passing through <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

on its way to board in Macon. We each received a box lunch, <strong>and</strong> like ‘worldly<br />

women,’ we rode to Atlanta <strong>and</strong> spent <strong>the</strong> day shopping at Rich’s Department Store.<br />

At that time Rich’s was located near <strong>the</strong> train station in downtown Atlanta. These<br />

were such fond memories that still exist: ‘New doesn’t always mean better.’<br />

“Ano<strong>the</strong>r memory includes <strong>the</strong> train station at Elberta Road <strong>of</strong>f Highway 247.<br />

Hidden underneath a horrible looking building at this railroad crossing was <strong>the</strong><br />

original ornate train station from <strong>the</strong> past. This was converted into <strong>and</strong> exp<strong>and</strong>ed<br />

as a salvage yard surrounded by military cast <strong>of</strong>f equipment. Just a few years ago I<br />

noticed that <strong>the</strong> building was being demolished, <strong>and</strong> you could see <strong>the</strong> beautiful woodwork being exposed. I’m sure I was not <strong>the</strong> only<br />

person to notice this. So, I called into <strong>the</strong> local newspaper to make <strong>the</strong>m aware <strong>of</strong> a hidden treasure during <strong>the</strong> massive cleanup. The<br />

station has now been relocated to <strong>the</strong> Watson Boulevard entrance <strong>of</strong>f Highway 247 along with o<strong>the</strong>r antique memories located in front<br />

<strong>of</strong> our beautiful law enforcement center. My thoughts are personal, but <strong>the</strong> thoughts <strong>and</strong> memories <strong>of</strong> those who have now gone before<br />

us are <strong>the</strong> heroes <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>. Their thoughts turned a small bump in <strong>the</strong> road into a thriving city it is today. Whe<strong>the</strong>r it was <strong>the</strong><br />

wonderful nuns <strong>and</strong> priests <strong>of</strong> Sacred Heart, our business <strong>and</strong> civic leaders, <strong>and</strong> neighbors <strong>of</strong> yesterday, we are products <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir visions<br />

<strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>y are our heroes. I don’t know what ‘getting <strong>the</strong>re’ means, but <strong>the</strong> journey has been gr<strong>and</strong>!”<br />

- Diane Wagner 2018<br />

“My neighbor said <strong>the</strong>y would take <strong>the</strong> Nancy Hanks to <strong>the</strong> capitol for a grade school field trip. He was born in 1956. By <strong>the</strong><br />

time I went to grade school, our field trip was to <strong>the</strong> Rama Theater”<br />

- Karen Sisk 2018<br />

“There were two engines called <strong>the</strong> Nancy Hanks. The memories here refer to Nancy Hanks II pictured on <strong>the</strong> Atlanta billboard<br />

above. Riding <strong>the</strong> Nancy Hanks was a field trip tradition to <strong>the</strong> point that she was honored in <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Christmas Parade.<br />

My personal memory <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> train was an ABC Kindergarten trip (Macon) to Grant’s Zoo to see <strong>the</strong> famous gorilla Willie B <strong>and</strong> to<br />

Riches for ice cream cones decorated like circus clowns. Later, when I was in sixth grade, Mama took my bro<strong>the</strong>r <strong>and</strong> me out <strong>of</strong><br />

school to ride <strong>the</strong> Nancy Hanks II to Atlanta during her last week <strong>of</strong> operation. Then, passenger travel by train ended for Middle<br />

Georgia.”<br />

- Dianne Dent Wilcox 2018<br />

Above: A billboard featuring <strong>the</strong><br />

Nancy Hanks II train.<br />

Left: A float honoring <strong>the</strong> Nancy<br />

Hanks in <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

Christmas Parade.<br />

Chapter Six ✦ 47


“My journey to <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> began by being born in New York City, which continued by following my gr<strong>and</strong>parents south<br />

to Gainesville, Georgia five years later <strong>the</strong>n to Atlanta for two years. My dad heard <strong>of</strong> a military base below Macon was hiring<br />

veterans <strong>and</strong> knew, that for his family’s sake <strong>and</strong> livelihood, <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> was <strong>the</strong> place to be. As a WWII veteran, his experience<br />

<strong>and</strong> knowledge in electronics made him a good fit for <strong>the</strong> job. He knew he should leave <strong>the</strong> big city for this unknown l<strong>and</strong>. Daddy<br />

was hired <strong>and</strong> lived in a dormitory temporarily, along with o<strong>the</strong>r men coming to an area which lacked housing. The dorms were<br />

located on North Davis Drive in 1954. Eventually <strong>the</strong>se were used for Scout Troops, college classes, etc. until demolished. Dad<br />

lived <strong>the</strong>re through <strong>the</strong> year returning to Atlanta on Friday evening <strong>and</strong> back on Sunday evening. My mom <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> three children<br />

stayed in Atlanta until <strong>the</strong> school year ended to see if this new l<strong>and</strong> <strong>of</strong> opportunity was all my dad had hoped it would be.<br />

“To my mom <strong>and</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r women arriving in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, <strong>the</strong> area did not <strong>of</strong>fer much <strong>of</strong> anything to write home about. They were<br />

truly pioneers <strong>and</strong> true heroes <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir time. I was ten <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> original Sacred Heart Church was already built.My first memory <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>and</strong> Sacred Heart Church is still embedded in my mind. I was wearing a nylon dress to church on a blazing hot summer<br />

day with no air conditioning. My puff sleeves on my dress became full <strong>of</strong> gnats. It was a horrible experience. My mom took me out <strong>of</strong><br />

church <strong>and</strong> removed my dress, never to be worn again anywhere in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>. I survived, but with lasting unpleasant memories.<br />

“My first year <strong>of</strong> school here was grade five at Lindsey. It was a welcoming school with a wonderful principal, David Perdue,<br />

who went on to being <strong>the</strong> Houston School Superintendent. My fifth-grade teacher was Max Cr<strong>of</strong>t who went on to Northside High<br />

School to be its principal. By my sixth grade, Sacred Heart School opened its doors in an old Army wooden barracks. With <strong>the</strong><br />

beginning <strong>of</strong> this zealous endeavor, <strong>the</strong> nuns from Irel<strong>and</strong> were sent across <strong>the</strong> ocean to teach <strong>the</strong> Catholic students here. They were<br />

<strong>the</strong> Presentation Sisters <strong>and</strong> were truly embarking into <strong>the</strong> unknown. These Sisters were true trailblazers. They had arrived wearing<br />

wool, full-length habits, covering head-to-toe to live in a house with no air conditioning. These were heroes to all who came to<br />

know <strong>and</strong> love <strong>the</strong>m. Their tasks were daunting as American children were more rambunctious than <strong>the</strong>ir Irish counterparts.<br />

“Today, here at Sacred Heart School, we no longer have nuns. They definitely shaped our minds <strong>and</strong> hearts with love <strong>of</strong> God<br />

<strong>and</strong> our fellow man to become stellar members <strong>of</strong> society. The school went through to <strong>the</strong> eighth grade, <strong>and</strong> continues to do so,<br />

kindergarten included. Sacred Heart Church <strong>and</strong> School has been a part <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> from basically <strong>the</strong> beginning <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

town’s conception, <strong>and</strong> still continues to grow with a new church <strong>and</strong> school. It has a large active parish with many programs <strong>and</strong><br />

Christian Service Center in <strong>the</strong> heart <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> original downtown area.”<br />

- Diane Wagner 2018<br />

champions, ag sales, 2011-2012 <strong>and</strong><br />

2017; state gr<strong>and</strong> champions, barrow, 2014-<br />

2015; <strong>and</strong> state champions, floriculture,<br />

2010-2011<br />



Private schools serving <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

include <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Christian Academy,<br />

Sacred Heart Catholic School, Central<br />

Fellowship Christian Academy, Christian<br />

Fellowship Academy, The Westside School, <strong>and</strong><br />

Mt.DeSales Academy.<br />


Colleges with campuses in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

include Central Georgia Technical College,<br />

Georgia Military College, <strong>and</strong> Middle Georgia State<br />

University. O<strong>the</strong>r colleges <strong>of</strong>fer extension or online<br />

programs. Mercer University <strong>and</strong> Fort Valley State<br />

are also choices for students in <strong>the</strong> area.<br />


“I moved to <strong>the</strong> United States five years ago from Cuba, <strong>and</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> has been my home since <strong>the</strong>n. My sponsor family<br />

lived in Miami a few years. They wanted to get away from <strong>the</strong> city <strong>and</strong> find a peaceful place to live. I believe <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> was<br />

<strong>the</strong> best choice <strong>the</strong>y could have made because it has filled me with joy <strong>and</strong> peace.”<br />

- Haydee Acosta<br />


Watson Boulevard, 1976.<br />

Chapter Six ✦ 49



The headquarters <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> Police Department.<br />

In 2017, “Houston County Sheriff Cullen Talton [became] <strong>the</strong> longest serving active sheriff in <strong>the</strong><br />

state <strong>of</strong> Georgia” (Ford). The Houston County Government’s webpage article “Meet <strong>the</strong> Sheriff” says,<br />

“Cullen Talton was elected Sheriff in 1972 after serving <strong>the</strong> citizens as a county commissioner. As <strong>the</strong><br />

chief law enforcement <strong>of</strong>ficer <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> county, Sheriff Talton manages a full-service agency with over<br />

300 personnel providing patrol, traffic, investigative functions, court services, <strong>and</strong> detention<br />

facilities. In addition, <strong>the</strong> Sheriff's Office is responsible for <strong>the</strong> E-911 center which receives calls <strong>and</strong><br />

dispatches for all law enforcement agencies, fire departments, <strong>and</strong> medical services in <strong>the</strong> county.”<br />

He told reporter Latasha Ford, “It makes me feel good to know I have <strong>the</strong> support <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> citizens<br />

<strong>of</strong> Houston County for [so many] years…. It’s been an honor for me to serve as sheriff <strong>of</strong><br />

Houston County.”<br />

“The Sheriff Office's goal is to protect life <strong>and</strong> property, enforce <strong>the</strong> laws <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> State <strong>of</strong> Georgia,<br />

apprehend violators <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> law, repress crime, preserve social tranquility <strong>and</strong> safety, prevent civil<br />

disorder, provide service to <strong>the</strong> courts <strong>and</strong> provide humane safekeeping to all persons confined to <strong>the</strong><br />

detention facility” (“Meet <strong>the</strong> Sheriff”).<br />

Retired Chief <strong>of</strong> Police Dan Hart served <strong>the</strong> City <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> for thirty <strong>of</strong> his thirty-one years<br />

in law enforcement. He believes that <strong>the</strong> people <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> community enhance <strong>the</strong> quality <strong>of</strong> life here.<br />

In 1973, retired Chief Hart says <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Police Department “consisted mainly <strong>of</strong> a patrol<br />

division, a few detectives, <strong>and</strong> a public relations <strong>of</strong>ficer.” Now, Hart says, “it has developed into a full<br />

service pr<strong>of</strong>essional law enforcement agency providing services in patrol, traffic, criminal<br />


investigations, drugs <strong>and</strong> intelligence, crime<br />

scene investigation, evidence processing, special<br />

response teams, school resource, police K-9,<br />

<strong>and</strong> [maintains] an excellent on-going training<br />

program.” In 2018, Hart continues to serve <strong>the</strong><br />

community as volunteer coordinator for <strong>the</strong><br />

Museum <strong>of</strong> Aviation.<br />

Police Chief Bret Evans works to see that<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>’ “policing philosophy balances<br />

traditional <strong>and</strong> innovative…methods,” <strong>and</strong><br />

supports <strong>the</strong> city’s view ‘that community<br />

problems are most successfully addressed <strong>and</strong><br />

alleviated by working in partnership with <strong>the</strong><br />

community” (“<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Police<br />

Department”). He signs his emails with a G.K.<br />

Chesterton quote: “Fairy tales do not tell<br />

children <strong>the</strong> dragons exist. Children already<br />

know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children<br />

<strong>the</strong> dragons can be killed” which says that<br />

problems arise, but problems can be solved. Of<br />

his life in Middle Georgia, Evans says, “My<br />

family <strong>and</strong> I moved to <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> in 1980<br />

when <strong>the</strong> Air Force transferred us here. I<br />

attended Northside <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>n went to Georgia<br />

College in Milledgeville. I started with <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Police Department in 1987, <strong>and</strong><br />

I married my high school swee<strong>the</strong>art, Tammy, in<br />

March <strong>of</strong> 1987. Many <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> same mentors that<br />

I had in high school are still mentors today, not<br />

just for me, but for many leaders in Houston<br />

County. It’s <strong>the</strong> people who make Houston<br />

County <strong>and</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> a great place to live.<br />

When we first moved here, <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> had<br />

a single zip code <strong>and</strong> only two phone number<br />

exchanges, 922 <strong>and</strong> 923. As a matter <strong>of</strong> fact, you<br />

could dial ei<strong>the</strong>r two or three (<strong>the</strong> last digit <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> exchange number zero followed by <strong>the</strong> final<br />

four digits when making a call. I remember<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Police Department much smaller<br />

but very progressive for an agency its size. I<br />

enjoyed working in almost every aspect <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

agency, as well as growing through <strong>the</strong><br />

promotional process, before being appointed<br />

chief in 2003. December <strong>of</strong> 2017 marked<br />

fourteen years that I have been honored to serve<br />

as <strong>the</strong> chief <strong>of</strong> a wonderful, pr<strong>of</strong>essional law<br />

enforcement agency.”<br />


If you live in Middle Georgia <strong>and</strong> play tennis, Kerry Bacon may have<br />

taught you <strong>the</strong> love <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> game. He has been teaching for over forty-one<br />

years <strong>and</strong> has taught more than 20,000 students. More than 100 <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m<br />

have played college tennis. Mr. Bacon graduated from <strong>the</strong> University <strong>of</strong><br />

Georgia. After he graduated, he taught tennis to o<strong>the</strong>rs at his own Kerry<br />

Bacon Tennis Camp. He also was <strong>the</strong> men’s <strong>and</strong> women’s head coach at<br />

Mercer University in <strong>the</strong> 1980’s <strong>and</strong> 1990’s. In 1975, he was asked to teach<br />

summer tennis camps at Houston County Recreation Department. There<br />

were only four big courts at that time. Over <strong>the</strong> years, <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> has<br />

added courts at Ted Wright Parks, Shirley Hills, Westside <strong>and</strong> Miller<br />

Elementary Schools. The love <strong>of</strong> tennis continues <strong>the</strong> need to add more<br />

courts in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>. His tennis camp students love <strong>and</strong> respect him. He<br />

is patient <strong>and</strong> makes <strong>the</strong> game fun. Carys Fonner has attended his summer<br />

camps since she was eight. She is now in eighth grade <strong>and</strong> on <strong>the</strong> Tattnall<br />

Academy Junior Varsity tennis team. Kerry Bacon taught her mo<strong>the</strong>r<br />

Elizabeth Fussell Fonner when she played in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>. Carys says<br />

when she wears a Kerry Bacon tennis camp T-shirt that people <strong>of</strong> all ages<br />

stop her <strong>and</strong> tell her he also taught <strong>the</strong>m tennis lessons. <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> is<br />

blessed to have this tennis legend.<br />

- Patricia Fussell<br />

Kerry Bacon (right) <strong>and</strong> Carys Fonner.<br />


“It’s good to see past students doing so<br />

much for <strong>the</strong> city. I think I taught half <strong>the</strong><br />

people on city council, <strong>the</strong> mayor, half <strong>the</strong><br />

people on <strong>the</strong> police force, <strong>and</strong> even <strong>the</strong><br />

chief <strong>of</strong> police”<br />

- Linda Faraone<br />

Chapter Seven ✦ 51


G ROWTH<br />

Norfolk Sou<strong>the</strong>rn trains are a<br />

common sight in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>.<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> continues to grow <strong>and</strong> build despite economic highs <strong>and</strong> lows. The newest growth<br />

is west to Byron <strong>and</strong> south to Perry. A local police <strong>of</strong>ficer says, “The population doubles each day as<br />

commuters come into <strong>the</strong> city.” The city website says, “In 1943, by an act <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Georgia Assembly,<br />

<strong>the</strong> new community <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> was <strong>of</strong>ficially chartered <strong>and</strong> incorporated. Both <strong>the</strong> base <strong>and</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> community have grown h<strong>and</strong>-in-h<strong>and</strong> since that time (“<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, Georgia”). Built to<br />

support <strong>the</strong> U.S. military efforts in World War II, “The Korean conflict resulted in <strong>the</strong> base being<br />

suddenly reactivated <strong>and</strong> people began pouring in again. The growth <strong>and</strong> construction that followed<br />

made <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> a boomtown. The sound <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> air hammer <strong>and</strong> sight <strong>of</strong> new buildings <strong>and</strong><br />

homes hasn’t ceased since…. Today, <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base is firmly established as <strong>the</strong> largest Air<br />

Force base in <strong>the</strong> South, as well as Georgia’s largest single industry” (“<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, Georgia”).<br />

Jacob Reynolds, in a 2017 pre-mayoral race piece for WMAZ-TV said, “Since 2000, <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

has grown by more than 13 square miles, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> population has increased by roughly 25,000”<br />

(“C<strong>and</strong>idate Weigh in on <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>’ Growth <strong>and</strong> Annexation).<br />

In 2017, Forbes Magazine named <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> one <strong>of</strong> “The Best Small Places for Business <strong>and</strong><br />

Careers.” The magazine provide <strong>the</strong> following statistics.<br />

• Metro population: 190,200<br />

• Major industries: Defense, healthcare<br />

• Gross metro product: $8.9 billion<br />

• Job growth (2016): 2.7%<br />

• Cost <strong>of</strong> living: 8% below <strong>the</strong> national average<br />



• County population: 150,033<br />

• <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> population: 73,490<br />

• Perry population: 15,457<br />

• Centerville population: 7,575<br />

• Percentage <strong>of</strong> population married: 48.3%<br />

• Houston County l<strong>and</strong> area: 375.54 square miles<br />

• Median home value: $132,400<br />

• Average commute time: 21.1 minutes<br />

• Median age: 31<br />

Source: Guide to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>Region</strong> Georgia p. 5<br />

• High school atttainment: 87.6%<br />

• College attainment: 26.8%<br />

• Graduate degrees: 12.2%<br />

Forbes’ pr<strong>of</strong>ile for <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> says,<br />

“<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> is home to <strong>the</strong> Museum <strong>of</strong><br />

Aviation honoring <strong>the</strong> history <strong>of</strong> military<br />

aviation. It is located next to <strong>the</strong> air force base.<br />

The museum contains exhibits on military<br />

memorabilia, airplanes <strong>and</strong> ground vehicles, <strong>the</strong><br />

Tuskegee Airmen <strong>and</strong> Operation Desert Storm.<br />

It is <strong>the</strong> second-largest aviation museum in <strong>the</strong><br />

country. When <strong>the</strong> U.S. Air Force was founded<br />

in 1947, <strong>the</strong> base was named <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force<br />

Base; <strong>the</strong> logistics headquarters was originally<br />

named <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Air Materiel Area <strong>and</strong><br />

today is called <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Air Logistics<br />

Center. The base is <strong>the</strong> state’s largest employer<br />

in one location; it has more than 25,000<br />

personnel, mostly civil servants” (“The Best<br />

Small Places for Business <strong>and</strong> Careers”).<br />

Growth in industry also continues. Once,<br />

just a whistle stop on a country railroad, today’s<br />

trains are part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Norfolk Sou<strong>the</strong>rn<br />

Corporation formed as smaller railroads<br />

merged. Today, according to www.nscorp.com,<br />

“Norfolk Sou<strong>the</strong>rn Corporation is one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

nation's premier transportation companies. Its<br />

Norfolk Sou<strong>the</strong>rn Railway subsidiary operates<br />

19,500 route miles” <strong>and</strong> according to one <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Police Department employees,<br />

“A train comes by <strong>the</strong> new police station<br />

about every five minutes.” It still passes between<br />

<strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Depot <strong>and</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Air<br />

Force Base.<br />

A Norfolk Sou<strong>the</strong>rn caboose.<br />

Chapter Eight ✦ 53


T HE<br />

F UTURE<br />

A F16A Fighting Falcon on display at<br />

<strong>the</strong> Museum <strong>of</strong> Aviation.<br />

Newcomers to <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>of</strong>ten ask one question: “What does EDIMIGAFAD mean?” They see<br />

this on painted on buildings, posted on billboards, highlighting a patriotic display on a new water<br />

tower, <strong>and</strong> sculpted into shrubbery.<br />

<strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base “is one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> major economic forces in our community. The local saying<br />

‘Every Day in Middle Georgia is Armed Forces Appreciation Day’ (EDIMIGIAFAD) is one that shows<br />

our great pride in being home to <strong>the</strong> largest air force base in <strong>the</strong> South as well as Georgia’s largest<br />

industrial complex” (Guide to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>Region</strong> Georgia 3).<br />

Currently, <strong>the</strong> Museum <strong>of</strong> Aviation at <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base is considered one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> top museums<br />

in its category. Discussions about an aviation museum began earlier, but “civic leaders, assisted by<br />

base <strong>of</strong>ficials, incorporated <strong>the</strong> Sou<strong>the</strong>astern Museum <strong>of</strong> Aviation Foundation under <strong>the</strong> laws <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

State <strong>of</strong> Georgia on 11 February 1981” (Head <strong>and</strong> Truluck). Stated objectives were:<br />

•. To preserve <strong>the</strong> heritage <strong>and</strong> tradition <strong>of</strong> military <strong>and</strong> civilian aviation in <strong>the</strong> Sou<strong>the</strong>astern United States.<br />

•. To foster <strong>the</strong> study <strong>of</strong> aerospace history in <strong>the</strong> Sou<strong>the</strong>astern United States.<br />

•. To stimulate espirt de corps by telling <strong>the</strong> military <strong>and</strong> civilian aviation story through displays <strong>of</strong><br />

historical significance.<br />

•. To support <strong>the</strong> Air Force recruiting program <strong>and</strong> enlistment by informing <strong>the</strong> public <strong>and</strong> youth<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Sou<strong>the</strong>astern United States through educational exhibits which present <strong>the</strong> history <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Air Force.<br />

•. To foster <strong>the</strong> economic growth <strong>of</strong> Middle Georgia, <strong>the</strong> State <strong>of</strong> Georgia <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Sou<strong>the</strong>astern<br />

United States. (qtd. in Head <strong>and</strong> Truluck)<br />

Then, on “18 December 1981, museum planners submitted a detailed ten-year museum<br />

development plan to WR-ALC <strong>and</strong> AFCL Public Affairs <strong>of</strong>ficials” to be located “on forty-three acres<br />

on <strong>Robins</strong> AFB adjacent to Georgia Highway 247 <strong>and</strong> south <strong>of</strong> Gate 14” (Head <strong>and</strong> Truluck). The<br />

museum opened three years later <strong>and</strong> gained immediate public attention. By 1989, it was ranked in<br />

Georgia’s top historic sites. Then,<br />


inductees were: General Robert L. Scott;<br />

Benjamin T. Epps Sr. <strong>of</strong> A<strong>the</strong>ns, recipient <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

first Georgia Aviation Pioneer Award; Corporal<br />

Eugene Jacques Bullard <strong>of</strong> Columbus, <strong>the</strong> first<br />

black military aviator in World War I; Lieutenant<br />

Guy. O. Stone, <strong>the</strong> World War I pilot whose<br />

collection began <strong>the</strong> Museum; Hazel Jane Raines<br />

<strong>of</strong> Waynesboro, <strong>the</strong> first woman in Georgia to<br />

receive a commercial pilot’s license; retired Air<br />

Force Major General <strong>and</strong> World War I air ace<br />

<strong>and</strong> World War II Air Comm<strong>and</strong>er <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> VIII<br />

Fighter Comm<strong>and</strong>, Frank O’Driscoll “Monk”<br />

Hunter <strong>of</strong> Savannah; <strong>and</strong> retire Navy<br />

Comm<strong>and</strong>er Hamilton McWhorter III, <strong>the</strong> first<br />

naval carrier ace in World War II, who later<br />

became a double ace.” (Head <strong>and</strong> Truluck)<br />

“…on 19 April 1989, in a brief ceremony at<br />

<strong>the</strong> State Capitol in Atlanta, Governor Joe Frank<br />

Harris signed into law House Bill 110, which<br />

created <strong>the</strong> Georgia Aviation Hall <strong>of</strong> Fame <strong>and</strong><br />

made <strong>the</strong> museum its home. The hall was<br />

created to honor aviation leaders who made<br />

outst<strong>and</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> lasting contributions to aviation<br />

history in Georgia or as Georgians. A banquet<br />

honoring <strong>the</strong> first seven inductees was held at<br />

<strong>the</strong> RAFB Officers’ Club on 26 August 1989. The<br />

An exhibit which opened May 3, 1997 gained<br />

fur<strong>the</strong>r national attention: American’s Black<br />

Eagles—Tuskegee Pioneers <strong>and</strong> Beyond. Lt.<br />

Cols. Charles “A-Train” Dryden <strong>and</strong> Herbert<br />

“Gene” Carter participated in a panel discussion<br />

<strong>and</strong> question <strong>and</strong> answer session in <strong>the</strong> Century<br />

<strong>of</strong> Flight Hangar. Today, <strong>the</strong> Museum <strong>of</strong> Aviation<br />

highlights historic aircraft outside, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>n<br />

inside specialty hangers. It includes <strong>the</strong> Georgia<br />

Aviation Hall <strong>of</strong> Fame <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Robert L. Scott<br />

Vistascope Theater in addition to exhibits <strong>of</strong><br />

historic events <strong>and</strong> stories <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> people who<br />

lived <strong>the</strong>m. The Museum <strong>of</strong> Aviation at <strong>Robins</strong><br />

An early aircraft on display at The<br />

Museum <strong>of</strong> Aviation.<br />

Chapter Nine ✦ 55

Above: A Fairchild Republic A-10<br />

Thunderbolt II.<br />

Below: A Rockwell B-1B Lancer.<br />

Air Force Base “welcomes thous<strong>and</strong>s <strong>of</strong> visitors<br />

annually, making it <strong>the</strong> third most-visited<br />

museum in <strong>the</strong> Department <strong>of</strong> Defense, <strong>and</strong> one<br />

<strong>of</strong> only seven aviation museums in <strong>the</strong> U.S. to be<br />

accredited by <strong>the</strong> American Association <strong>of</strong><br />

Museums” (Guide to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>Region</strong> Georgia<br />

21). It features “more than 70 aircraft, missiles,<br />

<strong>and</strong> cockpits dating from a replica <strong>of</strong> an early<br />

1896 glider to modern era aircraft such as <strong>the</strong> B-<br />

1B bomber, <strong>the</strong> SR-71 Blackbird, <strong>the</strong> U-2 Dragon<br />

Lady, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> F-15 Eagle” (Guide to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

<strong>Region</strong> Georgia 23). The Museum <strong>of</strong> Aviation at<br />

<strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base also displays “a Flying<br />

Tigers P-40 Warhawk, a B-25 Mitchell bomber,<br />

<strong>and</strong> a P-51 Mustang” along with an “EC-135<br />

once used by General Norman Schwarzkopf in<br />

Operation Desert Storm….a Vietnam War-era F-<br />

4D Phantom MiG killer, an A-10 Thunderbolt,<br />

an F-105D Thunderchief, a C-130E cargo<br />

aircraft, <strong>and</strong> an MH-53 special operation<br />

helicopter that saw sustained combat operations<br />

in <strong>the</strong> Middle East” (Guide to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>Region</strong><br />

Georgia 24). Its primary function involves<br />

educational programs with community groups,<br />

regional primary <strong>and</strong> secondary schools,<br />

technical schools, colleges, teacher training,<br />

living history, <strong>and</strong> aerospace workshops.<br />

Incorporated January 1, 1943, <strong>the</strong> City <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> now claims a population <strong>of</strong><br />

66,588 in a total area <strong>of</strong> 22.9 square miles<br />

(Georgia.gov). Population doubles during <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base workday <strong>and</strong> during peak<br />

shopping times, as <strong>the</strong> city draws employees<br />

<strong>and</strong> customers from counties in middle <strong>and</strong><br />

south Georgia. Often called “The City with <strong>the</strong><br />

Most Red Lights,” those traffic lights are now on<br />


Above: A Sikorsky MH-53 Pave Low.<br />

Left: A General Dynamics<br />

F-111E Aardvark.<br />

timers to manage <strong>the</strong> flow <strong>of</strong> daily traffic. A new<br />

mass transit van service began in 2017, <strong>and</strong> fur<strong>the</strong>r<br />

mass transit options are in discussion.<br />

Watson Boulevard, once a two-lane dirt road, as<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> early twenty-first century, has seven lanes<br />

<strong>and</strong> extends from <strong>the</strong> base to Interstate 75.<br />

Russell Boulevard also extends from <strong>Robins</strong> Air<br />

Force Base to Interstate 75.<br />

Chapter Nine ✦ 57




Carl Vinson.<br />

In 1794, George Washington appointed<br />

Benjamin Hawkins (1754-1816) Indian Agent<br />

for “tribes south <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Ohio River.” Hawkins<br />

chose a fort site overlooking what is now <strong>the</strong><br />

Ocmulgee National Monument, a sacred place<br />

for <strong>the</strong> Muskogee-Creek nation in 1805, <strong>and</strong><br />

fort construction occurred in 1806. The fort<br />

served as area defense, but primarily was a place<br />

<strong>of</strong> commerce <strong>and</strong> payment <strong>of</strong> annuities to<br />

natives per treaty agreements. During <strong>the</strong> War <strong>of</strong><br />

1812, activities increased at Fort Hawkins.<br />

Andrew Jackson picked up 1,400 militia men<br />

here for one <strong>of</strong> his campaigns. Colonel Hawkins<br />

recruited 1,000 Muskogee Creeks to fight <strong>and</strong><br />

for <strong>the</strong> United States. He moved into <strong>and</strong> out <strong>of</strong><br />

Native villages during <strong>the</strong> war, enlisting White<br />

Sticks to support <strong>the</strong> United States <strong>and</strong> helping<br />

maintain peace with Red Sticks who supported<br />

Great Britain. As Fort Hawkins’ primary functions<br />

moved back to trade, only two to three<br />

people remained posted <strong>the</strong>re. It was decommissioned<br />

in 1828. The U.S. boundary moved<br />

to <strong>the</strong> Flint River by 1820, so a village <strong>of</strong> United<br />

States settlers established a community near <strong>the</strong><br />

old fort <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>n founded Macon along <strong>the</strong><br />

Ocmulgee. After establishing Fort Hawkins,<br />

Benjamin Hawkins moved to <strong>the</strong> Flint River to<br />

conduct treaty negotiations <strong>and</strong> education. He<br />

lived <strong>the</strong> remainder <strong>of</strong> his life at <strong>the</strong> agency,<br />

now in Crawford County. Hawkins believed that<br />

<strong>the</strong> survival <strong>of</strong> natives depended upon <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

ability to assimilate into U.S. society. He oversaw<br />

instruction in farming, carpentry, <strong>and</strong><br />

weaving. He balanced <strong>the</strong> needs <strong>of</strong> natives <strong>and</strong><br />

settlers. Pressure for l<strong>and</strong> began to build<br />

in Georgia, but it was only after his death, in<br />

1816, that <strong>the</strong> United States removed natives to<br />

<strong>the</strong> West.<br />

CARL<br />

VINSON<br />

Carl Vinson, “<strong>the</strong> fa<strong>the</strong>r <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> two-ocean<br />

navy,” led <strong>the</strong> national effort to place an Air<br />

Force base in Middle Georgia. A prompter <strong>of</strong><br />

strong national defense, Vinson was born in<br />

Milledgeville in 1883, attended Georgia Military<br />

College, <strong>and</strong> graduated from Mercer University<br />

Law School in 1902. He practiced law, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>n<br />

entered state <strong>and</strong> later national politics. <strong>Robins</strong><br />

Air Field was planned before <strong>the</strong> United States<br />

entered World War II, largely because “twenty<br />

months before <strong>the</strong> Japanese bombed Pearl<br />

Harbor…Vinson steered two bills through<br />

Congress. The first called for exp<strong>and</strong>ing naval<br />

aviation to 10,000 planes, training 16,000 pilots,<br />

<strong>and</strong> establishing 20 air bases; <strong>the</strong> second speeded<br />

naval construction <strong>and</strong> eased labor restriction<br />

in <strong>the</strong> shipbuilding industry…. In 1964 U.S.<br />

President Lyndon B. Johnson awarded Vinson<br />

<strong>the</strong> Presidential Medal <strong>of</strong> Freedom—<strong>the</strong> highest<br />

award that a president may bestow upon a<br />

civilian. U.S. President Richard Nixon honored<br />

Vinson in 1973 by naming <strong>the</strong> nation’s third<br />

nuclear-powered carrier for him” (Cook). Vinson<br />

served in <strong>the</strong> United States House <strong>of</strong><br />

Representatives for over fifty years under presidents<br />

Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, F.D.<br />

Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, <strong>and</strong><br />

Johnson. He lived to be ninety-seven. Carl<br />

Vinson’s great-nephew, Sam Nunn, continued<br />

<strong>the</strong> family’s legacy in Congress. Today, The<br />

University <strong>of</strong> Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute <strong>of</strong><br />

Government trains new leaders for <strong>the</strong> nation.<br />



Opal Dent Lassiter Smith was a Rosie’s Riveter<br />

who came to Middle Georgia for a defense job.<br />

She loaded detonator caps at <strong>the</strong> Naval<br />

Ordnance Plant south <strong>of</strong> Macon with o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

young women who lived in supervised dormitories<br />

at Wesleyan College’s Music Conservatory.<br />

She remembers <strong>the</strong> dorm mo<strong>the</strong>r encouraging<br />

<strong>the</strong> women to attend dances at <strong>the</strong> USO <strong>and</strong> to<br />

“be nice to <strong>the</strong> young soldiers because <strong>the</strong>y are<br />

just as homesick <strong>and</strong> frightened about <strong>the</strong> war as<br />

you are.” On July 4, 1942, Opal married C. G.<br />

Smith at Camp Wheeler. As he went <strong>of</strong>f to World<br />

War II, she returned to her work loading munitions.<br />

At closing each day, she <strong>and</strong> o<strong>the</strong>rs pushed<br />

small rail cars on narrow gauge tracks into ear<strong>the</strong>n<br />

bunkers to prevent explosions. The building<br />

in which <strong>the</strong>se women worked had a detachable<br />

ro<strong>of</strong>. Opal says, “That was so <strong>the</strong> ro<strong>of</strong> would go<br />

straight up if <strong>the</strong>re was an explosion during our<br />

work day. The explosion would annihilate<br />

everything in <strong>the</strong> building, but it wouldn’t<br />

destroy <strong>the</strong> structures around it.” At <strong>Robins</strong>,<br />

Rosie’s Riveters performed aircraft maintenance<br />

<strong>and</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r tasks.<br />


Ada Jackson Lee helped found <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.<br />

She was born on <strong>the</strong> Feagin property which<br />

became part <strong>of</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base. She<br />

became politically active early. She helped integrate<br />

<strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>. Latasha Ford wrote a<br />

Houston Home Journal article about Mrs. Lee in<br />

2017. In it, she quotes Ada Lee: “The freedom<br />

you see here in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, my family<br />

helped bring what we have here.” Her wish for<br />

future generations is that <strong>the</strong>y show respect for<br />

<strong>the</strong>mselves <strong>and</strong> each o<strong>the</strong>r, grasp <strong>the</strong>ir educational<br />

opportunities, <strong>and</strong> find value in <strong>the</strong><br />

church. One <strong>of</strong> her final quotes in <strong>the</strong> article<br />

says, “We need to be our bro<strong>the</strong>r’s keepers as<br />

we” once were (qtd. In Ford). Mrs. Ada Jackson<br />

Lee worked for The City <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, to<br />

help people, most <strong>of</strong>ten from Jody Town, move<br />

from subst<strong>and</strong>ard housing into better homes for<br />

twelve years. Then she worked with <strong>the</strong> recreation<br />

department. She was active in <strong>the</strong> National<br />

Association for <strong>the</strong> Advancement <strong>of</strong> Colored<br />

People (NAACP) <strong>and</strong> Sou<strong>the</strong>rn Christian<br />

Leadership Conference (SCLC). She is a <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> hero.<br />

ROBERT<br />

L. SCOTT<br />

Robert L. Scott, World War II hero <strong>and</strong><br />

author, was born on April 12, 1908, in<br />

Waynesboro, Georgia <strong>and</strong> died on February 27,<br />

2006, in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, Georgia. He wrote God<br />

Is My Co-Pilot, Flying Tiger: Chennault <strong>of</strong> China,<br />

<strong>and</strong> The Day I Owned <strong>the</strong> Sky. He helped found<br />

The Museum <strong>of</strong> Aviation, which is now <strong>the</strong> second<br />

largest <strong>of</strong> its kind. After Scott began his lifelong<br />

dream <strong>of</strong> flying, he delivered air mail as<br />

part <strong>of</strong> a United States Army Air Corp experiment<br />

devised by President Franklin D.<br />

Roosevelt, <strong>and</strong> later, General Claire Lee<br />

Chennault “made Scott <strong>the</strong> comm<strong>and</strong>er <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

renowned Twenty-third Fighter Group. By<br />

February 1943 Scott, having shot down at least<br />

thirteen Japanese aircraft, was sent home to<br />

make speeches <strong>and</strong> sell war bonds” (Head). Also<br />

in 1943, “<strong>the</strong> Pentagon brought him back to <strong>the</strong><br />

United States for a nationwide tour exhorting<br />

war-plant workers to greater efforts. Near <strong>the</strong><br />

end <strong>of</strong> that tour, Colonel Scott was asked by <strong>the</strong><br />

Scribner publishing house to relate his experiences<br />

in a book. But he had only three days to<br />

do so before he had to report to Luke Field in<br />

Arizona as its new comm<strong>and</strong>er, so he simply<br />

spoke his recollections—90,000 words—onto<br />

wax cylinder recording devices” (Goldstein).<br />

Goldstein’s New York Times article goes on to<br />

say that Scott’s “recollections became God Is My<br />

Co-Pilot, which provided <strong>the</strong> American home<br />

Above: Opal Dent Lassiter Smith.<br />

Below: The Robert L. Scott Exhibit<br />

Hangar at <strong>the</strong> Museum <strong>of</strong> Aviation.<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>Heroes</strong> ✦ 59


“I got to spend some time with Gen.<br />

Scott while I volunteered at <strong>the</strong> Aviation<br />

Museum in high school; he was as great a<br />

patriot in person as he was in legend.”<br />

- Jason Merideth<br />

<strong>of</strong> Georgia Highway 247 named in his honor. In<br />

2003, he was presented with a Governor’s<br />

Award in <strong>the</strong> Humanities by <strong>the</strong> Georgia<br />

Humanities Council” (Head).<br />

Above: Robert L. Scott’s P-40<br />

Warhawk.<br />

Below: General Courtney<br />

Hicks Rogers.<br />

front a vivid account <strong>of</strong> aerial combat <strong>and</strong><br />

received outst<strong>and</strong>ing reviews.” The New Georgia<br />

Encyclopedia says, [it] is still regarded as a classic<br />

wartime memoir. <strong>Warner</strong> Bro<strong>the</strong>rs bought <strong>the</strong><br />

rights to <strong>the</strong> book <strong>and</strong> made a move <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> same<br />

name starring Dennis Morgan as Scott. It premiered<br />

[at <strong>the</strong> Gr<strong>and</strong> Opera House] in Macon<br />

on February 21, 1945” (Head).<br />

Scott, recipient <strong>of</strong> multiple medals to<br />

include a Commendation Medal, Silver Star,<br />

Distinguished Flying Cross, <strong>and</strong> Air Medal,<br />

remained active even later in life. In 1984, Scott<br />

"flew a F-16 Falcon jet fighter, <strong>and</strong> in 1995 an<br />

F-15 Eagle. In 1997, on his eighty-ninth<br />

birthday he flew in a B-18 Lancer supersonic<br />

bomber. During <strong>the</strong> 1996 Olympics in Atlanta,<br />

Scott carried <strong>the</strong> Olympic torch along a section<br />


True heroes <strong>of</strong>ten work just below <strong>the</strong> public<br />

radar. Born in Houston County, Georgia on<br />

January 5, 1887, General Courtney Hicks Hodges<br />

led <strong>the</strong> United States’ World War II First Army<br />

onto <strong>the</strong> beaches <strong>of</strong> Norm<strong>and</strong>y first, out <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

terror <strong>of</strong> Norm<strong>and</strong>y first, into Paris first, into<br />

Germany first, across <strong>the</strong> Rhine first, to meet <strong>the</strong><br />

Russians first, <strong>and</strong> to recapture “more ground in<br />

Europe than any o<strong>the</strong>r unit” (Perry Area<br />

Historical Museum). He attended both <strong>the</strong><br />

surrender <strong>of</strong> Nazi Germany <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Japanese<br />

Empire. At West Point, Hodges was “found<br />

deficient in math,” so he left <strong>and</strong> entered <strong>the</strong><br />

army as a private. He is <strong>the</strong> first to start as private<br />

<strong>and</strong> rise to general. Courtney Hodges served with<br />

honor from 1906 to 1949, earning a<br />

Distinguished Service Cross <strong>and</strong> Silver Star in<br />

World War I, <strong>and</strong> three Army Distinguished<br />

Service Medals in World War II. Perry, which was<br />

Hodges' hometown, named General Courtney<br />

Hodges Boulevard in honor <strong>of</strong> this Houston<br />

County hero. He served with George Marshall,<br />

George S. Patton, <strong>and</strong> Omar Bradley. General<br />

Courtney H. Hodges died on January 16, 1966<br />

<strong>and</strong> is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.<br />

JAKE<br />

FROMM<br />

The University <strong>of</strong> Georgia’s 2017-2018<br />

Number 11, Jake Fromm, played football at<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> High School, where he was<br />

designated a USA Today High School All-<br />

American in 2016. At Georgia, he was named<br />

2017 AP SEC Co-Newcomer <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Year, 2017<br />


Coaches’ Freshman All-SEC, 2017 Coaches SEC<br />

Freshman <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Year, <strong>and</strong> to <strong>the</strong> 2017 USA<br />

Today Sports Freshman All-American Team, <strong>and</strong><br />

2017 ESPN Freshman All-American Team. But,<br />

football is not Jake’s only sport. He played as<br />

pitcher in <strong>the</strong> 2011 Little League World Series to<br />

crowds exceeding 30,000. William Jacob<br />

Fromm, born July 30, 1998, majors in finance at<br />

<strong>the</strong> University <strong>of</strong> Georgia. The Telegraph calls<br />

him, “a confident player, someone who thrives<br />

on competition. Whe<strong>the</strong>r it is a game or practice,<br />

[his] approach to football doesn’t change” (Butt).<br />


Bobbie Diane Eakes was born to a <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> Air Force family on July 25, 1961. Miss<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> 1981. Miss Georgia 1982, <strong>and</strong> a<br />

top ten competitor in Miss America 1983, Eakes<br />

has sung on American B<strong>and</strong>st<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> at The Gr<strong>and</strong><br />

Ole Opry, but is best known for her roles on All<br />

My Children (1970), The Bold <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Beautiful<br />

(1987), <strong>and</strong> Sordid Lives (2000). She loves<br />

fashion, fitness, singing, <strong>and</strong> charity work. In<br />

2018, Bobbie Eakes <strong>and</strong> her husb<strong>and</strong>, actor<br />

David Steen, live in Palm Springs, California.<br />

BETTY<br />


presence in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> is what makes our<br />

community so great. I’ll never forget <strong>the</strong> feeling<br />

I had when I came home to <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> for<br />

<strong>the</strong> first time after winning <strong>the</strong> title <strong>of</strong> Miss<br />

America 2016. My homecoming was nothing<br />

short <strong>of</strong> incredible. From <strong>the</strong> parade, to <strong>the</strong><br />

outpouring <strong>of</strong> love <strong>and</strong> support from <strong>the</strong><br />

community, to getting a street named after me,<br />

this town has made me feel so loved <strong>and</strong><br />

supported. I am so excited to see where Betty<br />

Cantrell Boulevard will be!”<br />

Above: Betty Cantrell, Miss America<br />

2016, touring with <strong>the</strong> USO.<br />

Below: Karl McPherson oversaw <strong>the</strong><br />

hiring <strong>of</strong> more than 100,000 civilian<br />

employees at <strong>Robins</strong> Field, including<br />

skilled employees to h<strong>and</strong>le <strong>the</strong> base’s<br />

aircraft repair needs.<br />

Betty Cantrell, born September 1, 1994, says<br />

“My family came to <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> in 1966<br />

when my gr<strong>and</strong>fa<strong>the</strong>r, Boyd T. Cantrell, took a<br />

civil service job at <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base, shortly<br />

after retiring from <strong>the</strong> military. He served in<br />

World War II, Vietnam, <strong>and</strong> Korea. Growing up<br />

in a small town has definitely helped keep my<br />

feet on <strong>the</strong> ground throughout my success in<br />

life. I love <strong>the</strong> feeling <strong>of</strong> coming from such a<br />

tight-knit community. The support <strong>of</strong> its<br />

citizens is just incredible. I love seeing people’s<br />

faces when I <strong>the</strong>m that I came from <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong>. Most people have never heard <strong>of</strong> it.<br />

Then, I get a chance to educate people on <strong>the</strong><br />

charm <strong>and</strong> warmth <strong>of</strong> a Middle Georgia<br />

community. Being a part <strong>of</strong> what puts <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> on <strong>the</strong> map means <strong>the</strong> world to me. I feel<br />

like <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> is constantly growing <strong>and</strong><br />

improving itself; whe<strong>the</strong>r it’s new restaurants,<br />

stores, or recreational centers. <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force<br />

Base has always been a source <strong>of</strong> growth in <strong>the</strong><br />

community, <strong>and</strong> I think, having that military<br />

KARL<br />


“Mr. Karl McPherson (1912-1975) was born<br />

in Cuthbert, Georgia on March 5, 1912 <strong>and</strong><br />

graduated from <strong>the</strong> public-school system <strong>of</strong> that<br />

city. He afterward attended Abraham Baldwin<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>Heroes</strong> ✦ 61

Above: Some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> many employees<br />

hired by Karl McPherson.<br />

Right: Nora Brantley.<br />

Agricultural College, George Washington<br />

University Law School, <strong>and</strong> Woodrow Wilson<br />

School <strong>of</strong> Law. Mr. McPherson entered civil<br />

service in 1935 as an employee <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Federal<br />

Power Commission, first in Washington, D.C.,<br />

<strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>n in Atlanta. He later transferred to <strong>the</strong><br />

U.S. Civil Service Commission in Atlanta. He<br />

came to Macon in 1941 to establish a Board <strong>of</strong><br />

Civil Service Examiners for <strong>the</strong> hiring <strong>of</strong> civilian<br />

employees for Camp Wheeler. He could not<br />

have known that he would spend <strong>the</strong> rest <strong>of</strong> his<br />

career in Macon. In late 1941, Mr. McPherson<br />

was assigned <strong>the</strong> task <strong>of</strong> hiring civilian<br />

employees to staff an installation under<br />

construction at Wellston, Georgia. To obtain <strong>the</strong><br />

thous<strong>and</strong>s <strong>of</strong> skilled industrial workers required<br />

for a depot situated in a primarily agricultural<br />

areas was a monumental undertaking <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

biggest challenge <strong>of</strong> his career. McPherson,<br />

himself, would later admit ‘I didn’t think we<br />

could do it.’ Four hundred technicians were<br />

hired at o<strong>the</strong>r air depots <strong>and</strong> thirteen hundred<br />

workers, hired locally, were trained at existing<br />

depots before <strong>the</strong> one at Wellston was<br />

completed. Those seventeen hundred skilled<br />

workers played a major role in training <strong>the</strong><br />

o<strong>the</strong>rs. The Signal Corps also conducted<br />

intensive training for its employees at <strong>Robins</strong><br />

Field <strong>and</strong> Bibb County established a school<br />

where hundreds <strong>of</strong> engine <strong>and</strong> aircraft<br />

mechanics were trained. As McPherson would<br />

later recall, ‘We tore apart one old single engine<br />

aircraft so many times that it hung loose when it<br />

was assembled.’ Mr. McPherson, though he fired<br />

<strong>the</strong> first <strong>Robins</strong> employees <strong>and</strong> would hire more<br />

than 100,000 in his career, was not an employee<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Field in <strong>the</strong> beginning. He left <strong>the</strong><br />

Civil Service Commission to become cvilian<br />

personnel <strong>of</strong>ficer at <strong>Robins</strong> Field on February<br />

16, 1942. He was Chief <strong>of</strong> Civilian Personnel<br />

until his retirement on February 20, 1970, as<br />

well as deputy director <strong>of</strong> personnel from <strong>the</strong><br />

time <strong>the</strong> position was created in 1945. Mr.<br />

McPherson died on November 17, 1975. The<br />

story is widely told that many <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> early<br />

employees <strong>of</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Field thought, that since<br />

McPherson hired <strong>the</strong>m, he must be <strong>the</strong> big boss.<br />

When asked where <strong>the</strong>y worked, <strong>the</strong>y would<br />

say, ‘at Mr. McPherson’s airfield.’ And, in a sense,<br />

it was” (undated from files at <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

Convention <strong>and</strong> Visitors Bureau).<br />

NOLA<br />


Miss Nola Brantley is one <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>,<br />

Georgia’s heroes. Mary Ella Davidson Pollett<br />

wrote an introduction to nominate Miss Brantley<br />

for <strong>the</strong> Houston County Teacher Hall <strong>of</strong> Fame in<br />

2007. It says, “There were [once] no schools in<br />

Wellston, a wartime town, later named <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong>, GA. [Later] Army barracks were set up<br />

on <strong>the</strong> government dormitory area called ‘On <strong>the</strong><br />

Hill.’ High school students went to Bonaire High<br />


School. The only high school in Houston<br />

County, o<strong>the</strong>r than Perry High School.” Brantley<br />

taught in this “army duplex barracks from<br />

September 1942 through January 1943. About<br />

1947, <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> had three schools…<br />

Thomas, Watson, Rumble. Grades one through<br />

three went to Thomas School <strong>and</strong> grades four<br />

through seven went to Watson. All high school<br />

students went to Rumble” (Pollett).<br />

Pollett goes on to say, “From all st<strong>and</strong>ards,<br />

Nola Brantley was a true educator, a pr<strong>of</strong>essional,<br />

loyal, conscientious person who made children<br />

<strong>the</strong> first priority…. When I think <strong>of</strong> Nola<br />

Brantley, I remember a kind, gentle lady, with an<br />

inner beauty, twinkling eyes, <strong>and</strong> a smile. She<br />

made [<strong>the</strong>] world a better place in which to live.”<br />

Columnist Skip Korson wrote <strong>of</strong> Nola Brantley<br />

that “Talking to her was not just pleasant” <strong>and</strong><br />

that she “learned so much about history” when<br />

she interviewed her. Brantley told her that she<br />

was “proudest- <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> whole city should be- <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> establishment <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> library” (Korson). That<br />

same library was named renamed <strong>the</strong> Nola<br />

Brantley Memorial Library in 1981, one year after<br />

Miss Brantley’s death.<br />

Brantley “recalled that <strong>the</strong> [Women’s] Club<br />

president in 1948, Mrs. Jay Goldstein,<br />

contributed some <strong>of</strong> her own books [to help<br />

establish ‘We also had book teas to collect<br />

books,’ said Miss Nola. ‘We had 1,100 [books]<br />

when we opened.’ The librarian was paid 50<br />

cents an afternoon when <strong>the</strong> library was located<br />

temporarily in a room <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> old city hall. After<br />

a brief 13 weeks, <strong>the</strong> library was forced to close<br />

– <strong>the</strong> room was needed for re-establishment <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> USO” (Korson). Brantley relayed one more<br />

story to Korson: “A little boy came in to return<br />

a book before closing <strong>and</strong> said, ‘See, this is my<br />

place <strong>and</strong> when <strong>the</strong> library opens again, I want<br />

this book back.’” The library was reestablished<br />

in 1950.<br />

“Miss Nola Brantley was born in Laurens<br />

County, Georgia, graduated from Eastman High<br />

School, received her Bachelor <strong>of</strong> Science degree<br />

from Georgia State College for Women, <strong>and</strong><br />

obtained her master’s degree from <strong>the</strong> University <strong>of</strong><br />

Georgia.” She “taught school in Laurens, Bleckley,<br />

Webster <strong>and</strong> Meriwe<strong>the</strong>r counties. She moved to<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> in 1942. From 1943 to 1944 she<br />

taught fifth grade <strong>and</strong> served as acting principal for<br />

<strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Elementary School. In 1944,<br />

<strong>the</strong> name <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> school was changed to Charles E.<br />

Thomas III School, <strong>and</strong> Miss Brantley was named<br />

as principal. [The school was named for first base<br />

Above: Thomas School.<br />

Bottom, left: Nola Brantley’s bell.<br />

Bottom, right: The floor plan for <strong>the</strong><br />

Nola Brantley Public Library.<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>Heroes</strong> ✦ 63

The historical marker for <strong>the</strong> Pearl<br />

Stephens School.<br />

comm<strong>and</strong>er, Gen. Thomas', son Charles E.<br />

Thomas III who died in a training accident]. Miss<br />

Brantley served as principal until her retirement in<br />

1969” (Granum). Of Thomas School, Brantley told<br />

Korson, “Ours was a wartime school. It didn’t<br />

come equipped in those days with visual aids <strong>and</strong><br />

o<strong>the</strong>r equipment. It was a building with desks.”<br />

Gervaise W. Perdue, wife <strong>of</strong> David A. Perdue, Sr.,<br />

wrote that Brantley “loved children” <strong>and</strong> managed<br />

people well. She said that “There was never any<br />

dissension among <strong>the</strong> faculty. When Miss Brantley<br />

saw one, two or three teachers ga<strong>the</strong>red toge<strong>the</strong>r in<br />

<strong>the</strong> hall, she would walk up <strong>and</strong> tactfully say, ‘The<br />

bell has rung, girls! [referring to her teachers]. The<br />

children are waiting.’ We understood that language<br />

<strong>and</strong> complied! She actually ‘rang a bell!’” (Perdue).<br />

After World War II, Brantley <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> Woman’s Club turned <strong>the</strong>ir efforts to<br />

establishing a public library. Several ladies<br />

donated <strong>the</strong>ir own books, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> group held<br />

tea parties <strong>and</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r fund raisers.<br />

Miss Brantley was not inducted into <strong>the</strong> Hall<br />

<strong>of</strong> Fame. The selection board noted that her<br />

primary function was as principal, so she did<br />

not qualify for <strong>the</strong> Teacher Hall <strong>of</strong> Fame. She<br />

does, however, qualify as a hero for <strong>Planes</strong>,<br />

<strong>Trains</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Heroes</strong>: A History <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>.<br />

More than one article or letter writer referred to<br />

her “twinkling eyes.”<br />

PEARL<br />


Pearl Stephens cared about education in her<br />

community <strong>and</strong> donated l<strong>and</strong> to create a new<br />

school for African-American children. The<br />

county, <strong>the</strong>n, provided her with teachers, books,<br />

<strong>and</strong> building construction. Her work was so<br />

significant that when <strong>the</strong> school moved from<br />

Feagin Mill Road to its newer location, <strong>the</strong> county<br />

kept <strong>the</strong> name Pearl Stephens <strong>and</strong> named <strong>the</strong><br />

entry Pearl Stephens Way. Currently, <strong>the</strong> school is<br />


“As we went forth through <strong>the</strong> early years <strong>of</strong> our education, we did recognize that we had very good <strong>and</strong> outst<strong>and</strong>ing teachers<br />

at Pearl Stephens Junior High School. As we rested from our 1965 summer times in Jody Town <strong>and</strong> Union Grove, it was time to<br />

prepare for continuation <strong>of</strong> our education. We left our family at home, heading to integrate <strong>the</strong> school system <strong>of</strong> Houston County,<br />

from Perry <strong>and</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>. As students that were taught by teachers who showed <strong>the</strong>ir love; it was an encouragement to do<br />

your best <strong>and</strong> be your best at all times. We had good community leaders such as Silas Smith <strong>and</strong> Oscar Thomie, who did <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

best to make sure we receive <strong>the</strong> best education in Houston County. During <strong>the</strong> summer months, we had to learn how to go to<br />

school with white students by riding a bus from <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> to Macon, Georgia. They sent us up to attend Mercer University.<br />

We had to attend classes that were taught by <strong>the</strong> school’s instructors. After <strong>the</strong> summer months, we started preparing our minds<br />

to be students at <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, Northside <strong>and</strong> Perry High Schools. We didn’t prepare to ride any buses from Jody Town, but<br />

our parents or family members would drive us to <strong>the</strong> school <strong>and</strong> drop us <strong>of</strong>f at <strong>the</strong> front <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> school. After a time, we would<br />

walk from Jody Town to <strong>the</strong> high school. We didn’t feel welcome in <strong>the</strong> school after one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> meetings with <strong>the</strong> superintendent<br />

who said, ‘I don’t know why you are comping up here; you get <strong>the</strong> same books <strong>the</strong>se students get.’ The superintendent didn’t<br />

realize that just about every one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> books were destroyed <strong>and</strong> that <strong>the</strong> backs <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> books <strong>and</strong> many pages were missing. There<br />

were a total <strong>of</strong> nineteen students who made a change in <strong>the</strong>ir lives to move toward <strong>the</strong> integration <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> High School.<br />

I’m not sure <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> number <strong>of</strong> black students that made <strong>the</strong> move to Northside <strong>and</strong> Perry.”<br />

- Willie Leonard Garman (undated from files at <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Convention <strong>and</strong> Visitors Bureau).<br />


<strong>of</strong>f South Davis Drive, but in 2018 <strong>the</strong>re is<br />

discussion <strong>of</strong> a new school with her name. Her<br />

family still works to keep <strong>the</strong> legacy intact. The<br />

Pearl Stephens Memorial Scholarship Foundation<br />

web page says: “Pearl Stephens was an educator,<br />

advocate <strong>and</strong> visionary with a goal to enhance <strong>the</strong><br />

educational experience for children. Because <strong>of</strong><br />

her efforts, was inducted into <strong>the</strong> Middle Georgia<br />

Association <strong>of</strong> Black Journalists Trailblazers Hall<br />

<strong>of</strong> Fame in 2004, <strong>the</strong> Houston County Teacher<br />

Hall <strong>of</strong> Fame in 2008 <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Hall<br />

<strong>of</strong> Fame in 2012. On May 17, 2014 a monument<br />

was erected at <strong>the</strong> site <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> original school. On<br />

September 10, 2017 Pearl [Jackson] Stephens<br />

became one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> first to be featured in The<br />

Tubman Museum <strong>and</strong> Historic Macon<br />

Foundation exhibition: Untold Stories Macon’s<br />

African History. A resolution was adopted in our<br />

state archives making her a permanent part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

history <strong>of</strong> Georgia.”<br />

JOHN<br />

E. ELLIOTT<br />

Col. John E. Elliott’s (1931-2000) “military<br />

career spanned over 31 years, involving 21 moves,<br />

with overseas tours in Newfoundl<strong>and</strong>, Vietnam,<br />

Taiwan <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Philippine Isl<strong>and</strong>s. He had over<br />

5,500 flying hours as a navigator <strong>and</strong> comm<strong>and</strong><br />

pilot. John was an Air War College graduate <strong>and</strong><br />

earned a masters degree from Troy State University.<br />

His decorations include <strong>the</strong> Legion <strong>of</strong> Merit with<br />

one oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star, Humanitarian<br />

Service Medal <strong>and</strong> Air Medal with oak leaf cluster”<br />

(“In Memorial USNA 1956 John Earl Elliott”).<br />

Later, he “initiated action [as Director <strong>of</strong><br />

Contracting <strong>and</strong> Manufacturing on RAFB] to<br />

exp<strong>and</strong> consolidation <strong>of</strong> requirements by<br />

modifying <strong>the</strong> JO23 Automated Purchase System.<br />

Previously, <strong>the</strong> preparation <strong>of</strong> an automated ‘low<br />

density’ purchase request was limited to a single<br />

line item. Based on <strong>the</strong> modification, multiple line<br />

item ‘low density’ purchase requests are<br />

mechanically generated. This program was<br />

implemented comm<strong>and</strong> wide in 1981. It greatly<br />

reduced workload within <strong>the</strong> contracting<br />

directorate <strong>and</strong> resulted in significant savings for<br />

<strong>the</strong> government” (A Pictorial History <strong>of</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Air<br />

Force Base 238). When Georgia Military College,<br />

founded in 1879, established an extension campus<br />

on <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base, <strong>the</strong> college chose John<br />

Elliott as its first director. Always on task, he saw<br />

<strong>the</strong> mission <strong>of</strong> GMC on RAFB as serving <strong>the</strong><br />

military <strong>and</strong> civilian workforce <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> base. The<br />

college grew beyond his dream <strong>and</strong> attracted<br />

students from <strong>the</strong> civilian population <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong>, as well. After 9/11, GMC continued its<br />

operation in “The Library” on base [Building 905],<br />

but moved “across <strong>the</strong> fence,” into a new <strong>of</strong>fice<br />

complex on l<strong>and</strong> formerly used by base<br />

operations. Today’s Elliott Hall on <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> Campus is named in his honor. Known as,<br />

“The Gr<strong>and</strong> Gentleman <strong>of</strong> GMC,” <strong>the</strong> colonel’s last<br />

words to faculty member <strong>and</strong> author, Dianne<br />

Dent-Wilcox, were “Keep on keeping on.”<br />

Although his final illness limited verbal<br />

expression, no one questioned his experience,<br />

wisdom, operating budget, or that he was eternally<br />

on mission. John Earl Elliott was a 1956 graduate<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> United States Naval Academy in Annapolis,<br />

because <strong>the</strong> United States Air Force Academy,<br />

founded 1954, was not yet open at <strong>the</strong> time<br />

Colonel Elliott began his academic career in 1953.<br />

Again, this shows early history <strong>of</strong> a modern air<br />

force. Today’s Georgia Military College in <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> also manages campuses at Dublin <strong>and</strong><br />

Eastman, with a student body numbering between<br />

1,600 <strong>and</strong> 2,000. The <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Campus is<br />

part <strong>of</strong> an urban renewal project for <strong>the</strong> city.<br />

Colonel Elliott was a hero on both sides <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

RAFB fence.<br />


Daniel Oliver Fussell was born in Telfair<br />

County, Georgia on March 8, 1935. His parents<br />

were Annie Belle Harris <strong>and</strong> Dr. John Kingsberry<br />

Fussell. When he was ten years old, he <strong>and</strong> his<br />

parents were on <strong>the</strong>ir way to Macon to shop.<br />

While traveling down <strong>the</strong> road, he observed<br />

Boeing B-29s parked closely toge<strong>the</strong>r as far as he<br />

could see. They marked <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> World War II.<br />

On <strong>the</strong> left he saw <strong>the</strong> train station <strong>and</strong> a few stores<br />

on Front Street. He said he did not know <strong>the</strong>re was<br />

a town <strong>the</strong>re. He also did not know he would later<br />

live in this city known as <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> with his<br />

family <strong>and</strong> practice Internal Medicine for thirty<br />

years. Fussell received his Bachelor <strong>of</strong> Science<br />

degree from <strong>the</strong> University <strong>of</strong> Georgia <strong>and</strong> his<br />

medical degree <strong>and</strong> residency in internal medicine<br />

from <strong>the</strong> Medical College <strong>of</strong> Georgia. Dr. Fussell,<br />

his wife Patricia, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir daughter, Kathryn,<br />

arrived in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> on September 15, 1969.<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>Heroes</strong> ✦ 65

Dr. Dan Fussell.<br />

Their daughter Elizabeth was born in <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> in 1970. Dr. Fussell came to <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> as <strong>the</strong> first internal medicine specialist. He<br />

inserted <strong>the</strong> first pacemaker in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>and</strong><br />

organized <strong>the</strong> first functional intensive care unit in<br />

what is now known as Houston Medical Center.<br />

This allowed critically ill patients to remain in<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> for <strong>the</strong>ir care. He was practicing<br />

medicine a few years when he was called by a<br />

physician in Perry, Georgia about a patient with a<br />

cardiac blockage. Dr. Fussell inserted a temporary<br />

pacemaker. This required <strong>the</strong> patient to be<br />

transferred to <strong>the</strong> hospital in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> for<br />

monitoring. The ambulance was an older style<br />

with a low clearance <strong>and</strong> could not transport a<br />

patient needing IV fluids. <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base<br />

supplied a military ambulance with <strong>the</strong> height to<br />

transport <strong>the</strong> patient to <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>. Dr. Fussell<br />

retired from <strong>the</strong> practice <strong>of</strong> medicine on March 30,<br />

2000. During his time in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, he<br />

watched <strong>the</strong> town flourish as <strong>the</strong> hospital grew<br />

larger, <strong>the</strong> medical staff increased, <strong>and</strong> physicians<br />

<strong>of</strong>fered more services. In a restaurant one day, a<br />

lady walked to Dr. Fussell’s table. She said, “You<br />

resuscitated me three times when you could have<br />

walked away. You didn’t. Thank you!”<br />

Paul Hibbits would call himself one <strong>of</strong> a multitude<br />

<strong>of</strong> torchbearers; but under his leadership, <strong>the</strong><br />

“American Association <strong>of</strong> Museums (AAM),<br />

Washington, D.C.…granted <strong>the</strong> Museum <strong>of</strong><br />

Aviation Flight <strong>and</strong> Technology Center at <strong>Robins</strong><br />

Air Force Base full accreditation,” which only<br />

about five percent <strong>of</strong> thous<strong>and</strong>s <strong>of</strong> United States<br />

museums hold. On August 5, 2005, a letter arrived<br />

from Accreditation Commission Chair, Martin<br />

Sullivan saying, “The Commission determined that<br />

your institution meets <strong>the</strong> high st<strong>and</strong>ards<br />

established by <strong>the</strong> Accreditation Program <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

museum field. The institution has demonstrated<br />

this through its completion <strong>of</strong> a rigorous process <strong>of</strong><br />

self-study <strong>and</strong> reviews by a Visiting Committee <strong>of</strong><br />

its peers <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Accreditation Commission.”<br />

Hibbits served as a college extension director on<br />

RAFB for Georgia College <strong>and</strong> State University <strong>and</strong><br />

as a board member for Flint Electric Membership<br />

Cooperation. He is a Middle Georgia hero.<br />

DR. DAN<br />


Dr. Dan Callahan served as a medic in World<br />

War II, <strong>the</strong>n completed his medical training.<br />

One <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> first doctors to practice in <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong>, he served <strong>the</strong> community for over fifty<br />

years. According to The Telegraph, Callahan<br />

created <strong>the</strong> acronym “EDIMGIAFAD,” which<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> now uses as an <strong>of</strong>ficial motto:<br />

“Every Day In Middle Georgia Is Armed Forces<br />

Appreciation Day.” Callahan helped start Happy<br />

Hour Service Center, which provides training<br />

<strong>and</strong> jobs for developmentally disabled adults,<br />

<strong>and</strong> he actively supported RAFB. He received<br />

<strong>the</strong> Exceptional Service Medal from <strong>the</strong> Air<br />

Force. Callahan also served on <strong>the</strong> boards <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Museum <strong>of</strong> Aviation, Houston County-<br />

Middle Georgia Red Cross, Houston County<br />

Association for Exceptional Citizens, <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> Area Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce, was a<br />

member <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Rotary Club, worked with <strong>the</strong><br />

Air Force Association, <strong>and</strong> attended Sacred<br />

Heart Catholic Church.<br />

DAVID<br />

PERDUE<br />

PAUL<br />


Many people helped bring <strong>the</strong> Museum <strong>of</strong><br />

Aviation from an idea to a reality. Former Director<br />

On June 7, 2018, WMAZ-TV reporter Jacob<br />

Reynolds presented <strong>and</strong> posted an article, titled<br />

“U.S. Senator David Perdue Assures <strong>Robins</strong> will<br />

be a Force for Decades to Come.” Reynolds says,<br />


“This comes after <strong>the</strong> Air Force announced an<br />

Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) will<br />

come to <strong>the</strong> Base in <strong>the</strong> near future. The 21st<br />

Century Partnership believes this new mission<br />

“will put Central Georgia on <strong>the</strong> leading edge <strong>of</strong><br />

military technology.” When operational, it will use<br />

current <strong>and</strong> emerging technologies in “surveillance<br />

<strong>and</strong> reconnaissance information” directly to<br />

comm<strong>and</strong>ers <strong>and</strong> “is <strong>the</strong> first management system<br />

<strong>of</strong> this kind anywhere in <strong>the</strong> Air Force.”<br />

Full implementation may take a decade or<br />

more, which helps secure <strong>the</strong> position <strong>of</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

Air Force Base to national security <strong>and</strong> makes <strong>the</strong><br />

future <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, Georgia a brighter one.<br />



Henrietta McIntyre (1924 – 2016) grew up in<br />

Lincoln County Georgia. She moved to <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> in 1944 to work at <strong>Robins</strong> Air Field.<br />

Through <strong>the</strong> years, she worked with <strong>the</strong><br />

“Community Chest, now known as United Way,<br />

…Pilot Club, <strong>Robins</strong> Jaycettes, Little League<br />

Auxiliary, Pink Ladies Auxiliary, Civitan,<br />

American Red Cross, Air Force Association,<br />

Special Olympics, <strong>and</strong> Christmas in April” (The<br />

Telegraph). She served five terms on <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong>’ City Council <strong>and</strong> was active in<br />

Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Henrietta<br />

McIntyre served as acting mayor <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> from 1993-1994 <strong>and</strong> was inducted as<br />

an inaugural member <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Hall<br />

<strong>of</strong> Fame.<br />

RANDY<br />

TOMS<br />

R<strong>and</strong>y Toms, while serving as a <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> firefighter, wanted to increase his service<br />

to <strong>the</strong> city. With that in mind, he returned to<br />

school as a non-traditional student, completed an<br />

associate degree at Georgia Military College’s<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> campus <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>n was elected<br />

mayor. He says “It was service in protecting <strong>and</strong><br />

serving our country, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>n our city, that led<br />

me to run for mayor. We all know that <strong>Warner</strong><br />

Above: EDIMGIAFAD—“Every Day<br />

In Middle Georgia Is Armed Forces<br />

Appreciation Day”—<strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>ficial motto<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, was created by Dr.<br />

Dan Callahan.<br />

Below: Henrietta McIntyre in 1944.<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>Heroes</strong> ✦ 67

<strong>Robins</strong> is <strong>the</strong> best possible place to live, work <strong>and</strong><br />

raise a family. Even Business Week <strong>and</strong> CNN<br />

Money have put us on <strong>the</strong>ir best places to live list”<br />

(Mayor R<strong>and</strong>y Toms on Facebook). He goes on to<br />

say, “I was born here, raised here, <strong>and</strong> my wife<br />

Jane <strong>and</strong> I raised our own two children here.<br />

After serving as an airman in <strong>the</strong> U.S. Air Force, I<br />

came back to <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>and</strong> recently retired<br />

after serving our great city for twenty-seven years<br />

as an <strong>of</strong>ficer <strong>and</strong> chaplain in <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

Fire Department. I was also honored to serve as<br />

<strong>the</strong> chaplain for <strong>the</strong> Georgia Association <strong>of</strong> Fire<br />

Chiefs” (Mayor R<strong>and</strong>y Toms on Facebook).<br />

LARRY<br />

WALKER<br />

Houston County native Larry Walker<br />

represented Georgians from 1972 until 2004.<br />

He was majority leader <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Georgia<br />

House <strong>of</strong> Representatives for sixteen <strong>of</strong><br />

those years. Today, as a founding member<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> law firm Walker, Hulbert, Gray & Moore,<br />

he “represents individuals, small businesses,<br />

corporations, <strong>and</strong> banking institutions in all<br />

aspects <strong>of</strong> real estate, commercial transactions,<br />

civil litigation, estate <strong>and</strong> probate, personal<br />

injury <strong>and</strong> wrongful death matters” (“Larry<br />

Walker Founding Partner Walker, Hulbert,<br />

Gray & Moore, LLC”). He continues to<br />

serve on “<strong>the</strong> University System <strong>of</strong> Georgia<br />

Board <strong>of</strong> Regents as an at-large member” <strong>and</strong><br />

writes for The Telegraph <strong>and</strong> James Magazine<br />

on “family, everything Sou<strong>the</strong>rn, reading,<br />

politics, <strong>and</strong>, <strong>of</strong> course, folks” (“Larry Walker<br />

Founding Partner”).<br />


State Senator Larry Walker III represents<br />

Georgia’s 20th District. Elected in 2015, he<br />

“serves on <strong>the</strong> Agriculture <strong>and</strong> Consumer Affairs,<br />

Appropriations, Health <strong>and</strong> Human Services, <strong>and</strong><br />

Insurance <strong>and</strong> Labor st<strong>and</strong>ing committees. He is<br />

also a member <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> joint House <strong>and</strong> Senate<br />

Agricultural Exposition Authority Overview<br />

Committee, <strong>the</strong> Agriculture Education Advisory<br />

Commission, <strong>and</strong> he serves as administration<br />

floor leader for Governor Nathan Deal” (“Georgia<br />

State Senate: Senator Larry Walker III”). Houston<br />

Magazine named him “a top 10 leader under 40,”<br />

in 2004, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Macon Telegraph listed him as<br />

one <strong>of</strong> 14 to watch in 2014” (“Georgia State<br />

Senate”). Senator Walker also serves on <strong>the</strong> board<br />

<strong>of</strong> The Museum <strong>of</strong> Aviation.<br />


RAY<br />

Richard Belmont Ray “began his political career<br />

in Perry, Georgia, serving as a member <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> city<br />

council from 1962 to 1964, <strong>and</strong> as mayor from<br />

1964 to 1970. It was as mayor that he first worked<br />

with Sam Nunn by appointing him to an advisory<br />

panel on race relations, an association that would<br />

last for <strong>the</strong> rest <strong>of</strong> his career. When Nunn was<br />

elected a U.S. senator in 1972, Ray went to<br />

Washington with him to be his administrative<br />

Richard Ray represented Georgia’s<br />

Third District in Congress from 1983<br />

to 1993.<br />


assistant. He held this position until 1982, when<br />

Ray ran for <strong>of</strong>fice himself following Representative<br />

Jack Brinkley’s retirement” (“Richard Ray Papers<br />

Biographical Note”). He represented Georgia’s<br />

Third District in Congress from 1983 until 1993.<br />

Ray’s participation on <strong>the</strong> Armed Services<br />

Committee was important to Georgia’s Fort<br />

Benning <strong>and</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base, which are<br />

major economic contributors in <strong>the</strong> Third District.<br />

Ray also helped establish Plains, Georgia as a<br />

historic district “to honor [Plains/Archery native]<br />

former President Jimmy Carter” (“Richard Ray<br />

Papers Biographical Note”). Topics covered in Ray’s<br />

papers include discussions <strong>of</strong> “tax reform,<br />

balancing <strong>the</strong> federal budget, defense sending,<br />

Georgia military bases, Georgia business, <strong>and</strong><br />

development projects in <strong>the</strong> Third District”<br />

(Richard Ray Papers Biographical Note”). He lived<br />

from 1927 until 1999.<br />

SAM<br />

NUNN<br />

Samuel Augustus Nunn was born on<br />

September 8, 1938 in Macon, Georgia but<br />

represented Houston County <strong>and</strong> Middle Georgia<br />

during his distinguished political career.<br />

Graduating from Georgia Institute <strong>of</strong> Technology,<br />

Emory University, <strong>and</strong> Emory Law School, Nunn<br />

served with <strong>the</strong> United States Coast Guard until<br />

he ran for <strong>and</strong> won a seat in <strong>the</strong> Georgia General<br />

Assembly in 1968. He ran for <strong>and</strong> won a seat in<br />

<strong>the</strong> United States Senate in 1972 <strong>and</strong> served<br />

until 1996 as member <strong>and</strong> chair <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Senate<br />

Armed Services Committee <strong>and</strong> Permanent<br />

Subcommittee on Investigations. According to<br />

<strong>the</strong> New Georgia Encyclopedia, Nunn’s “passion for<br />

foreign policy <strong>and</strong> military affairs led him to<br />

concentrate on global issues, particularly issues<br />

concerning <strong>the</strong> proliferation <strong>of</strong> weapons <strong>of</strong><br />

mass destruction in <strong>the</strong> world” (Pavri). This<br />

impacted Middle Georgia’s promilitary stance <strong>and</strong><br />

helped in <strong>the</strong> continued growth <strong>of</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Air<br />

Force Base. Nunn also “sponsored legislation in<br />

1989 that encouraged great citizen participation<br />

in <strong>the</strong> service <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> country by <strong>of</strong>fering<br />

educational benefits, including federal loans <strong>and</strong><br />

scholarships, in return for up to two years <strong>of</strong><br />

public service in a ‘civilian service corps’ or<br />

in <strong>the</strong> military” (Pavri). He continues active<br />

involvement in global issues, teaches in<br />

<strong>the</strong> Sam Nunn School <strong>of</strong> International Affairs at<br />

Georgia Tech, <strong>and</strong> serves on boards <strong>of</strong> several<br />

major corporations.<br />

SONNY<br />

PERDUE<br />

George Ervin “Sonny” Perdue, born in Perry,<br />

Houston County, Georgia on December 20, 1946,<br />

served as Georgia’s Governor from 2003-2011, <strong>and</strong><br />

in 2018, serves as United States Secretary <strong>of</strong><br />

Agriculture. Once a Democrat, Perdue “switched to<br />

<strong>the</strong> Republican Party before governing Georgia for<br />

two terms from 2003 to 2011. He has a strong<br />

agricultural background, having grown up on a<br />

farm <strong>and</strong> earned a doctorate in veterinary<br />

medicine. As governor <strong>of</strong> Georgia, he also took<br />

conservative stances on immigration <strong>and</strong> voting<br />

rights <strong>and</strong> drew national headlines for holding a<br />

public vigil to pray for rain in 2007 amidst a<br />

crippling drought” (O’Keefe <strong>and</strong> Eilperin).<br />

Confirmed in 2017, Perdue now leads “a sprawling<br />

agency with a $155 billion annual budget <strong>and</strong> close<br />

to 100,000 employees. This makes it one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

largest federal departments, <strong>and</strong> one that includes<br />

branches ranging from <strong>the</strong> U.S. Forest Service to<br />

<strong>the</strong> Animal <strong>and</strong> Plant Health Inspection Service<br />

(APHIS) <strong>and</strong> duties ranging from co-publishing <strong>the</strong><br />

U.S. Dietary Guidelines to running <strong>the</strong> school<br />

lunch program (O’Keefe <strong>and</strong> Eilperin).”<br />


Roberta Wallace Jolley, while working in<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, saw a man enter her<br />

building. She asked, "May I help you?" <strong>and</strong><br />

efficiently h<strong>and</strong>led <strong>the</strong> business side <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong>ir transaction. In a moment, she turned<br />

<strong>and</strong> said, "Excuse me, but you look<br />

familiar. Were you governor? He langhed<br />

<strong>and</strong> replied, ‘Call me Sonny.’”<br />

Sam Nunn served in <strong>the</strong> U.S. Senate<br />

from 1972 to 1996.<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>Heroes</strong> ✦ 69



<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> in Print ✦ 71


The past should teach us how to h<strong>and</strong>le <strong>the</strong> future: “I was on base, teaching for Georgia Military<br />

College in Building 905, on <strong>the</strong> morning <strong>of</strong> September 11, 2001. Someone, I couldn’t tell you who,<br />

stopped by my <strong>of</strong>fice <strong>and</strong> said, ‘You need to come to <strong>the</strong> T.V. now.’ I arrived in one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> base <strong>of</strong>fices<br />

in time to see <strong>the</strong> second airliner hit <strong>the</strong> World Trade Center. Shortly <strong>the</strong>reafter, someone said, ‘We<br />

have ten minutes to get <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> base before <strong>the</strong>y lock it down.’ We heard reports, <strong>and</strong> it doesn’t matter<br />

now whe<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong>y were true or not, that a commercial airliner was headed for <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>and</strong> that <strong>the</strong><br />

authorities could not get a response from <strong>the</strong> onboard crew. The day was as intense as any I’ve<br />

experienced. I spent it glued to <strong>the</strong> television <strong>and</strong> that is not my normal mode <strong>of</strong> operation. At a<br />

meeting in downtown Macon <strong>the</strong> next day, I remember that people were nicer than before, more<br />

polite; it seemed that cultural differences faded. We really were <strong>the</strong> United States for a while. Two<br />

weeks later, when I returned to work <strong>and</strong> drove through <strong>the</strong> new serpentine access to <strong>Robins</strong> Air<br />

Force Base, I did so beneath a guard holding a machine gun atop a Hummer. The moral <strong>of</strong> this story<br />

is that when <strong>the</strong> worst happened, RAFB <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> City <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> were ready. I was one <strong>of</strong><br />

thous<strong>and</strong>s <strong>of</strong> non-essential personnel who were <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> base in ten minutes. The sleepy <strong>and</strong> primarily<br />

Civil Service base came to immediate military readiness. The city <strong>and</strong> surrounding areas focused on<br />

plans for assisting in any way possible. Then, Georgia Military College had a small extension campus<br />

on base serving about 200 students. After 9/11, <strong>the</strong> City <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> partnered with us to place<br />

a city campus on l<strong>and</strong> once used for military housing as part <strong>of</strong> an urban redevelopment plan.<br />

Growth exploded. Today, Dublin <strong>and</strong> Eastman extension campuses work under <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

campus with a student population approaching 2,000.<br />

The reclaimed military housing area is a modern business park with ponds, walking trails, labeled<br />

plant life, <strong>and</strong> its own population <strong>of</strong> wild geese. One <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> trails passes a beautiful olive tree<br />

honoring Barbara Shaheen, ano<strong>the</strong>r proactive citizen who left a scholarship to build <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

for <strong>the</strong> future.<br />

Middle Georgia is an area that adapts, overcomes, <strong>and</strong> succeeds.<br />



Haydee Acosta<br />

Archeology on Big Indian Creek<br />

Emily Beck<br />

Patti Ferrell Bedford<br />

Emily Denny Bishop<br />

Mark Bohnstedt, Nola Brantley Library,<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, Georgia<br />

The Ron Bohnstedt Family<br />

Marsha Priest Buzzell<br />

Lonnie Davis<br />

Debra Parkman Elliott<br />

Jennifer Lauren English<br />

Sarah Curington Eno<br />

Bret Evans<br />

Karen Fowler<br />

The Willie Leonard Garman Family<br />

Cindy McCullough Gentry<br />

Linda Farone<br />

Patricia Fussell<br />

Steve Holleman<br />

Joy McCammon<br />

Ocmulgee Archaeological Society<br />

Joan Dembowski Pottinger<br />

Dianne Ward Dean<br />

Dodge County Public Library Staff<br />

Ben Elton<br />

Vanessa Smith<br />

Lou Crouch<br />

David Gorman<br />

William P. Head<br />

Dan Hart<br />

Toby Hill<br />

The Reggie Holleman Family<br />

Chuck Hulon<br />

Roberta Wallace Jolley<br />

Ashley Killbrew<br />

Ken Lance<br />

Opal Dent Smith Lassiter<br />

Ellie Loudermilk<br />

April Moyer Lunceford<br />

Betty Cantrell Maxwell <strong>and</strong> Spencer Maxwell<br />

Beth Conley McLaughlin<br />

Jason Merideth<br />

Nola Brantley Public Library Staff<br />

Booker O’Brien<br />

Ted Ramsdell<br />

Alice Flagg Smith<br />

Grady Stokes<br />

R<strong>and</strong>y Toms<br />

Janie Townsend<br />

Lee Vanosdol<br />

Ginny Weaver<br />

Diane Wagner<br />

John Wagner, Sr.<br />

Erik Walton<br />

April Renfro Warren<br />

Dara West<br />

Tommy Williams<br />


Nola Brantley Public Library<br />

Perry Area Historical Museum<br />

RAFB Office <strong>of</strong> History<br />

The Museum <strong>of</strong> Aviation<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Convention <strong>and</strong> Visitors Bureau<br />

Acknowledgements ✦ 73


21st Century Partnership. Accessed June 7, 2018.<br />

A Pictorial History <strong>of</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base, Georgia. Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio: Air Force Logistics Comm<strong>and</strong>; Macon,<br />

Georgia: University Press <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> South, 1982.<br />

“Bobbie Eakes: Biography.” IMBd. Accessed March 12, 2018.<br />

“Bobbie Eakes: Miss Georgia 1982.” After <strong>the</strong> Crown. March 30, 2014. Accessed March 12, 2018.<br />

Butt, Jason. “Far From Unprepared UGA QB Displays ‘It-Factor’ to Teammates.” The Telegraph, September 4, 2017. Accessed March<br />

13, 2018.<br />

“Civilian Conservation Corps at Ocmulgee National Monument 1937-1942.” Site Bulletin, Ocmulgee National Monument. U.S.<br />

Department <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Interior. Accessed June 5, 2018.<br />

Cook, James F. "Carl Vinson (1883-1981)." New Georgia Encyclopedia. 21 February 2018. Web. 11 June 2018.<br />

Crenshaw, Wayne. “He Created EDIMGIAFAD <strong>and</strong> Happy Hour Service Center.” The Telegraph. December 6, 2016. Accessed June<br />

23, 2018.<br />

Dawkins, Gabrielle. “Jody Town Community Reunites Again.” 13WMAZ. May 28, 2016. Accessed July 12, 2018.<br />

Dixon, Claire M. <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>: The Second 25 Years. Alpharetta, Georgia: Wolfe Associates, 1993.<br />

Evans, Brett. Interview, March 1, 2018.<br />

Ford, Latasha. “A Jewell <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Community.” Houston Home Journal, March 1, 2017. Accessed July 12, 2018.<br />

Ford, Latasha. “Sheriff Cullen Talton Sworn in for 12th Term.” Houston Home Journal, December 24, 2016. Accessed March 12, 2018.<br />

“Georgia State Senate: Senator Larry Walker III.” Accessed March 13, 2018.<br />

Goldstein, Richard. “Robert Scott War-Hero Author Dies at 97.” New York Times, February 2, 2006. Accessed March 12, 2018.<br />

Granum, Eleanor R. “Letter <strong>of</strong> Recommendation to Houston County Teacher Hall <strong>of</strong> Fame,” April 2007. On file at Nola Brantley<br />

Memorial Library, <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>.<br />

Guide to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>Region</strong> Georgia. <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>Region</strong>al Chamber. St. Simons Isl<strong>and</strong>, Georgia: 365 Degree Total Marketing, 2017.<br />

Hart, Dan. Interview, December 2, 2017.<br />

Head, William <strong>and</strong> Diane H. Truluck. A History <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Museum <strong>of</strong> Aviation at <strong>Robins</strong> AFB, The Crown Jewel <strong>of</strong> Georgia. ffice <strong>of</strong> History,<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Air Logistics Center, <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base, Georgia, October 1997.<br />

Head, William P. A Photographic History <strong>of</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> AFB, 1941-2016: 75 Years <strong>of</strong> Power Projection. 78 ABW History Office.<br />

Head, William P. “Robert Scott (1908-2006).” New Georgia Encyclopedia. Accessed March 12, 2018.<br />

Head, William P. Through <strong>the</strong> Camera’s Eye: A Photographic Survey <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Origins <strong>of</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Field, 1841-1945. Office <strong>of</strong> History, <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> Air Logistics Center, <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base, Georgia, 1988.<br />

“Henrietta McIntyre Obituary–<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, GA.” The Telegraph. “Henrietta McIntyre Obituary–<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, GA.” August 9,<br />

2016. Accessed August 3, 2018.<br />

“Houston County, Georgia.” Government Website. Accessed March 12, 2018.<br />

“In Memorial USNA 1956 John Earl Elliott.” Accessed March 13, 2018.<br />

“Jake Fromm.” University <strong>of</strong> Georgia Football Roster 2017. Accessed March 13, 2018.<br />

Korson, Skip. “Personally Speaking: Woman’s Dream <strong>of</strong> a Library a Reality.” The Daily Sun. Nola Brantley Memorial Library History<br />

Room. Accessed February 28, 2018.<br />

Kovac, Jr., Joe. “10 Years Ago They were Little League <strong>Heroes</strong>. Now They’re All Grown Up.” The Telegraph, August 25, 2017. Accessed<br />

June 15, 2018.<br />

“Larry Walker Founding Partner Walker, Hulbert, Gray & Moore, LLC.” Accessed March 13, 2018.<br />

Maffeo, S. Michael. “Camp Wheeler” Site Bulletin, Ocmulgee National Monument.<br />

“Mayor R<strong>and</strong>y Toms.” City <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, Georgia Directory. Accessed March 12, 2018.<br />

“Mayor R<strong>and</strong>y Toms.” Facebook. Accessed March 12, 2018.<br />

Mooney, Chris <strong>and</strong> John Wagner. “Who is Sonny Perdue?” Accessed March 12, 2018.<br />

Nelson, Bobbe Hickson. A L<strong>and</strong> So Dedicated: Houston County, Georgia. Perry, Georgia: Houston County Library Services, 1976.<br />

“Norfolk Sou<strong>the</strong>rn Merger Family Tree: A Genealogy <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Well-Known Railroads that Make Up Today’s System.” <strong>Trains</strong>, June 2, 2006.<br />

Accessed May 24, 2018.<br />


O’Keefe, Ed <strong>and</strong> Juliet Eilperin. “Trump Picks Sonny Perdue for Agriculture Secretary.” Washington Post, January 19, 2017. Accessed<br />

March 12, 2018.<br />

Oshan, Jeremiah. “LLWS 2011: How <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>’ Little League Baseball Team Got Here.” SBNation, August 16, 2011. Accessed<br />

June 21, 2018.<br />

Pavri, Tinaz. “Sam Nunn (b. 1938).” New Georgia Encyclopedia. December 16, 2003. Last edited by NGE Staff on April 7, 2015.<br />

Accessed March 12, 2018.<br />

Pearl Stephens Memorial Scholarship Foundation. Accessed June 23, 2018.<br />

Perdue, Gervaise W. “Letter <strong>of</strong> Recommendation to Houston County Teacher Hall <strong>of</strong> Fame.” April 2007. On file at Nola Brantley<br />

Memorial Library, <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>.<br />

Pollett, Mary Ella Davidson. “Letter <strong>of</strong> Recommendation to Houston County Teacher Hall <strong>of</strong> Fame.” April 2007. On file at Nola<br />

Brantley Memorial Library, <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>.<br />

Ray, Richard B. “Richard B. Ray Papers.” Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research <strong>and</strong> Studies. University <strong>of</strong> Georgia. Collection<br />

Number: RBRL/172/RR. Accessed March 12, 2018.<br />

Reynolds, Jacob. “C<strong>and</strong>idates Weigh in on <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>’ Growth <strong>and</strong> Annexation.” 13WMAZ News Broadcast. November 1, 2017.<br />

Accessed June 19, 2018.<br />

Reynolds, Jacob. “U.S. Senator David Perdue Assures <strong>Robins</strong> will be a Force for Decades to Come: 21st Century Partnership <strong>and</strong><br />

Senator Perdue say Announcement <strong>of</strong> New Battle Management System is Good News for Long-Term Future <strong>of</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force<br />

Base.” WMAZ-TV news broadcast. June 7. 2018. Accessed June 7, 2018.<br />

“<strong>Robins</strong> AFB <strong>and</strong> 78 ABW Heritage Pamphlet Part 1: A Brief History <strong>of</strong> WR-ALC <strong>and</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> AFB.” Web. November 29, 2017.<br />

“Statistics.” Georgia.gov accessed December 29, 2017.<br />

“The Best Small Places for Business <strong>and</strong> Careers.” Forbes Magazine. Accessed June 19, 2018.<br />

Welcome Neighbor to <strong>the</strong> “City <strong>of</strong> Friendship”: Directory <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, Georgia Fastest Growing City<br />

History <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> by Judge Taylor M. Brundege (1958).<br />

“<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>.” New Georgia Encyclopedia. Accessed December 29, 2017.<br />

“<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, Georgia.” Accessed June 19, 2018.<br />

“<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Police Department.” Accessed March 13, 2018.<br />

Works Cited ✦ 75


Historic pr<strong>of</strong>iles <strong>of</strong> businesses, organizations,<br />

<strong>and</strong> families that have contributed to<br />

<strong>the</strong> development <strong>and</strong> continued growth <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>Region</strong><br />


First United Methodist Church <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> ..................................................................78<br />

Mercer University School <strong>of</strong> Engineering <strong>and</strong> Mercer Engineering Research Center .....................80<br />

Heart <strong>of</strong> Georgia Hospice..................................................................................................82<br />

Sacred Heart Catholic Church <strong>and</strong> School ............................................................................84<br />

Sou<strong>the</strong>rn Lighting ............................................................................................................86<br />

Wellston Decorating .........................................................................................................88<br />

American Legion Post 172 .................................................................................................90<br />

Family Dental Associates ..................................................................................................92<br />

Georgia Military College...................................................................................................94<br />

Central Georgia Periodontics <strong>and</strong> Dental Implants ................................................................96<br />

Jimmy Spinks, State Farm Agent ........................................................................................98<br />

Clean Control Corporation ..............................................................................................100<br />

Golden Key Realty .........................................................................................................102<br />

Flint Energies ...............................................................................................................104<br />

Buzzell Plumbing, Heating <strong>and</strong> Air Conditioning.................................................................106<br />

Middle Georgia State University.......................................................................................108<br />

Combined Employees Credit Union....................................................................................109<br />

21st Century Partnership ................................................................................................110<br />

Vision Savers, Inc. .........................................................................................................111<br />

Northrop Grumman ........................................................................................................112<br />

Waddle Surveying Company, Inc. ......................................................................................113<br />

Physicians for Women, PC ...............................................................................................114<br />

Sushi Thai Restaurant ....................................................................................................115<br />

Griggers Wealth Management...........................................................................................116<br />

Meadowdale Learning Centers..........................................................................................117<br />

Custom Cable Assemblies ................................................................................................118<br />

Museum <strong>of</strong> Aviation........................................................................................................119<br />

Perry-Houston County Airport Authority ...........................................................................120<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Convention & Visitors Bureau .....................................................................121<br />

PeachState Hospitality....................................................................................................122<br />

<strong>Robins</strong> <strong>Region</strong>al Chamber ................................................................................................123<br />

Yelverton Jewelers..........................................................................................................124<br />

Lammert Inc. ................................................................................................................125<br />


Academy <strong>of</strong> Dance<br />

438 South Pleasant Hill Road<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, Georgia 31903<br />

478-922-6220<br />

www.academy<strong>of</strong>dancewr.com<br />

National Exterminating Company, Inc.<br />

107 Westcliff Boulevard<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, Georgia 31903<br />

478-922-1410<br />

www.nationalexterminating.com<br />

Strato, Inc.<br />

1836 Watson Boulevard<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, Georgia 31903<br />

478-923-4225<br />

www.stratoinc.com<br />

Davis Printing Company<br />

1240 Watson Boulevard<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, Georgia 31903<br />

478-929-4938<br />

www.davisprintingwr.com<br />

Phillips Furniture<br />

1734 Watson Boulevard<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, Georgia 31903<br />

478-922-6117<br />

www.phillipsfurnitureinc.com<br />

Word in Season Ministries<br />

1520 Feagan Mill Road<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, Georgia 31088<br />

478-224-9476<br />

www.mywism.com<br />

Sharing <strong>the</strong> Heritage ✦ 77




WARNER<br />

ROBINS<br />

Top: The pipe organ was installed in<br />

1980 <strong>and</strong> at Christmastime is<br />

surrounded by colors <strong>and</strong> symbols<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> season celebrating <strong>the</strong> birth<br />

<strong>of</strong> Jesus.<br />

Bottom: Celebrating Easter with <strong>the</strong><br />

church family–a welcoming<br />

congregation at a church that <strong>of</strong>fers<br />

programs <strong>and</strong> opportunities for<br />

all ages.<br />

The origin <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Methodist Church in<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, Georgia, dates back to 1892,<br />

when small societies <strong>of</strong> Methodists were<br />

meeting in <strong>the</strong> little towns along <strong>the</strong> Georgia<br />

Sou<strong>the</strong>rn <strong>and</strong> Florida Railway line. On<br />

September 25, 1894, a church site located on<br />

Cherry Street (now known as Watson<br />

Boulevard) between Third Street <strong>and</strong> Fourth<br />

Street was deeded to <strong>the</strong> Trustees <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Methodist Episcopal Church South at Wellston,<br />

Georgia (<strong>the</strong> predecessor <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>).<br />

Church records from 1895 to 1904 show<br />

growth <strong>and</strong> decline <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se church societies<br />

along <strong>the</strong> railway. By 1930, <strong>the</strong> Methodist<br />

church in Wellston closed because <strong>of</strong> dwindling<br />

membership <strong>and</strong> disrepair <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> building.<br />

The 1941 selection <strong>of</strong> Wellston, Georgia, as <strong>the</strong><br />

site for <strong>the</strong> construction <strong>of</strong> an Air Corps depot<br />

brought new growth to <strong>the</strong> area <strong>and</strong> a revival <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Methodist Church. On August 31, 1941, <strong>the</strong><br />

first service for <strong>the</strong> re-established Methodist<br />

Church at Wellston was held at <strong>the</strong> Community<br />

House across <strong>the</strong> street from <strong>the</strong> church’s previous<br />

location. On September 17, 1943, <strong>the</strong> Trustees <strong>of</strong><br />

Wellston Methodist Church purchased l<strong>and</strong> on<br />

Davis Drive in <strong>the</strong>ir city, which was now known as<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>. The first service for <strong>the</strong> Methodist<br />

Church <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> was held at <strong>the</strong> new<br />

building on Davis Drive on January 30, 1944. The<br />

building was destroyed by fire two weeks after <strong>the</strong><br />

opening service. After <strong>the</strong> fire, services were held<br />

in Thomas Elementary School until <strong>the</strong> burned<br />

building could be renovated. At <strong>the</strong> April 3, 1952,<br />

meeting <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Board <strong>of</strong> Stewards <strong>and</strong> Trustees, a<br />

motion was made <strong>and</strong> carried changing <strong>the</strong> name<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> church from <strong>the</strong> Methodist Church <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> to First Methodist Church because<br />

ano<strong>the</strong>r Methodist Church was being formed in<br />

<strong>the</strong> area. On Christmas Eve 1967, when <strong>the</strong> first<br />

service was held in <strong>the</strong> current sanctuary, <strong>the</strong><br />

name on <strong>the</strong> front <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> church showed “First<br />

Methodist Church” for <strong>the</strong> United Methodist<br />

organization had not yet been formed. In April<br />

1968, <strong>the</strong> Methodist Church united with <strong>the</strong><br />

Evangelical United Brethren Church <strong>and</strong> became<br />

known as <strong>the</strong> United Methodist Church, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

church that began as <strong>the</strong> Methodist Church <strong>of</strong><br />

Wellston, Georgia, became known as First United<br />

Methodist Church <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, Georgia.<br />

First United Methodist Church <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> city <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> have undergone many changes<br />

through <strong>the</strong> years. The history <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> church<br />

reflects <strong>the</strong> history <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> community. First<br />

Methodist played instrumental roles in <strong>the</strong><br />


formation <strong>of</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r Methodist churches in <strong>the</strong><br />

community, including Northview, Trinity,<br />

Centerville, <strong>and</strong> Christ. First Methodist has<br />

sponsored a church bazaar/marketplace since<br />

1968, flea markets since 1990, <strong>and</strong> consignment<br />

sales since 2011. They organized <strong>the</strong> first<br />

church-sponsored Boy Scout troop in 1956,<br />

opened <strong>the</strong> first weekday preschool <strong>and</strong><br />

kindergarten (Cheerful Cherubs) in September<br />

1950, televised worship services since July 1974,<br />

installed <strong>the</strong> city’s first pipe organ in 1980,<br />

opened <strong>the</strong> doors to a clo<strong>the</strong>s closet from 1971<br />

until 2013, provided food for families through a<br />

food closet from 1983 until <strong>the</strong> opening <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

food pantry in 1991, fed <strong>the</strong> hungry in <strong>the</strong> soup<br />

kitchen since August 1990, <strong>and</strong> provided shelter<br />

<strong>and</strong> support to families since 2010.<br />

The history <strong>and</strong> heritage <strong>of</strong> First United<br />

Methodist Church is a firm foundation upon which<br />

<strong>the</strong> future grows. The church <strong>of</strong>fers programs <strong>and</strong><br />

opportunities for all ages. The church family<br />

demonstrates <strong>the</strong> power <strong>of</strong> God’s work through<br />

spiritual leadership, faith, community, love <strong>and</strong><br />

outreach by making a difference here <strong>and</strong> around<br />

<strong>the</strong> world.<br />

First United Methodist Church is located at<br />

205 North Davis Drive in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>. Call<br />

us at 478-923-3737 or visit our website at<br />

www.welcomet<strong>of</strong>irst.org for directions, service<br />

times, <strong>and</strong> much more.<br />

Top: First United Methodist Church,<br />

located at 205 North Davis Drive in<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, Georgia, has been an<br />

integral part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> community since<br />

before <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> was formed.<br />

Below: The stained glass windows<br />

installed in October 1998 depict<br />

scenes in <strong>the</strong> life <strong>of</strong> Jesus Christ. The<br />

people <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> church share <strong>the</strong> power<br />

<strong>of</strong> God’s work.<br />

Sharing <strong>the</strong> Heritage ✦ 79

MERCER<br />







CENTER<br />

Top: Mercer University President Dr.<br />

R. Kirby Godsey <strong>and</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

Air Logistics Center Comm<strong>and</strong>er<br />

Major General Cornelius Nugteren<br />

sign a memor<strong>and</strong>um <strong>of</strong> underst<strong>and</strong>ing<br />

to make <strong>the</strong> base a satellite campus<br />

for Mercer’s new School <strong>of</strong><br />

Engineering, which welcomed its first<br />

class in 1985.<br />

Below: Dr. Carroll Gambrell (center<br />

left) <strong>and</strong> Dr. R. Kirby Godsey<br />

(center right) with <strong>the</strong> inaugural<br />

faculty <strong>of</strong> Mercer University School<br />

<strong>of</strong> Engineering.<br />

.<br />

From <strong>the</strong> time Major General<br />

Cornelius Nugteren took comm<strong>and</strong><br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Air<br />

Logistics Center in September<br />

1982, he sought to remedy a<br />

shortage <strong>of</strong> engineers on <strong>the</strong> base.<br />

Mercer Engineering Research<br />

Center Executive Director Andi<br />

Mitchell remembers Nugteren as a<br />

man with a remarkable gift to tie<br />

communities toge<strong>the</strong>r, <strong>and</strong> as<br />

such, he was a member <strong>of</strong> both<br />

<strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>and</strong> Macon<br />

Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce.<br />

Melvin Kruger, who served as<br />

president <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Macon Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce,<br />

<strong>of</strong>fered to accompany Nugteren to <strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>fice <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong>n-Mercer President Dr. R. Kirby Godsey.<br />

Upon Kruger’s introduction <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se two<br />

visionary leaders, <strong>the</strong>y soon developed a plan<br />

to provide <strong>the</strong> base—<strong>and</strong> all <strong>of</strong> Middle<br />

Georgia—with a local source <strong>of</strong> engineers <strong>and</strong><br />

engineering research.<br />

Mercer <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Macon Chamber <strong>of</strong><br />

Commerce jointly sponsored a five-month study<br />

<strong>of</strong> current <strong>and</strong> projected needs for various types<br />

<strong>of</strong> engineers. The results supported Nugteren’s<br />

view that <strong>the</strong> region did not have <strong>the</strong> educational<br />

programs to meet <strong>the</strong> needs <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> base, nor<br />

<strong>the</strong> needs <strong>of</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r industries targeted for economic<br />

development.<br />

In December 1984, Mercer’s Board <strong>of</strong><br />

Trustees approved plans for an engineering<br />

school, <strong>and</strong> four months later, Dr. Carroll<br />

Gambrell, former executive vice president <strong>and</strong><br />

provost <strong>of</strong> West Coast University in Los Angeles,<br />

California, was hired as its dean. Mercer welcomed<br />

its first class <strong>of</strong> engineering students in<br />

<strong>the</strong> fall <strong>of</strong> 1985.<br />

Nugteren <strong>and</strong> Godsey also signed a memor<strong>and</strong>um<br />

<strong>of</strong> underst<strong>and</strong>ing to make <strong>the</strong> base a<br />

satellite campus for <strong>the</strong> new engineering school<br />

<strong>and</strong> provide for faculty to teach both undergraduate<br />

<strong>and</strong> graduate courses in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>.<br />

The goal for <strong>the</strong> first year was to have twenty<br />

military personnel, civil servants <strong>and</strong> dependents<br />

enrolled in each course on base with an<br />

additional 50 to 100 freshmen in <strong>the</strong> engineering<br />

program on <strong>the</strong> Macon campus.<br />

Currently, <strong>the</strong> School <strong>of</strong> Engineering<br />

has more than 800 students enrolled in its<br />

bachelor’s <strong>and</strong> master’s degree programs.<br />

To date, Mercer has awarded more than<br />

2,000 degrees to engineers in <strong>the</strong> fields <strong>of</strong><br />

biomedical, computer, electrical, environmental,<br />

industrial <strong>and</strong> mechanical engineering,<br />

as well as industrial management,<br />

technical communication <strong>and</strong> engineering<br />

for development.<br />

The School <strong>of</strong> Engineering has provided<br />

more entry-level engineers to <strong>Robins</strong><br />

Air Force Base than any o<strong>the</strong>r school, <strong>and</strong><br />

nearly half <strong>of</strong> its living alumni reside in<br />

Middle Georgia.<br />

In July 1987, less than two years after<br />

<strong>the</strong> School <strong>of</strong> Engineering opened its<br />

doors, Mercer Engineering Research<br />


Center (MERC), <strong>the</strong> applied engineering <strong>and</strong><br />

research arm <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> University, opened with<br />

three employees in a strip shopping center<br />

located on Watson Boulevard in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>.<br />

The Center’s purpose was–<strong>and</strong> still is–to provide<br />

locally available engineering <strong>and</strong> scientific<br />

services <strong>and</strong> critical specialized technical skills<br />

to supplement <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Air Logistics<br />

Complex <strong>and</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r customers.<br />

The Center’s first contract for $8,400<br />

involved reverse engineering <strong>and</strong> providing<br />

schematic <strong>and</strong> wiring diagrams, fabrication<br />

drawings, parts <strong>and</strong> material information, performance<br />

specifications <strong>and</strong> test procedures to<br />

support <strong>the</strong> manufacture <strong>and</strong> quality control <strong>of</strong><br />

an intercom terminal board for <strong>the</strong> U.S. Air<br />

Force (USAF).<br />

Today, MERC continues to work to sustain<br />

virtually every aging aircraft in <strong>the</strong> USAF<br />

fleet. Major projects include rotary wing engineering<br />

support, C-130 Functional System<br />

Integrity Program support, aging bomber electronic<br />

warfare support <strong>and</strong> C-5/HH-60 avionics<br />

reverse engineering.<br />

Over <strong>the</strong> last three decades, MERC has developed<br />

a highly qualified pr<strong>of</strong>essional staff, complex<br />

tools <strong>and</strong> test equipment, <strong>and</strong> extensive<br />

technical capabilities in <strong>the</strong> fields <strong>of</strong> aircraft<br />

structural analysis <strong>and</strong> design, flight test instrumentation,<br />

reverse engineering <strong>and</strong> prototyping,<br />

laboratory structural testing, electronic warfare<br />

s<strong>of</strong>tware algorithm development, web deployed<br />

applications with integrated database access,<br />

industrial engineering, logistics, <strong>and</strong> reliability<br />

<strong>and</strong> biomedical engineering.<br />

The Center has employed a total <strong>of</strong> 279<br />

engineers, <strong>and</strong> currently staffs more than 190<br />

engineers, scientists <strong>and</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r employees in a<br />

113,000-square-foot, state-<strong>of</strong><strong>the</strong>-art<br />

facility on Osigian<br />

Boulevard. To date, MERC has<br />

received nearly $500 million<br />

in contracts, including support<br />

for twenty different models<br />

<strong>of</strong> USAF aircraft <strong>and</strong> one<br />

Navy submarine.<br />

“The School <strong>of</strong> Engineering<br />

<strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Mercer Engineering<br />

Research Center are important<br />

examples <strong>of</strong> how Mercer<br />

University has engaged <strong>the</strong><br />

educational, cultural <strong>and</strong> economic well-being<br />

<strong>of</strong> this region as a part <strong>of</strong> its primary mission.<br />

Both <strong>the</strong> School <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Center have made <strong>and</strong><br />

continue to make transformative contributions<br />

that exp<strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> reach <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> University’s influence<br />

through research, while enhancing <strong>the</strong><br />

work <strong>of</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base, <strong>the</strong> Department<br />

<strong>of</strong> Defense <strong>and</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>and</strong> enriching<br />

<strong>the</strong> economic <strong>and</strong> cultural foundations <strong>of</strong><br />

Macon,” said Godsey.<br />

Nugteren retired from <strong>the</strong> Air Force in 1988,<br />

but his impact on Mercer <strong>and</strong> MERC would not<br />

come to an end. In August 1996, he joined <strong>the</strong><br />

staff at MERC as a senior adviser, a role he<br />

would fulfill for <strong>the</strong> next nineteen years.<br />

“He was a wonderful mentor,” recalled<br />

Mitchell, who was <strong>the</strong> third employee hired by<br />

MERC <strong>and</strong> has been instrumental in <strong>the</strong> establishment<br />

<strong>and</strong> success <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Center. “He instilled<br />

in us <strong>the</strong> discipline <strong>of</strong> customer service in supporting<br />

<strong>the</strong> warfighter.”<br />

Top: Mercer Engineering Research<br />

Center currently operates in a<br />

113,000-square-foot, state-<strong>of</strong>-<strong>the</strong>-art<br />

facility on Osigian Boulevard in<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> with a staff <strong>of</strong> more<br />

than 190 engineers, scientists <strong>and</strong><br />

o<strong>the</strong>r employees.<br />

Below: Mercer Engineering Research<br />

Center works to sustain virtually<br />

every aging aircraft in <strong>the</strong> United<br />

States Air Force fleet. Major projects<br />

include rotary wing engineering<br />

support, C-130 Functional System<br />

Integrity Program support, aging<br />

bomber electronic warfare support<br />

<strong>and</strong> C-5/HH-60 avionics reverse<br />

engineering.<br />

Sharing <strong>the</strong> Heritage ✦ 81

HEART OF<br />



Top: Camp Wings is held annually<br />

<strong>and</strong> is open to all children who have<br />

lost a loved one.<br />

“Heart <strong>of</strong> Georgia Hospice is <strong>the</strong><br />

Hospice with <strong>the</strong> Big Heart.” Their logo–<br />

a heart nestled within an outline <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

State <strong>of</strong> Georgia not only epitomizes that<br />

motto, but perfectly describes what many<br />

patients <strong>and</strong> families have known since<br />

<strong>the</strong> organization was founded in 1984.<br />

“The staff was so nice <strong>and</strong> caring.<br />

They made my daddy’s final days as<br />

comfortable as possible for him, <strong>and</strong> for<br />

us,” proclaims one <strong>of</strong> a host <strong>of</strong><br />

five-star reviews on <strong>the</strong> organization’s<br />

Facebook page.<br />

“Wonderful, great, fantastic, in o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

words, angels,” echoes ano<strong>the</strong>r. “If we<br />

needed something, <strong>the</strong>y were <strong>the</strong>re.”<br />

Heart <strong>of</strong> Georgia Hospice has been<br />

<strong>the</strong>re for thous<strong>and</strong>s <strong>of</strong> patients <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

families spanning more than three<br />

decades. Back in 1984, a group <strong>of</strong> compassionate<br />

residents saw a need <strong>and</strong><br />

cared enough to fill it by creating <strong>the</strong><br />

county’s first hospice organization.<br />

“There were no o<strong>the</strong>r hospice providers<br />

in Houston County at that time,” said<br />

Dawn Rozar, <strong>the</strong> executive director <strong>of</strong><br />

what was once called Hospice <strong>of</strong> Houston<br />

County <strong>and</strong> today remains <strong>the</strong> county’s only<br />

nonpr<strong>of</strong>it, Christian-based hospice. “Even with<br />

limited funds, <strong>the</strong> organization grew steadily<br />

from <strong>the</strong> start.”<br />

In fact, it was growth that prompted <strong>the</strong><br />

organization to <strong>of</strong>ficially change its name to<br />

Heart <strong>of</strong> Georgia Hospice in July 2006 to better<br />

reflect its exp<strong>and</strong>ing service area, which has<br />

encompassed a forty-five-mile radius <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

home <strong>of</strong>fice in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> since 1998.<br />

Today, Heart <strong>of</strong> Georgia’s service area includes<br />

Houston, Bibb, Bleckley, Crawford, Dooly,<br />

Macon, Peach, Pulaski, Taylor, <strong>and</strong> Twiggs<br />

Counties. The organization works diligently to<br />

be a good hometown neighbor to all, providing<br />

comprehensive care <strong>and</strong> comfort to terminally<br />

ill patients <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir families, without regard to<br />

race, creed, sexual orientation, ethnic background,<br />

or religious beliefs.<br />

They provide care in <strong>the</strong> homes <strong>of</strong> patients as<br />

well as in assisted living facilities, nursing<br />

homes <strong>and</strong> also operate an Inpatient Care Unit<br />

inside Perry Hospital at 1120 Morningside<br />

Drive. Opened in 2003, <strong>the</strong> Heart <strong>of</strong> Georgia<br />

Inpatient Care Unit is a six-bed unit that serves<br />

those patients who need a higher level <strong>of</strong> care<br />

than can be provided in a home setting.<br />

Heart <strong>of</strong> Georgia is guided by a communitybased<br />

board <strong>of</strong> directors <strong>and</strong> is supported by a<br />

team <strong>of</strong> pr<strong>of</strong>essional staff <strong>and</strong> dedicated volunteers,<br />

including <strong>the</strong> likes <strong>of</strong> “Huggin’ Hazel”<br />

Colson. Named for her propensity for passing<br />

out hugs, Huggin’ Hazel, who turned ninetyone<br />

years young in 2018, has been a nurse for<br />

more than seven decades <strong>and</strong> has been <strong>the</strong> face<br />

<strong>of</strong> Heart <strong>of</strong> Georgia Hospice since she was hired<br />


in 1987. She says it has never seemed like a job<br />

to her.<br />

It is apparent that all <strong>of</strong> her co-workers–<br />

whe<strong>the</strong>r volunteer or paid–feel <strong>the</strong> same. They<br />

love <strong>the</strong>ir jobs; <strong>the</strong>y are fully invested in helping<br />

o<strong>the</strong>rs; <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>y have <strong>the</strong> heart <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> knowhow<br />

to do so.<br />

“When it comes to caring for our patients<br />

<strong>and</strong> families, we go outside <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> box,” says<br />

Human Resources Manager Sherry <strong>Robins</strong>on.<br />

“We go beyond typical hospice care with a<br />

number <strong>of</strong> complementary programs such as<br />

<strong>the</strong> My <strong>Story</strong> Program, <strong>the</strong> Veteran’s Honor<br />

Ceremony, a Christmas Memorial Service, <strong>and</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Heart <strong>of</strong> Georgia Hospice Casserole<br />

Ministry in which we partner with churches<br />

<strong>and</strong> individuals to deliver hundreds <strong>of</strong><br />

casseroles to our patients’ families each year.<br />

And, we never send a bill.”<br />

Even after a patient passes away, Heart <strong>of</strong><br />

Georgia’s certified counselor is available to help<br />

those left to grieve, free <strong>of</strong> charge, regardless <strong>of</strong><br />

whe<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong>ir loved one used Heart <strong>of</strong> Georgia<br />

Hospice services or not. For youth, Camp<br />

Wings is a free bereavement camp founded by<br />

<strong>the</strong> organization in 2000. It is held annually<br />

each fall <strong>and</strong> staffed by more than seventy-five<br />

trained counselors, social workers <strong>and</strong> volunteers<br />

who work to help bereaved children<br />

underst<strong>and</strong> that <strong>the</strong>ir feelings <strong>of</strong> sadness<br />

<strong>and</strong> grief are normal. The camp includes an<br />

array <strong>of</strong> activities from group <strong>the</strong>rapy sessions to<br />

plenty <strong>of</strong> arts <strong>and</strong> crafts, outdoor activities <strong>and</strong><br />

great food.<br />

As a nonpr<strong>of</strong>it organization committed to<br />

never sending a bill to its families, Heart <strong>of</strong><br />

Georgia depends heavily on <strong>and</strong> is very thankful<br />

for its volunteers as well as monetary <strong>and</strong> item<br />

donations, which staff <strong>and</strong> fund day-to-day missions.<br />

Item donations produce income via two<br />

thrift stores owned <strong>and</strong> operated by <strong>the</strong> organization.<br />

Touted by <strong>the</strong> organization as having <strong>the</strong><br />

lowest thrift prices around, shoppers are invited<br />

to watch <strong>the</strong> Thrift Store Facebook page at<br />

www.facebook.com/hoghospicethriftstore for<br />

daily sales items.<br />

For more information on how to utilize Heart<br />

<strong>of</strong> Georgia Hospice programs, how to become a<br />

volunteer or donate money or goods, visit<br />

www.heart<strong>of</strong>gahospice.org or stop by <strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>fice<br />

at 103 Westridge Drive, <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>. You<br />

may also call 478-953-5161.<br />

.<br />

Above: 2017 Camp Wings’ campers<br />

<strong>and</strong> staff ga<strong>the</strong>r for a group photo<br />

after three days <strong>of</strong> outdoor activities<br />

<strong>and</strong> games such as low-ropes courses,<br />

jumpy houses, hayrides, horseback<br />

riding, pet <strong>the</strong>rapy <strong>and</strong> campfires, just<br />

to name a few!<br />

Below: Heart <strong>of</strong> Georgia has two thrift<br />

stores–one located at 1851 Watson<br />

Boulevard <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r at 311<br />

Highway 49 North in <strong>the</strong> Peach Shops<br />

at Byron. Both generate money that<br />

stays in <strong>the</strong> community <strong>and</strong> benefits<br />

our patients, <strong>the</strong>ir families <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

community. All donations are tax<br />

deductible!<br />

Sharing <strong>the</strong> Heritage ✦ 83




SCHOOL<br />

“Sacred Heart Parish seeks to live its<br />

Catholic tradition <strong>and</strong> to build a community<br />

<strong>of</strong> faith through worship, education, stewardship,<br />

Christian service, <strong>and</strong> evangelization in<br />

order to share God’s love for all people.”<br />

The first Sacred Heart Church was dedicated<br />

in 1945 to serve <strong>the</strong> fifteen families already<br />

residing in this area <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> 200 new Catholic<br />

families who moved here to support <strong>Robins</strong><br />

AFB. Sacred Heart was one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> first churches<br />

to move out <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Base USO <strong>and</strong> build <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

own worship space. Today, Sacred Heart is still<br />

located in downtown <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, worshipping<br />

in our third church <strong>and</strong> has over 1,200 registered<br />

households.<br />

In 1955, in an effort to meet <strong>the</strong> Catholic<br />

needs <strong>of</strong> new military families, Colonel King on<br />

<strong>Robins</strong> AFB <strong>and</strong> Reverend McDonough from<br />

Macon successfully opened <strong>the</strong> doors to Sacred<br />

Heart Catholic School. The first classes were<br />

held in military barracks to an estimated ninety<br />

students. Through <strong>the</strong> dedication <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Presentation Sisters, generous parishioners, <strong>and</strong><br />

school families, Sacred Heart has enjoyed a<br />

steady enrollment for almost seventy years.<br />

Sacred Heart ministers to parishioners <strong>and</strong> to<br />

<strong>the</strong> local community. Since 1984, <strong>the</strong> Christian<br />

Service Center, CSC, has been <strong>the</strong> primary arm<br />

through which Sacred Heart has served our<br />

community neighbors. As a result <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> generous<br />

support <strong>of</strong> Sacred Heart parishioners <strong>and</strong><br />

o<strong>the</strong>r community churches <strong>and</strong> organizations,<br />

<strong>the</strong> CSC is able to assist those in need. In Fiscal<br />

Year 2017, <strong>the</strong> CSC provided over 2,800 families<br />

critical support <strong>of</strong> food, clothing <strong>and</strong> emergency<br />

financial assistance. The<br />

impact <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> CSC is <strong>the</strong> creation <strong>of</strong> a<br />

contagious spirit <strong>of</strong> giving, which<br />

was illustrated when an anonymous<br />

donation was made from a former<br />

CSC client for $200 to help o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

families in need.<br />

Sacred Heart is a Parish where all<br />

are welcomed. Being located in<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, <strong>the</strong> International<br />

City, Sacred Heart has always<br />

embraced diversity <strong>and</strong> built a<br />

Christian community that is blessed<br />

<strong>and</strong> enhanced by many cultural<br />

influences. Sacred Heart has a number<br />

<strong>of</strong> ministries that celebrate our<br />

diversity such as <strong>the</strong> Black Catholic<br />

Ministry <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Korean Prayer<br />

Group. As <strong>the</strong> number <strong>of</strong> Hispanics<br />

increased in Houston County, Sacred<br />

Heart took steps back in <strong>the</strong> 1980s to<br />

support <strong>the</strong>ir spiritual needs. The<br />

Hispanic ministry has grown from<br />

humble beginnings <strong>of</strong> twenty to thirty<br />

faithful occasionally celebrating<br />


Mass in Spanish to now 450 to 500 parishioners<br />

celebrating <strong>the</strong> Mass in Spanish weekly.<br />

Quarterly Vietnamese Masses are <strong>of</strong>fered at<br />

Sacred Heart. Our church community worships<br />

toge<strong>the</strong>r in love <strong>and</strong> respect.<br />

Sacred Heart continues to show its commitment<br />

to <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> through an investment<br />

<strong>of</strong> over $18 million dollars in new facilities over<br />

<strong>the</strong> last fifteen years in <strong>the</strong> Commercial Circle<br />

area. On March 3, 2007, <strong>the</strong> church dedicated<br />

its present sanctuary. Because <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> generosity<br />

<strong>of</strong> Sacred Heart parishioners, <strong>the</strong> mortgage was<br />

burned May 2014. As members <strong>of</strong> Sacred Heart,<br />

we enjoy <strong>the</strong> faithfulness <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> parish every<br />

time we use <strong>the</strong> facilities to pray, worship <strong>and</strong><br />

serve as a community.<br />

In November 2015, <strong>the</strong> Parish broke ground<br />

for a new school, social hall <strong>and</strong> parish <strong>of</strong>fice<br />

<strong>and</strong> in January 2017, all school <strong>and</strong> church<br />

operations moved into <strong>the</strong> new state-<strong>of</strong>-<strong>the</strong>-art<br />

facilities. This unification <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> school <strong>and</strong><br />

parish promises to preserve <strong>the</strong> original mission<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Presentation Sisters who supported <strong>the</strong><br />

school from 1956-2003. That mission, as given<br />

to <strong>the</strong>m by <strong>the</strong>ir foundress, Nano Nagle, is “to<br />

teach, to touch <strong>the</strong> future <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> future <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Church in a very special way.”<br />

With <strong>the</strong> recent updated <strong>and</strong> exp<strong>and</strong>ed<br />

facilities, Sacred Heart is ready to serve <strong>the</strong><br />

spiritual <strong>and</strong> educational needs <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> community for years to come. We<br />

welcome <strong>the</strong> community to tour our beautiful<br />

church <strong>and</strong> educational facilities, send <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

children to school at Sacred Heart, <strong>and</strong> worship<br />

with us. For more information, call <strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>fice<br />

at 478-923-0124.<br />

Sharing <strong>the</strong> Heritage ✦ 85



In 1986, contractor Bill Schwanebeck was<br />

building homes in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>and</strong> purchasing<br />

lights from Burgess Carpet <strong>and</strong> Lighting<br />

Company. However, when<br />

that company was sold <strong>and</strong><br />

moved to ano<strong>the</strong>r location, he<br />

saw a need in <strong>the</strong> community<br />

for a new lighting store.<br />

Starting his own lighting<br />

store allowed him to continue<br />

building custom houses <strong>and</strong><br />

recommending <strong>and</strong> supplying<br />

<strong>the</strong> lighting needs for customers’<br />

new homes. He saw it<br />

as a great opportunity <strong>and</strong><br />

immediately went to work.<br />

He, <strong>and</strong> Annelle Ray, <strong>the</strong><br />

lighting specialist at Burgess,<br />

began combining ideas to<br />

start a new residential lighting<br />

store <strong>and</strong> started Sou<strong>the</strong>rn<br />

Interiors & Lighting, opening<br />

in May 1987.<br />

While <strong>the</strong> new company<br />

basically began on a shoestring<br />

as many do, <strong>the</strong>re were<br />

no computers to better track pr<strong>of</strong>it-<strong>and</strong>-loss,<br />

inventory, etc. According to Bill’s wife, Gale,<br />

“Everything was h<strong>and</strong>written. Then, little by little,<br />

as <strong>the</strong> technology era arrived, <strong>the</strong>y invested<br />

in computers <strong>and</strong> have replaced <strong>the</strong>m as <strong>the</strong><br />

need changed. Our computer program has been<br />

customized to our needs; <strong>and</strong>, all items are<br />

scanned when received; <strong>and</strong> again, before <strong>the</strong>y<br />

are sold. We purchased a forklift years ago that<br />

relieved us <strong>of</strong> manually loading <strong>and</strong> unloading<br />

<strong>the</strong> products we sell.”<br />


When <strong>the</strong> store first opened, Sou<strong>the</strong>rn<br />

Lighting sold light fixtures, furniture, <strong>and</strong><br />

framed pictures <strong>and</strong> mirrors. Today, it specializes<br />

only in lighting fixtures <strong>and</strong> accessories for <strong>the</strong><br />

home. “When we opened, <strong>the</strong>re was no delivery<br />

van–builders were responsible to come by <strong>the</strong><br />

store <strong>and</strong> pick up <strong>the</strong> light fixtures <strong>the</strong>y had purchased.<br />

When <strong>the</strong> builders or electricians could<br />

not make it to <strong>the</strong> store, Bill’s pick-up truck was<br />

used for deliveries. The store now has two delivery<br />

vans <strong>and</strong> delivers complete house orders <strong>of</strong><br />

light up to a fifty to sixty-mile radius,” she adds.<br />

As <strong>the</strong> business grew, so did Sou<strong>the</strong>rn<br />

Lighting. During <strong>the</strong> past thirty years, since <strong>the</strong><br />

company’s birth, it has exp<strong>and</strong>ed its showroom<br />

three times, <strong>and</strong> added a new warehouse for<br />

storage <strong>of</strong> all <strong>the</strong> lights <strong>and</strong> fans. For many<br />

years, it has furnished <strong>the</strong> lighting products to<br />

St. Jude Homes being built in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>.<br />

The company is also a member <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

<strong>Region</strong>al Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce, <strong>the</strong> Perry<br />

Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Home Builders<br />

Association <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>. Sou<strong>the</strong>rn<br />

Lighting also believes in giving back to <strong>the</strong> community<br />

that supports <strong>the</strong>m. For a number <strong>of</strong><br />

years, it has held a Christmas luncheon feeding<br />

up to 300 people including builders <strong>and</strong> o<strong>the</strong>rs<br />

in <strong>the</strong> building industry. Each year in January, it<br />

sends its lighting specialists to Dallas, Texas to<br />

attend <strong>the</strong> Lighting Show where all <strong>the</strong> new fixtures<br />

<strong>and</strong> fans are displayed.<br />

When Sou<strong>the</strong>rn Lighting first opened, it had<br />

three employees, which grew to eleven before<br />

<strong>the</strong> downturn in <strong>the</strong> late 2008.<br />

Today, <strong>the</strong>re are 6 employees, with<br />

4 in sales <strong>and</strong> 2 in <strong>the</strong> warehouse,<br />

receiving <strong>and</strong> delivering light fixtures.<br />

One employee has been with<br />

<strong>the</strong> company for 30 years, one for<br />

23 years, <strong>and</strong> ano<strong>the</strong>r for 15.<br />

Owners Gale <strong>and</strong> Bill believe it is<br />

vital to give something back to <strong>the</strong><br />

community that has been so supportive<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir business through<br />

<strong>the</strong> years. The owners are proud <strong>of</strong><br />

its philanthropy efforts by giving<br />

back. They contribute to Habitat for<br />

Humanity at Christmastime, <strong>and</strong><br />

support <strong>the</strong> efforts <strong>of</strong> Genesis<br />

Houses for qualifying individuals.<br />

Gale says “Sou<strong>the</strong>rn Lighting showroom<br />

has <strong>the</strong> largest selection <strong>of</strong> lighting fixtures<br />

in Middle Georgia.”<br />

Of course, word-<strong>of</strong>-mouth is <strong>the</strong> best marketing<br />

tool for any business; but, Sou<strong>the</strong>rn Lighting<br />

backs up <strong>the</strong>ir efforts with newspaper, magazines<br />

<strong>and</strong> television advertising. Customers have<br />

come to rely on Sou<strong>the</strong>rn Lighting, <strong>of</strong>ten coming<br />

back to upgrade <strong>the</strong>ir lighting <strong>and</strong> homes.<br />

“We are optimistic about our future <strong>and</strong> feel<br />

that <strong>the</strong> customer service we <strong>of</strong>fer, combined<br />

with our reputation in <strong>the</strong> community, have positioned<br />

us well for <strong>the</strong> future,” Gale <strong>and</strong> Bill agree.<br />

Sou<strong>the</strong>rn Lighting has been at <strong>the</strong> same location<br />

for thirty-plus years at 2508 Moody Road in<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>and</strong> on <strong>the</strong> Internet at<br />

www.sou<strong>the</strong>rnlightingga.com.<br />

Sharing <strong>the</strong> Heritage ✦ 87



“Home is where <strong>the</strong> heart is” <strong>and</strong> that is<br />

exactly where Wellston Decorating began its 32<br />

year-old story: in a home. Wellston Decorating,<br />

named for Wellston Depot, was <strong>the</strong> brainchild<br />

<strong>of</strong> Billie Carriker <strong>and</strong> Don Brooks. In 1986,<br />

Billie <strong>and</strong> Don started <strong>the</strong>ir home decorating<br />

business in Billie’s home on Becky Drive. Each<br />

room in <strong>the</strong> Carriker home served as an area<br />

for <strong>the</strong> business: bookkeeping in <strong>the</strong> living<br />

room, <strong>the</strong> dining room served as <strong>the</strong> display<br />

area, wall paper was checked in <strong>and</strong> stored<br />

in <strong>the</strong> breakfast room <strong>and</strong> laundry. Don served<br />

as <strong>the</strong> manager, Trent Carriker served as<br />

assistant manager, Billie served as interior<br />

designer, Ann Brooks served as bookkeeper <strong>and</strong><br />

Ken Brooks <strong>and</strong> Russ Carriker served as stock<br />

boys. Even <strong>the</strong>n, family was at <strong>the</strong> heart <strong>of</strong><br />

Wellston Decorating.<br />

Later that same year, <strong>the</strong> business relocated<br />

on Memorial Day to a building at 2510 Moody<br />

Road. During this time, Wellston specialized in<br />

Devoe Paint, Shaw Carpet, Sunwall Wallpaper<br />

<strong>and</strong> Delmar Mini-blinds. New employees, Keith<br />

Gibbs (paints) <strong>and</strong> Betty Farnan (designer)<br />

joined <strong>the</strong> family business soon after <strong>the</strong><br />

business relocated. The business soon exp<strong>and</strong>ed<br />

<strong>and</strong> after 7 years, <strong>the</strong> business relocated to <strong>the</strong><br />

old Ace Hardware building on Moody Road<br />

where <strong>the</strong> business st<strong>and</strong>s today. Billie’s parents<br />

(Mop <strong>and</strong> Pop) traveled from North Carolina to<br />

help remodel <strong>the</strong> building.<br />

At this time Debra Butler joined <strong>the</strong> family as<br />

an interior designer <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> following<br />

companies’ products soon made an appearance<br />

in <strong>the</strong> store: Mohawk <strong>and</strong> engineered floors<br />

such as Armstrong, Mannington <strong>and</strong> Tarkett.<br />

Soon <strong>the</strong> floor styles changed to ceramic<br />

floors <strong>and</strong> Shaw, Daltile <strong>and</strong> Enser products<br />

were added to <strong>the</strong> growing inventory. At<br />

one point, Wellston sold over two hundred<br />

patterns <strong>of</strong> wallpaper but customers’ tastes soon<br />

changed <strong>and</strong> Wellston discontinued selling<br />

wallpaper. Painted walls are <strong>the</strong> trend today <strong>and</strong><br />

Wellston sells hundreds <strong>of</strong> paint colors to suit<br />

everyone’s tastes.<br />

Today Wellston employs two full-time<br />

decorators: Tara Gilpin <strong>and</strong> Megan Crosier.<br />

Debra Butler, who has been with <strong>the</strong> business for<br />


twenty-five years, now specializes in window<br />

treatments. Bookkeepers through <strong>the</strong> years have<br />

included Sharyn Mays, Ellie Smith, Gina Wall<br />

<strong>and</strong> Penny Hales is <strong>the</strong> present bookkeeper.<br />

Mark Hales is <strong>the</strong> head <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> warehouse.<br />

Through <strong>the</strong> years Wellston served as a<br />

ga<strong>the</strong>ring place in <strong>the</strong> morning for painters<br />

<strong>and</strong> contractors before <strong>the</strong>y headed to work<br />

for <strong>the</strong> day. If you happened to stop by in<br />

<strong>the</strong> morning, you could join painters <strong>and</strong><br />

contractors for a quick cup <strong>of</strong> c<strong>of</strong>fee <strong>and</strong><br />

catch up on <strong>the</strong> business <strong>of</strong> building <strong>and</strong><br />

decorating homes <strong>and</strong> businesses. Many times<br />

soup lunches <strong>and</strong> fish frys were held at <strong>the</strong> store<br />

<strong>and</strong> painters <strong>and</strong> contractors would come back<br />

for lunch!<br />

In 2008, with <strong>the</strong> economic uncertainties,<br />

Wellston Decorating experienced its challenges.<br />

The dream Billie <strong>and</strong> Don envisioned struggled<br />

to continue but with determination, faith, <strong>and</strong><br />

courage, <strong>the</strong> business persevered <strong>and</strong> is thriving<br />

today. In 2013, Don <strong>and</strong> Ann Brooks retired <strong>and</strong><br />

Billie <strong>and</strong> Trent bought Wellston Decorating.<br />

Today Trent Carriker is manager <strong>and</strong> Kenneth<br />

Brooks serves as assistant manager. Billie drops<br />

by on a regular basis to help out as needed<br />

<strong>and</strong> visit with customers. Over <strong>the</strong> past thirty<br />

years, Wellston has strived to live up to its<br />

motto, “Home <strong>of</strong> Service”. Top-notch service<br />

<strong>and</strong> quality products are still <strong>the</strong> hallmarks <strong>of</strong><br />

Wellston Decorating.<br />

Sharing <strong>the</strong> Heritage ✦ 89



172<br />

American Legion Post 172 began November<br />

19, 1943 when a group <strong>of</strong> veterans residing in<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> began <strong>the</strong> process <strong>of</strong> obtaining a<br />

charter from <strong>the</strong> Legion’s national headquarters<br />

in Indianapolis, Indiana. While awaiting word<br />

from Indianapolis, <strong>the</strong> original organizers elected<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir first Executive Board on January 24,<br />

1944, <strong>and</strong> named <strong>the</strong> infant Post after Arthur<br />

Leonard Johnson Jr., <strong>the</strong> first <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

man to lose his life during World War II.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> years between 1944 <strong>and</strong> 1945, <strong>the</strong><br />

new Post made itself a part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> fabric <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> by undertaking a combined<br />

effort–along with <strong>the</strong> town <strong>and</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Air<br />

Field–to provide programs designed to help prevent<br />

“juvenile delinquency” in <strong>the</strong> children <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> whose parents <strong>and</strong> guardians<br />

were working fulltime as part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> war efforts.<br />

To that end, <strong>the</strong>y created <strong>and</strong> formed clubs <strong>and</strong><br />

athletic organizations for <strong>the</strong> town’s teens to<br />

enjoy when not in school. At least one <strong>of</strong> those<br />

organizations still exists. Boy Scout Troop 120,<br />

<strong>the</strong> Post’s first sponsored Scout Troop <strong>and</strong> Cub<br />

Scout Pack, which post members <strong>of</strong>ficially<br />

founded on February 23, 1944, is today <strong>the</strong> oldest<br />

Boy Scout troop in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>.<br />

After <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> World War II in 1945<br />

through <strong>the</strong> onset <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Korean War in 1950,<br />

Post 172 undertook several actions in support<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> community, its veterans, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir families.<br />

They drove voters to <strong>the</strong> polls for various<br />

local, state <strong>and</strong> national elections; continued to<br />

support scouting; <strong>and</strong> bestowed Legion awards<br />

upon deserving <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>and</strong> Bonaire students.<br />

Christmas gift distributions to patients at<br />

<strong>Robins</strong> Field Hospital as well as to <strong>the</strong> children<br />

<strong>of</strong> low income families were performed annually<br />

during this time.<br />

O<strong>the</strong>r activities <strong>and</strong> programs were also<br />

established as <strong>the</strong> Post continued to support <strong>the</strong><br />

citizens, especially <strong>the</strong> youth, <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong>–from organization <strong>of</strong> an American<br />

Legion junior baseball team in 1946 to teaming<br />

up with local elementary schools’ PTAs to secure<br />

a hot lunch program for students. Academic <strong>and</strong><br />

athletic awards <strong>and</strong> scholarships also became a<br />

part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> growing list <strong>of</strong> efforts by <strong>the</strong> Post <strong>and</strong><br />

included active participation in <strong>the</strong> American<br />

Legions Boys State program in early 1948.<br />

Coordinating with <strong>the</strong> Lions Club, Post 172<br />

co-sponsored <strong>the</strong> “School Boy Patrol” by donating<br />

helmets, raincoats, belts, <strong>and</strong> whistles. Until <strong>the</strong><br />

program ended in 1958, boys were sent to School<br />

Boy Patrol Camp to help insure <strong>the</strong> safety <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> students. Aid in voter registrations,<br />

Armistice <strong>and</strong> Memorial Day services, <strong>and</strong><br />

support <strong>of</strong> veteran affairs on <strong>the</strong> state <strong>and</strong> national<br />

levels, as well as aid to needy children <strong>and</strong> families,<br />

were also supplied by <strong>the</strong> Post.<br />

When a violent tornado ripped through<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> on April 30, 1953 claiming <strong>the</strong><br />

lives <strong>of</strong> nineteen <strong>and</strong> injuring hundreds, <strong>the</strong><br />

Post home was severely damaged along with<br />

many o<strong>the</strong>r structures in <strong>the</strong> storm’s 300-yardwide,<br />

two-mile-long path. Many Post 172 members<br />

donned <strong>the</strong>ir Legion caps <strong>and</strong> joined with<br />

local police to rescue <strong>and</strong> aid tornado victims<br />

until <strong>the</strong> National Guard <strong>and</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r state <strong>and</strong><br />

county agencies arrived to help.<br />

The American Legion Department <strong>of</strong> Georgia<br />

also requested that all Legion Posts in <strong>the</strong> area<br />

provide support to recovery efforts for victims <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> tornado as well. Though a victim itself, Post<br />

172 threw its full support into <strong>the</strong> task before<br />

tending to its own rebuilding efforts. The Post<br />

provided financial aid <strong>and</strong> also collected <strong>and</strong><br />

distributed food, clothing, cooking equipment<br />

<strong>and</strong> utensils through its Ladies Auxiliary whose<br />

members manned various distribution points<br />

throughout <strong>the</strong> city.<br />

Between 1954 <strong>and</strong> 1961, Post 172 maintained<br />

its efforts as a member <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong>’ community, while initiating new programs<br />

<strong>and</strong> filling new needs. Increased aid to <strong>the</strong><br />


Dublin VA Hospital was seen, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Post 172<br />

Honor Guard was formed in 1954 to assist <strong>the</strong><br />

Air Force base in meeting <strong>the</strong> burgeoning need<br />

for firing squads for funerals <strong>and</strong> ceremonies.<br />

In addition to <strong>the</strong> established Legion awards<br />

<strong>and</strong> scholarships for local athletic <strong>and</strong> educational<br />

communities, <strong>the</strong> Post also participated in<br />

a special polio drive in 1954, <strong>and</strong> worked with<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r civic organizations in support <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

March <strong>of</strong> Dimes, <strong>the</strong> Community Chest, Red<br />

Cross, cerebral palsy efforts as well as to dozens<br />

<strong>of</strong> local families in need.<br />

In 1958 <strong>and</strong> 1959, Post 172 coordinated with<br />

local radio station WRPB by broadcasting weekly,<br />

half-hour shows, which responded to phone-in<br />

questions concerning local veterans <strong>and</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

services <strong>of</strong> interest to veterans <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> local community.<br />

A follow-up show was aired in March <strong>of</strong><br />

1959 recognizing <strong>the</strong> Legion’s fortieth birthday.<br />

With <strong>the</strong> growth <strong>of</strong> both <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>and</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base in <strong>the</strong> 1960s, Post 172<br />

also grew <strong>and</strong> has continued to support both <strong>the</strong><br />

city <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> base throughout <strong>the</strong> years. A new<br />

<strong>and</strong> larger facility was built in 1994, allowing<br />

<strong>the</strong> Post to meet <strong>the</strong> growing needs <strong>and</strong> activities<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> community. The Post also added to its<br />

veteran family, giving rise to <strong>the</strong> Ladies<br />

Auxiliary, Unit 172, <strong>the</strong> Sons <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> American<br />

Legion, Squadron 172, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Legion Riders.<br />

In addition to <strong>the</strong> support <strong>of</strong> local veterans,<br />

Post activities today also includes support <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Dublin VA Hospital <strong>and</strong> a Veteran’s Home in<br />

Macon. An active Post Honor Guard still provides<br />

military honors for funerals <strong>of</strong> veterans when<br />

requested, flag ceremonies that include <strong>the</strong> raising,<br />

retiring <strong>and</strong> proper disposal <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> American<br />

flag, <strong>and</strong> military honors <strong>and</strong> recognition performances<br />

at Memorial Day <strong>and</strong> Veteran’s Day<br />

ceremonies sponsored by <strong>the</strong> city. Each Memorial<br />

Day, <strong>the</strong> Post pays homage by placing 1,500 flags<br />

on <strong>the</strong> graves <strong>of</strong> local veterans recognizing <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

contributions to our nation, state <strong>and</strong> city.<br />

Veterans, both retired <strong>and</strong> active duty, also<br />

receive recognition annually. In addition to providing<br />

complimentary meals four times per year<br />

to local veterans, <strong>the</strong> Post also blesses active<br />

duty Air Force personnel with gift certificates<br />

<strong>and</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r support as deemed appropriate during<br />

<strong>the</strong> Thanksgiving <strong>and</strong> Christmas seasons.<br />

The Ladies Auxiliary assists <strong>the</strong> Post <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

community by collecting items needed by veterans<br />

at <strong>the</strong> Dublin VA Hospital <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>n visits <strong>the</strong><br />

hospital <strong>and</strong> it patients to distribute <strong>the</strong> items.<br />

Support <strong>of</strong> a wide variety <strong>of</strong> Posts activities also<br />

characterizes <strong>the</strong> Auxiliary’s mission for <strong>the</strong><br />

community as a whole.<br />

The Sons <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> American Legion is ano<strong>the</strong>r<br />

integral part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> greater Post 172 family.<br />

Members regularly assist <strong>and</strong> participate in all<br />

Legion activities, especially fundraising <strong>and</strong> participation<br />

in <strong>the</strong> Honor Guard <strong>and</strong> American<br />

Legion National Programs.<br />

The American Legion Riders are <strong>the</strong> latest addition<br />

to <strong>the</strong> Post 172 family <strong>and</strong> provide a visible<br />

<strong>and</strong> honorable service to <strong>the</strong> Post’s growing range <strong>of</strong><br />

veteran activities <strong>and</strong> ceremonies. They frequently<br />

join in motorcycle events–along with o<strong>the</strong>r veteran<br />

rider’s groups such as Patriot Guards–to not only<br />

escort fallen military members, but also ride hundreds<br />

<strong>of</strong> miles each year to support <strong>and</strong> protect <strong>the</strong><br />

families <strong>of</strong> our fallen heroes.<br />

American Legion Post 172 welcomes all eligible<br />

veterans, retired military personnel,<br />

National Guard <strong>and</strong> reserve personnel as well as<br />

current active duty members to become members<br />

<strong>of</strong> its family. The Post is located at 1345<br />

Radio Loop Road in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, Georgia<br />

31088. The mailing address is P.O. Box 484,<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, Georgia 31099 <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> phone<br />

number is 478-923-9238. You may contact <strong>the</strong><br />

Post online by emailing alpost172@gmail.com<br />

or visiting www.alpost172ga.org.<br />

Written by Skip Schwanfelder <strong>and</strong><br />

Dave Winward<br />

Post 172<br />

May 21, 2018<br />

Sharing <strong>the</strong> Heritage ✦ 91



The original <strong>of</strong>fices <strong>of</strong> Family Dental<br />

Associates in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>.<br />

Family Dental Associates is more than words<br />

emblazoned on <strong>the</strong> sign at 328 Margie Drive in<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>. It is <strong>the</strong> epitome <strong>of</strong> this<br />

sixty-five-year-old dental practice where family<br />

treats family.<br />

“We strive to treat all <strong>of</strong> our patients like<br />

family,” says Dr. J. Alex Bell, Jr., <strong>the</strong> second <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> now three-generation dental practice.<br />

“Treating o<strong>the</strong>rs <strong>the</strong> way we want to be treated<br />

drives everything we do <strong>and</strong> has since my<br />

fa<strong>the</strong>r founded <strong>the</strong> practice in 1954.”<br />

Fresh out <strong>of</strong> Emory University’s School <strong>of</strong><br />

Dentistry, Jack Alex Bell, Sr. was just <strong>the</strong> third<br />

dentist to hang out his shingle in <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong>. A native <strong>of</strong> Mariana, Florida, <strong>and</strong> a<br />

former flight engineer who served in <strong>the</strong> U.S.<br />

Navy during World War II, he moved here with<br />

his wife, Lala Maxine. They both became<br />

involved in <strong>the</strong> community, while he became a<br />

student <strong>of</strong> its history as well.<br />

“Dad loved this community <strong>and</strong> was<br />

fascinated with how quickly it grew,” Bell, Jr.<br />

said, adding that his fa<strong>the</strong>r enjoyed doing<br />

research, interviewing people <strong>and</strong> collecting<br />

photographs <strong>and</strong> historic documents on <strong>the</strong><br />

area. “He loved giving presentations to local<br />

clubs <strong>and</strong> organizations <strong>and</strong> was pleased to<br />

donate much <strong>of</strong> his collection to <strong>the</strong> city for its<br />

archives.”<br />

But, Bell, Sr. was more than a respected<br />

dentist <strong>and</strong> local history buff. He was also an<br />

active community leader <strong>and</strong>, as such, became<br />

a part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> very history he eagerly studied.His<br />

own annals include being a lifetime member <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Noon Optimist Club, a <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

Civitan Club “Citizen <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Year,” <strong>and</strong><br />

president <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> local chamber when its first<br />

<strong>of</strong>fice building was constructed. He was a<br />

member <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> boards <strong>of</strong> Houston County’s first<br />

technical school <strong>and</strong> United Givers Fund, <strong>and</strong><br />

was president <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

Touchdown Club. He served as <strong>the</strong> Exalted<br />

Ruler <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> local Elks Lodge <strong>and</strong> oversaw <strong>the</strong><br />

construction <strong>of</strong> its first lodge, <strong>and</strong> was a<br />

member <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Tyrian Lodge No. 111 Free <strong>and</strong><br />

Accepted Masons. He was also active in <strong>the</strong><br />

Houston County Carving Club <strong>and</strong> First United<br />

Methodist Church <strong>and</strong> was an accomplished<br />

aerobatic pilot coached by Georgia Aviation<br />

Hall <strong>of</strong> Famer Gordon Bella.<br />

Although he retired in 1985, he remained<br />

independent <strong>and</strong> active well into his nineties,<br />

continuing to serve <strong>the</strong> community by<br />

volunteering at <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Methodist<br />

Food Pantry. He found much joy in giving<br />

h<strong>and</strong>made wooden cars <strong>and</strong> bible verses to<br />

hundreds <strong>of</strong> children who visited <strong>the</strong> pantry. He<br />

passed away in 2015.<br />


Though his fa<strong>the</strong>r never pressured him, Dr.<br />

J. Alex Bell, Jr., says he always knew growing<br />

up that he would follow in his dad’s footsteps.<br />

And, following his graduation from <strong>the</strong> Medical<br />

College <strong>of</strong> Georgia’s School <strong>of</strong> Dentistry in<br />

1982, that’s exactly what he did.<br />

“I saw how much dad always enjoyed being<br />

a dentist—it’s a pr<strong>of</strong>ession in which you get to<br />

help people <strong>and</strong> work with your h<strong>and</strong>s; it’s<br />

medicine, engineering, science, art, creativity<br />

<strong>and</strong> technicality, all rolled into one,” he said.<br />

“But, <strong>the</strong> people are by far <strong>the</strong> best. I’m always<br />

happy getting to know patients <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

families <strong>and</strong> am honored to serve <strong>the</strong>m.”<br />

In addition to a passion for dentistry,<br />

people <strong>and</strong> family, Bell, Jr. also inherited his<br />

dad’s love for aviation <strong>and</strong> actually soloed his<br />

first plane when he was just fifteen years old.<br />

He recently added “helicopter pilot” to his<br />

aviation resume; pro<strong>of</strong>, he says, that you can<br />

“teach an old dog new tricks!”<br />

And, like his fa<strong>the</strong>r, Bell, Jr., also has a son<br />

who followed in his footsteps.<br />

Dr. Jack Alex Bell, III, joined Family Dental<br />

Associates in 2013, after graduating from <strong>the</strong><br />

Medical College <strong>of</strong> Georgia’s School <strong>of</strong> Dentistry<br />

<strong>and</strong> completing a one-year residency. Also a parttime<br />

faculty member at Georgia Regents<br />

University’s College <strong>of</strong> Dental Medicine, he<br />

specializes in dental surgery, dental implant<br />

placement, IV conscious sedation, advanced<br />

dental pros<strong>the</strong>tics, treatment management in<br />

medically compromised patients. He also<br />

introduced Family Dental Associates to 3D<br />

dentistry as well as <strong>the</strong> Solea Dental Laser—a<br />

s<strong>of</strong>t <strong>and</strong> osseous tissue laser which allows a<br />

virtually noiseless <strong>and</strong> anes<strong>the</strong>sia-free experience<br />

for <strong>the</strong> vast majority <strong>of</strong> dental procedures.<br />

“Along with our o<strong>the</strong>r talented dentists—<br />

Doctors Ken Colson <strong>and</strong> Br<strong>and</strong>on Burleigh—<br />

Jack has brought some remarkable skills, new<br />

services <strong>and</strong> techniques to our practice,” said<br />

Bell, Jr. “It is incredible <strong>the</strong> doors that new<br />

technology has opened. We can now use a 3D<br />

digital scanner to take an impression <strong>and</strong> use<br />

that to customize crowns, dentures, partials<br />

<strong>and</strong> implants right here in our in-house lab.”<br />

Speaking <strong>of</strong> in-house labs, Family Dental<br />

Associates’ Excel Dental Lab is one <strong>of</strong> only 330<br />

accredited labs in <strong>the</strong> United States.<br />

Additionally, <strong>the</strong> practice is one <strong>of</strong> only three in<br />

Georgia utilizing Solea Laser technology.<br />

“We definitely have some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most<br />

advanced hardware available in dentistry today,<br />

but our most precious <strong>and</strong> valuable asset is <strong>and</strong><br />

always will be our s<strong>of</strong>tware—our people,” said<br />

Bell, Jr., “They—<strong>and</strong> our wonderful patients—<br />

are <strong>the</strong> ones that make us who we are.”<br />

For more information on Family Dental<br />

Associates, please visit www.dralexbell.com.<br />

Three generations <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Bell family<br />

have guided Family Dental Associates<br />

for <strong>the</strong> last sixty-five years (from left<br />

to right): Dr. Jack Alex Bell, Sr., Dr.<br />

Jack Alex Bell, III, <strong>and</strong> Dr. J. Alex<br />

Bell, Jr.<br />

Sharing <strong>the</strong> Heritage ✦ 93




Georgia Military College opened at <strong>Robins</strong><br />

Air Force Base in 1989. In 2003, <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> Campus was established with Elliott Hall<br />

<strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>n exp<strong>and</strong>ed in 2005. Boylan Hall opened<br />

in 2011, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> students keep coming.<br />

During <strong>the</strong> early years on <strong>Robins</strong> AFB, under<br />

<strong>the</strong> leadership <strong>of</strong> Director COL John Elliott, GMC<br />

only <strong>of</strong>fered classes for a few dozen active duty<br />

military <strong>and</strong> civil service employees. As course<br />

<strong>and</strong> degree <strong>of</strong>ferings exp<strong>and</strong>ed, students<br />

responded; by <strong>the</strong> early 2000s, GMC needed a<br />

building to call its own. Today, GMC’s <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> Campus is located <strong>of</strong>f <strong>of</strong> North Davis Drive<br />

at 801 Duke Avenue. The campus has nearly<br />

fourteen hundred students <strong>and</strong> boasts one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

largest dual enrollment programs in <strong>the</strong> state.<br />

GMC-WR continues to <strong>of</strong>fer convenient schedules<br />

for traditional <strong>and</strong> non-traditional students with<br />

day, evening, weekend <strong>and</strong> online classes. Class<br />

sizes remain small for better instruction <strong>and</strong><br />

tuition still includes <strong>the</strong> use <strong>of</strong> textbooks.<br />

On campus, Boylan Hall serves as a starting<br />

point for new students with Admissions,<br />

Financial Aid, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Bookstore. Elliott Hall,<br />

primarily an academic building, includes <strong>the</strong><br />

Advising <strong>and</strong> Testing Center, Registrar, Library,<br />

tutoring, classrooms <strong>and</strong> labs. GMC still <strong>of</strong>fers<br />

services <strong>and</strong> classes on <strong>Robins</strong> AFB.<br />


“When I started looking for a college, I<br />

wanted something that would be affordable<br />

<strong>and</strong> close to home, <strong>and</strong> my best friend<br />

recommended GMC. When I started<br />

GMC, I was really excited about <strong>the</strong> small<br />

class size, <strong>and</strong> how you could really<br />

develop a relationship with your<br />

instructors, <strong>and</strong> I didn’t miss out on <strong>the</strong><br />

college experience. I was able to be as<br />

involved as I wanted to be. “<br />

- Alex<strong>and</strong>ria Sampson, GMC graduate<br />

<strong>and</strong> registered nurse:<br />

“I didn’t know what to expect when I<br />

first started college. I was in my late forties,<br />

<strong>and</strong> I had not been to school in a long time.<br />

I was anxious about starting <strong>the</strong> process, but<br />

when I went to <strong>the</strong> school to inquire about<br />

attending at Georgia Military College,<br />

everybody was so nice. Every instructor,<br />

<strong>and</strong> every pr<strong>of</strong>essor I had was underst<strong>and</strong>ing<br />

<strong>and</strong> accommodating <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> non-traditional<br />

student. It was an incredible experience.”<br />

- R<strong>and</strong>y Toms, GMC graduate <strong>and</strong><br />

mayor <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>:<br />

“I found out about Georgia Military College through my old high school. I learned that GMC<br />

was regionally accredited, which means that <strong>the</strong>ir credits would transfer to any institution I<br />

might consider next. Staying local was important <strong>and</strong> helped me build a transfer GPA. This<br />

campus is community based. You meet so many people out in <strong>the</strong> community. We <strong>of</strong>ten work<br />

with community events <strong>and</strong> leaders. When I was in high school, my grades were decent; but<br />

when I came to Georgia Military College, <strong>the</strong> pr<strong>of</strong>essors really worked with me one on one, <strong>and</strong><br />

I felt like a student ra<strong>the</strong>r than a number. It’s just a community based school. At GMC, you feel<br />

like you really matter.”<br />

- Will Cooper, GMC Graduate <strong>and</strong> Georgia College & State University student<br />

Sharing <strong>the</strong> Heritage ✦ 95






Left: Dr. Russell G. Eyman.<br />

Right: Dr. Vinamra Bhasin<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>’ Russell G. Eyman has<br />

thoroughly enjoyed <strong>the</strong> best <strong>of</strong> two pr<strong>of</strong>essional<br />

careers. After graduating from Emory<br />

University’s School <strong>of</strong> Dentistry in 1969, he has<br />

been on <strong>the</strong> fast track in periodontics <strong>and</strong><br />

emerging dental technology including implants.<br />

In addition, he has served as a commissioned<br />

<strong>of</strong>ficer in <strong>the</strong> U.S. Air Force (USAF).<br />

Before he began private practice, he joined <strong>the</strong><br />

Air Force as a captain. Later, as a major in 1976,<br />

he completed his residency in periodontics at<br />

Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center, <strong>and</strong> was<br />

transferred to <strong>Robins</strong> AFB in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>.<br />

With <strong>the</strong> assistance <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce, <strong>the</strong> Houston County<br />

Dental Society, U. S. Senator Sam Nunn, Eyman,<br />

who had risen to <strong>the</strong> rank <strong>of</strong> lieutenant colonel,<br />

received permission to begin treating civilian<br />

patients in Macon, Georgia, in 1978. A year<br />

later, he resigned his regular commission <strong>and</strong><br />

joined <strong>the</strong> USAF Reserve <strong>and</strong> began a fulltime<br />

practice in Macon. The <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>of</strong>fice,<br />

albeit small in size, opened in 1981.<br />

“We were fortunate because we had a good<br />

staff <strong>and</strong> worked well toge<strong>the</strong>r,” he said<br />

reminiscing about <strong>the</strong> early days. He recalls that<br />

hygienists Jill Luzzi (who joined <strong>the</strong> practice in<br />

1978), Jane Toms (1984), Dawn Tilley (1989),<br />

<strong>and</strong> Susan Joiner (1993) worked in less than 900<br />

square-feet <strong>of</strong> space, s<strong>and</strong>wiched between two<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> l<strong>and</strong>marks – Whiting’s Gift Shop<br />

<strong>and</strong> Freeman’s Children’s Shop. Unbelievably, <strong>the</strong><br />

five managed to stay out <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>rs’ way, <strong>and</strong><br />

are still with Central Georgia Periodontics <strong>and</strong><br />

Dental Implants today.<br />

Even in small quarters, <strong>the</strong>re were four<br />

treatment rooms <strong>and</strong> a supply <strong>and</strong> sterilization<br />

room. The waiting room, about 10-by-12 feet, had<br />

a picture window facing Watson Boulevard; <strong>and</strong> a<br />

“shotgun hall” led to o<strong>the</strong>r rooms. The business<br />

<strong>of</strong>fice, for instance, had a built-in counter/desk<br />

facing <strong>the</strong> waiting room <strong>and</strong> one chair. Treatment<br />

rooms were lined on <strong>the</strong> right side <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> hall.<br />

Dr. Eyman laughs as he talks about <strong>the</strong><br />

treatment rooms because <strong>the</strong> dental chairs had<br />

to be in <strong>the</strong> upright position for patients to enter<br />

<strong>and</strong> exit. His <strong>of</strong>fice was <strong>the</strong> top <strong>of</strong> a copy<br />

machine with no desk or chair. When Eyman<br />

<strong>and</strong> his team vacated <strong>the</strong> Watson Blvd location<br />

<strong>the</strong> owner decided to remodel. When <strong>the</strong> ro<strong>of</strong><br />

was removed <strong>the</strong> walls fell. This confirmed <strong>the</strong><br />

teams’ long-held suspicion that “<strong>the</strong> termites<br />

holding h<strong>and</strong>s were holding <strong>the</strong> walls toge<strong>the</strong>r.”<br />

The 1980s brought welcome changes. The<br />

<strong>of</strong>fice grew from a two-day work week to three;<br />

<strong>and</strong> eventually, four. Especially relevant was 1987<br />

when Dr. Eyman became <strong>the</strong> Dental Advisor to<br />

<strong>the</strong> USAF Reserve Surgeon General’s <strong>of</strong>fice <strong>and</strong><br />

promoted to <strong>the</strong> grade <strong>of</strong> colonel. That same year<br />

dental implants were introduced into Eyman’s<br />

practice (<strong>the</strong> technology was not widely used at<br />

that time). Because <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> lack <strong>of</strong> educational<br />


opportunities into implant procedures in <strong>the</strong><br />

early days, Eyman’s team organized, promoted,<br />

<strong>and</strong> sponsored an annual dental implant seminar<br />

for area dentists <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir staffs.<br />

In 1989, Central Georgia Periodontics <strong>and</strong><br />

Dental Implants moved into its current <strong>of</strong>fice on<br />

Carl Vinson Highway; <strong>and</strong> as <strong>the</strong> millennium<br />

approached, it grew <strong>and</strong> matured. It underwent<br />

extensive remodeling in 2002. Central Georgia<br />

Periodontics became one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> busiest <strong>and</strong> most<br />

respected periodontal <strong>and</strong> implant practices in <strong>the</strong><br />

state. Dr. Eyman attributes <strong>the</strong> success <strong>and</strong> growth<br />

to <strong>the</strong> team <strong>of</strong> hygienists who contributed so<br />

much from <strong>the</strong> early days, on. “They’re all good,<br />

loyal, dedicated <strong>and</strong> knowledgeable about <strong>the</strong><br />

now-accepted technology <strong>of</strong> implants,” he adds.<br />

In 2007, <strong>the</strong> practice experienced a truly<br />

transformational event when Dr. Vinamra<br />

Bhasin, B.D.S., D.M.D., M.H.S. joined <strong>the</strong><br />

practice. As Dr. Eyman has wryly observed, “He<br />

soaked up everything I could teach him in three<br />

years <strong>and</strong> took <strong>of</strong>f from <strong>the</strong>re. He is truly one <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> most gifted surgeons I’ve seen with fifty<br />

years’ experience in military <strong>and</strong> civilian settings.<br />

That says a lot.”<br />

In 2010, a major modification <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> building<br />

doubled <strong>of</strong>fice space <strong>and</strong> completely changed <strong>the</strong><br />

look <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> building. New members joined <strong>the</strong><br />

team, including Anita Kimberly, Marsha Hall <strong>and</strong><br />

April Wimberly in reception; Loretta Pitts,<br />

surgical assistant; Debbie Harkins, S<strong>and</strong>ra Giles,<br />

<strong>and</strong> Kelli McCard, hygienists; <strong>and</strong> Kathryn<br />

Sremaniak, hygienist/surgical assistant; <strong>and</strong> Nikki<br />

Wilke, assistant.<br />

Dr. Bhasin continually imports new<br />

technology; <strong>and</strong> he <strong>and</strong> Dr. Eyman acquired <strong>the</strong><br />

first in-<strong>of</strong>fice CT scanner in middle Georgia. The<br />

practice is also <strong>the</strong> only dental <strong>of</strong>fice in Mid-<br />

Georgia with a Millennium Dental Laser. Dr.<br />

Bhasin also directed <strong>the</strong> purchase <strong>of</strong> X-NAV which<br />

permits “real-time” CT-guided implant placement.<br />

There are fewer than sixty <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se in <strong>the</strong> world.<br />

Dr. Bhasin has also pursued week-long training in<br />

Budapest <strong>and</strong> Lisbon.<br />

The practice has long, deep roots that is<br />

focused on <strong>the</strong> relentless pursuit <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> latest <strong>and</strong><br />

best technology <strong>and</strong> skills to support <strong>the</strong> needs<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> community <strong>and</strong> greater<br />

middle Georgia area.<br />

Above: Central Georgia Periodontics<br />

<strong>and</strong> Dental Implants is located at 225<br />

Carl Vinson Parkway.<br />

Below: The doctors <strong>and</strong> staff <strong>of</strong><br />

Central Georgia Periodontics <strong>and</strong><br />

Dental Implants.<br />

Sharing <strong>the</strong> Heritage ✦ 97



AGENT<br />

For some, “if <strong>the</strong>se walls could talk” is<br />

just a catchphrase. But, in <strong>the</strong> case <strong>of</strong> Jimmy<br />

Spinks, <strong>the</strong> walls <strong>of</strong> his State Farm <strong>of</strong>fice<br />

located at 1410 Russell Parkway tell a most<br />

captivating story.<br />

From <strong>the</strong> moment one crosses <strong>the</strong> agency<br />

threshold, a vast collection <strong>of</strong> plaques, certificates,<br />

photos <strong>and</strong> mementos chronicle Spinks’<br />

life <strong>and</strong> career. From top agent awards spanning<br />

a stellar four-<strong>and</strong>-a-half decade career with<br />

State Farm to plaques honoring his service to<br />

<strong>the</strong> community as an active member <strong>and</strong> leader<br />

<strong>of</strong> organizations such as <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce, <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

Noon Optimist Club <strong>and</strong> local Jaycees as well<br />

as Centerville United Methodist Church, just to<br />

name a few.<br />

Interspersed throughout is a bounty <strong>of</strong><br />

framed photographs <strong>of</strong> friends, co-workers <strong>and</strong><br />

family. Photos <strong>of</strong> Patsy, his wife <strong>of</strong> more than<br />

fifty years who he met while attending <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> High School <strong>and</strong> married not long after<br />

graduating; photos <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir three boys—Brad,<br />

Greg <strong>and</strong> Dean—two <strong>of</strong> who have followed his<br />

footsteps into <strong>the</strong> insurance field <strong>and</strong> one who<br />

serves in an executive leadership role for<br />

Facebook’s Global Culinary operations.<br />

And <strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong>re are <strong>the</strong> gr<strong>and</strong>kids, six in<br />

all—two sets <strong>of</strong> twins, Carson <strong>and</strong> Carter <strong>and</strong><br />

Katie <strong>and</strong> Kyle, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> oldest <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> brood,<br />

Conner <strong>and</strong> Clayton, <strong>the</strong> latter who has also<br />

chosen insurance as a career after learning <strong>the</strong><br />

ropes from his gr<strong>and</strong>fa<strong>the</strong>r <strong>and</strong> fa<strong>the</strong>r. Like his<br />

own fa<strong>the</strong>r, Brad, Clayton currently serves<br />

as a claims h<strong>and</strong>ler for ano<strong>the</strong>r major<br />

insurance provider.<br />

Spinks’ desk <strong>and</strong> bookshelves also don keepsakes<br />

that tell <strong>of</strong> his passions <strong>and</strong> purpose—a<br />

replica <strong>of</strong> a motorcycle just like <strong>the</strong> one he<br />

enjoyed riding across country with his bro<strong>the</strong>rin-law<br />

<strong>and</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r biking pals in his younger<br />

years; a photo <strong>of</strong> his sons’ first car on which<br />

<strong>the</strong>y worked on toge<strong>the</strong>r; a photo card <strong>of</strong><br />

Barney <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> gang from <strong>the</strong> Andy Griffith<br />

show, a show that Spinks still watches every<br />

day to wind down. He laughs as he proceeds to<br />

tell about <strong>the</strong> silly antics Barney was up to in<br />

<strong>the</strong> last episode.<br />

There is even a framed photo <strong>of</strong> Spinks sitting<br />

in his very first <strong>of</strong>fice, a space he rented for<br />

$50 a month. His first calculator, a Texas<br />

Instruments’ Data Math, which his mo<strong>the</strong>r gave<br />

him when he opened that first <strong>of</strong>fice, holds its<br />

own next to o<strong>the</strong>r memorabilia.<br />

Born in Macon, GA <strong>the</strong> same year <strong>the</strong> town<br />

<strong>of</strong> Wellston was renamed <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>,<br />

Spinks moved to <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> with his family<br />

in 1947 when just three years old. He went to<br />


school here, married his high school sweet<br />

heart <strong>and</strong>, although he continued his education<br />

at Georgia Southwestern <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> University <strong>of</strong><br />

Georgia, he never ventured far from home.<br />

Spinks credits his college roommates who were<br />

all going to school for careers in insurance for<br />

igniting his own interest in <strong>the</strong> field, though he<br />

didn’t make an <strong>of</strong>ficial move until 1973.<br />

“For my first 17 years out <strong>of</strong> college, I<br />

worked in <strong>and</strong> managed a retail clothing business,<br />

but when <strong>the</strong> opportunity to become a<br />

State Farm agent came about in September<br />

1973, I was ready,” Spinks said, crediting his<br />

bro<strong>the</strong>r-in-law <strong>and</strong> friend for making <strong>the</strong> State<br />

Farm introduction. “I located my <strong>of</strong>fice on what<br />

was <strong>the</strong>n known as Watson Road, now Russell<br />

Parkway <strong>and</strong> have remained within a few<br />

blocks <strong>of</strong> my original location since.”<br />

One <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> very first businesses to locate on<br />

Russell, Spinks says he <strong>of</strong>ten got asked why he<br />

was setting up on an old county road. What<br />

<strong>the</strong>y didn’t know, he said, was that he had sat in<br />

on a briefing prepared by UGA for <strong>the</strong> chamber<br />

<strong>and</strong> city that suggested <strong>the</strong> city build up a<br />

direct connector from <strong>the</strong> interstate to <strong>the</strong> base.<br />

Russell Parkway was that connection <strong>and</strong><br />

Spinks was happy to become one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> first<br />

businesses to endorse it as such.<br />

His first <strong>of</strong>fice was a rented space about <strong>the</strong><br />

size <strong>of</strong> his personal <strong>of</strong>fice in his current State<br />

Farm building. He bought an old military-style<br />

metal desk <strong>and</strong> a filing cabinet from a traveling<br />

used furniture salesman <strong>and</strong> set up shop <strong>and</strong><br />

watched as, within five years, o<strong>the</strong>r businesses<br />

<strong>and</strong> <strong>of</strong>fices began to spring up on <strong>the</strong> new baseinterstate<br />

connector.<br />

His own business growing, Spinks soon began<br />

looking for his own property <strong>and</strong> he found it in a<br />

former nursery, also on Russell. He worked out <strong>of</strong><br />

a temporary mobile home <strong>of</strong>fice located on <strong>the</strong><br />

property for a couple <strong>of</strong> years before teaming up<br />

with a local pharmacist to build his first <strong>of</strong>fice<br />

complex. Business still booming, he continued to<br />

add on <strong>and</strong> eventually purchased a former doctor’s<br />

<strong>of</strong>fice that he redesigned himself <strong>and</strong> has<br />

remained his <strong>of</strong>fice since.<br />

Today, Spinks has six o<strong>the</strong>rs working alongside<br />

him, five o<strong>the</strong>r agents as well <strong>and</strong> a receptionist<br />

who is also working on her license.<br />

Toge<strong>the</strong>r, <strong>the</strong>y represent State Farm <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

many clients <strong>the</strong>y serve well.<br />

For more, call <strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>fice at 478-923-5579 or<br />

visit online at www.jimmyspinks.com.<br />

Sharing <strong>the</strong> Heritage ✦ 99

CLEAN<br />



Above: Steve Davison in Clean<br />

Control Corporation’s lab.<br />

Below: Clean Corporation is located<br />

at 1040 Booth Road in <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong>, Georgia.<br />

Steve Davison worked for Sou<strong>the</strong>rn<br />

Railway after high school; <strong>and</strong> wanting to<br />

do something different in 1980, started<br />

Mobile Wash <strong>of</strong> America, a successful<br />

government janitorial contractor focusing<br />

on cleaning. The need for superior cleaning<br />

products <strong>and</strong> escalating chemical<br />

costs prompted him to develop technologically-advanced,<br />

cost-effective cleaning<br />

solutions. He wanted to develop fewer<br />

products that did <strong>the</strong> work <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> many<br />

different ones he carried with him on various<br />

jobs. At his encouragement, he <strong>and</strong> Cory<br />

Hammock, a friend <strong>and</strong> chemist, set out to<br />

achieve that goal. “It was more <strong>of</strong> a convenience<br />

for me to reduce <strong>the</strong> amount <strong>of</strong> cleaners I carried<br />

on every job than it was a pure cost-containment<br />

effort,” says Steve. “I was trying to<br />

simplify <strong>the</strong> job, thinking <strong>the</strong>re must be a better<br />

way.” The two set out to find <strong>the</strong> solution for<br />

which <strong>the</strong>y were searching <strong>and</strong> mastered it in a<br />

most unbelievable way while developing o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

super concentrated cleaning products, too.<br />

Their focus was to develop a highly effective<br />

product that was concentrated <strong>and</strong> would meet<br />

<strong>the</strong> challenges in nursing homes <strong>and</strong> healthcare<br />

facilities. In 1980, <strong>the</strong>re were few commercial<br />

products available that could rid facilities <strong>of</strong> odors<br />

from bed pans, soiled linen <strong>and</strong> night gowns.<br />

Colostomy bag odors <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> “cancer smell” <strong>of</strong><br />

patient rooms were an entire category unto <strong>the</strong>mselves.<br />

Steve <strong>and</strong> Cory’s extensive research on specific<br />

human biological odors <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> need to disinfect<br />

<strong>and</strong> make specific areas welcoming to<br />

patients, staff, <strong>and</strong> visitors alike eventually led to<br />

<strong>the</strong> “Tub Trials,” as <strong>the</strong>y refer to it. To get <strong>the</strong><br />

project underway, <strong>the</strong>y utilized available raw<br />

materials <strong>and</strong> mixed <strong>the</strong> first batch <strong>of</strong> OdoBan®<br />

in Steve’s own bathtub. This led to many products<br />

after initially being tested on baby diapers.<br />

Steve realized that he could not continue his<br />

cleaning business, <strong>and</strong> develop <strong>and</strong> market<br />

OdoBan, so he sold <strong>the</strong> contract cleaning business<br />

<strong>and</strong> started Clean Control in 1990 to<br />

devote time to developing products that were<br />

vastly needed in patient care facilities. After several<br />

years <strong>of</strong> talking with Sam’s Club corporate,<br />

<strong>the</strong>y finally agreed to carry OdoBan® as a trial<br />

in 1991 at <strong>the</strong> Macon, Georgia’s Sam’s Club. Just<br />

four years later, <strong>the</strong> OdoBan® product was carried<br />

nationwide in Sam’s Club, which enabled<br />

Clean Control to exp<strong>and</strong> with additional products<br />

<strong>and</strong> line extensions. Clean Control has<br />

been able to exp<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> grow <strong>the</strong> company<br />

because <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> willingness <strong>of</strong> Sam’s/Walmart to<br />

take a chance on a small, local manufacturer<br />

more than twenty-seven years ago.<br />

Steve says, “Opportunities like this one only<br />

happen in America!” Starting as a small business,<br />

his basic philosophy has been to go one<br />

step fur<strong>the</strong>r. “We didn’t just make a deodorizer;<br />

we developed an odor eliminator <strong>and</strong><br />

disinfectant that cleans. We didn’t just make<br />

something to mop up <strong>the</strong> grease; we developed<br />

bacterial solutions that would eliminate grease–<br />

<strong>the</strong> basis for our bacterial line.”<br />

Today, <strong>the</strong> OdoBan® br<strong>and</strong> <strong>of</strong> products is<br />

recognized worldwide as a leading solution for<br />

odor elimination <strong>and</strong> disinfecting. Clean<br />

Control’s customer base has grown to serve various<br />

market segments including household<br />

consumer, as well as wholesale, industrial, commercial,<br />

<strong>and</strong> institutional customers around <strong>the</strong><br />

globe. A line <strong>of</strong> hunting products was launched<br />

about twenty-two years ago called OdoBan<br />


Outdoors. Steve said <strong>the</strong> name did not ‘grab<br />

you’ so we re-br<strong>and</strong>ed <strong>the</strong>m as Lethal® Hunting<br />

Products <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>y are now <strong>the</strong> premier line <strong>of</strong><br />

scent eliminating hunting products.<br />

Steve, <strong>the</strong> fa<strong>the</strong>r <strong>of</strong> five, is adamant about<br />

success. “I start my day at 4:30 a.m. <strong>and</strong> after<br />

saying my prayers <strong>and</strong> thanking God for my<br />

success, I’m ready to tackle <strong>the</strong> new opportunities<br />

<strong>and</strong> challenges. I tell people all <strong>the</strong> time,<br />

that if I can do this, so can <strong>the</strong>y. Don’t let<br />

anybody take your dreams from you. Anything<br />

is possible.”<br />

Below: Steve Davison proudly displays<br />

OdoBan at Sam’s Club. OdoBan is<br />

sold at Home Depot, Walmart, <strong>and</strong><br />

many o<strong>the</strong>r retail locations.<br />

Sharing <strong>the</strong> Heritage ✦ 101


REALTY<br />

Above: Gwen Giles (left) <strong>and</strong> Jean<br />

Chapman (right).<br />

Below: (Fromt left to right) Lauri<br />

Gassman, Jean Chapman, Jan<br />

Labadie, <strong>and</strong> Gwen Giles.<br />

Gwen Giles sits in <strong>the</strong> conference room <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Golden Key Realty <strong>of</strong>fice located on South<br />

Houston Lake Road in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>. There<br />

isn’t a meeting going on this morning; just<br />

a quick sit-down with a writer interested in<br />

<strong>the</strong> real estate company that has become<br />

a household name during its forty years<br />

<strong>of</strong> existence.<br />

Right away, it becomes apparent that sitting<br />

in one place for too long is out <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ordinary<br />

for this high-spirited dynamo blessed with<br />

boundless energy <strong>and</strong> a spirit to help people.<br />

Still, she proves a most gracious <strong>and</strong> humble<br />

host with story after story that makes swift work<br />

<strong>of</strong> explaining <strong>the</strong> success <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>’ first<br />

woman-owned real estate company.<br />

First <strong>and</strong> foremost, she credits God, who<br />

planted in her a “mind for math” <strong>and</strong>, eventually,<br />

real estate. Secondly, she points to having a likeminded<br />

co-founder as well as a multi-talented<br />

team who live <strong>and</strong> work by <strong>the</strong> Golden Rule, <strong>the</strong><br />

company’s core philosophy.<br />

“We have always treated each o<strong>the</strong>r, <strong>and</strong><br />

most importantly, our clients, <strong>the</strong> way we want<br />

to be treated—with great respect, care <strong>and</strong><br />

consideration,” Giles said.<br />

Although owning a business was never really<br />

on her radar, she <strong>and</strong> longtime co-worker <strong>and</strong><br />

fellow Realtor Jean Coleman longed for <strong>the</strong><br />

opportunity “to do business our way” <strong>and</strong>, in<br />

1979, opened Golden Key with just four agents<br />

<strong>and</strong> a receptionist in a small <strong>of</strong>fice at <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong><br />

Hospital Drive.<br />

“Jean <strong>and</strong> I had different strengths, but were<br />

cut from <strong>the</strong> same cloth with <strong>the</strong> same morals,<br />

principles <strong>and</strong> goals,” said Giles, her tone<br />

turning nostalgic as she speaks <strong>of</strong> her business<br />

partner who passed away in 2009. “An agent<br />

could come to each <strong>of</strong> us <strong>and</strong> we always gave<br />

<strong>the</strong>m <strong>the</strong> same answer. We were always in sync.<br />

She was my soul sister <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> best business<br />

partner I could’ve hoped for.”<br />

From <strong>the</strong> start, Golden Key defied odds <strong>and</strong><br />

surpassed expectations. Even with staggering<br />

interest rates <strong>and</strong> a CPA’s warning that it could<br />

be up to two years before <strong>the</strong> business would<br />

become pr<strong>of</strong>itable, Golden Key has operated in<br />

<strong>the</strong> black from month one. They have survived<br />

challenging economic times, financial setbacks,<br />

an <strong>of</strong>fice fire, embezzlement <strong>and</strong> forgery, <strong>and</strong>,<br />

yet, have never closed <strong>the</strong>ir doors or borrowed a<br />

single dime. Nor have <strong>the</strong>y ab<strong>and</strong>oned <strong>the</strong><br />

Golden Rule, which Giles believes is <strong>the</strong> main<br />

reason <strong>the</strong> company’s client roster is filled with<br />

repeat clients <strong>and</strong> personal referrals.<br />

It’s also <strong>the</strong> reason <strong>the</strong> company is one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

county’s most successful real estate companies<br />

with 24 licensed agents <strong>and</strong> 10 administrative<br />

personnel. It’s why customers have asked <strong>the</strong>m<br />

to manage more than 350 rental properties <strong>and</strong><br />

why, as a company, <strong>the</strong>y closed a recordbreaking<br />

$52.75 million in 2017 <strong>and</strong> were on<br />

course to shatter records in 2018 as well with<br />

$43.5 million already closed by <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> July.<br />

As growth dem<strong>and</strong>ed, Golden Key’s <strong>of</strong>fices<br />

moved several times over <strong>the</strong> years, ultimately<br />


l<strong>and</strong>ing at 526 South Houston Lake Road in 2012<br />

after an <strong>of</strong>fice fire in <strong>the</strong> space <strong>the</strong>y were renting<br />

left <strong>the</strong>m without a home. They temporarily<br />

moved in with ano<strong>the</strong>r real estate company,<br />

Freedom Realty, while work started on <strong>the</strong><br />

unfinished shell that was to be <strong>the</strong>ir future home.<br />

“It was basically four exterior walls with dirt<br />

floors, <strong>and</strong> yet, I was able to design <strong>the</strong> interior<br />

just as I wanted it <strong>and</strong> two builders worked<br />

toge<strong>the</strong>r to have it move-in ready in just four<br />

months,” Giles said. “It was so unbelievably fast,<br />

I knew it was all God!”<br />

As for <strong>the</strong> future, Giles has no plans to retire<br />

just yet. She says her business is her testimony<br />

<strong>and</strong> she plans to keep doing what she’s doing<br />

“until God tells me I’m done.”<br />

And, when that day comes, she says she will<br />

joyfully leave <strong>the</strong> business in <strong>the</strong> capable h<strong>and</strong>s <strong>of</strong><br />

her daughter-in-law, Tammy Giles. An Associate<br />

Broker, Realtor, <strong>and</strong> Real Estate Negotiation<br />

Expert, Tammy has worked alongside her<br />

mentor/mo<strong>the</strong>r-in-law for three decades. Giles’<br />

gr<strong>and</strong>son, Coy, became a Realtor with <strong>the</strong><br />

company after graduating college in 2016.<br />

“Tammy was my assistant before she was my<br />

daughter-in-law <strong>and</strong>, like Jean, we have always<br />

been in sync,” said Giles, who celebrated fifty<br />

years <strong>of</strong> marriage with husb<strong>and</strong> Larry Giles in<br />

September 2017. Gwen <strong>and</strong> Larry have two<br />

sons—Mark, who lives in Atlanta with his wife,<br />

Jeanne; <strong>and</strong> Michael, who lives in <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> with wife Tammy. Michael <strong>and</strong> Tammy<br />

have three sons—Coy, Grayson <strong>and</strong> Riley.<br />

“Coy says real estate is in his DNA <strong>and</strong> he’s<br />

not far <strong>of</strong>f,” Giles continued, laughing as she<br />

confesses to whispering that he “would one day<br />

become a real estate agent with gr<strong>and</strong>mama”<br />

into his ear throughout his early years.<br />

“I guess I pre-programmed him. I just wish I<br />

had done it with my o<strong>the</strong>r two gr<strong>and</strong>kids,” she<br />

said, laughing heartily, before turning <strong>the</strong><br />

conversation in a more reflective direction.<br />

“Looking back, I can clearly see God’s h<strong>and</strong><br />

leading, guiding, <strong>and</strong> occasionally pushing us<br />

along this marvelous journey. My prayer now is<br />

that all who associate with Golden Key—today<br />

or in <strong>the</strong> future—recognize <strong>and</strong> give thanks for<br />

all that God has created <strong>and</strong> allows us to be a<br />

part <strong>of</strong>. Thank you <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>and</strong> Houston<br />

County for allowing us to be <strong>of</strong> service <strong>and</strong> for<br />

being a part <strong>of</strong> our continuing story. To God be<br />

<strong>the</strong> glory!”<br />

Sharing <strong>the</strong> Heritage ✦ 103

FLINT<br />


✧<br />

Above: The first Flint Electric<br />

Membership Corporation <strong>of</strong>fice in<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> opened in 1949 on<br />

Watson Boulevard.<br />

Below: In 1952, co-op leaders (from<br />

left) Barney McDaniel, Thurman<br />

Whatley, Nash Murph, Royce Pratt,<br />

M. S. Vinson, John Polhill, Deke<br />

Giles, Sam Tankersley, <strong>and</strong> Floyd<br />

Tabor, watched as <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>’<br />

mayor C. B. “Boss” Watson<br />

ceremonially flipped <strong>the</strong> switch to<br />

illuminate <strong>the</strong> town’s major<br />

thoroughfare, Watson Boulevard.<br />

Incorporated in 1937, Flint Energies is a notfor-pr<strong>of</strong>it,<br />

member-owned electric cooperative<br />

that provides energy services to residential,<br />

commercial, industrial <strong>and</strong> agricultural<br />

members in parts <strong>of</strong> 17 middle Georgia<br />

counties. The cooperative serves more than<br />

91,000 meters, making it <strong>the</strong> 38th largest <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

nation’s nearly 1,000 rural electric cooperatives.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> 1930s, only one in 10 <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> nation’s<br />

farm families had electricity. Only farms running<br />

alongside <strong>the</strong> wires carrying electricity from city<br />

to city had <strong>the</strong> possibility <strong>of</strong> a “hook up.” Dim<br />

oil lamps provided <strong>the</strong> only indoor light, <strong>the</strong>re<br />

was no running water <strong>and</strong> backbreaking chores<br />

were accomplished solely by manual labor.<br />

Emory Parr was tired <strong>of</strong> raising chickens in <strong>the</strong><br />

dark. The owner <strong>of</strong> Crowell Poultry Farm knew<br />

many <strong>of</strong> his neighbors shared his frustration. In<br />

1935 he decided it was time to act.<br />

Parr <strong>and</strong> neighbor, Howard Neisler, first<br />

investigated erecting a private generating plant<br />

<strong>and</strong> transmission line to serve 17 consumers<br />

along a four-mile stretch <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Old Federal Wire<br />

Road, but <strong>the</strong> $7,000 pricetag was unaffordable.<br />

Undaunted, Parr next approached existing<br />

utility companies about providing power, but<br />

was turned down. Investor-owned <strong>and</strong> municipal<br />

electric utilities were reluctant to serve rural areas<br />

because it wasn’t financially feasible to extend<br />

lines to people outside <strong>the</strong> city limits.<br />

Parr eventually learned that farmers in<br />

communities all over Georgia were gearing up to<br />

build power lines by forming electric<br />

cooperatives – utilities owned <strong>and</strong> governed by<br />

<strong>the</strong> rural residents using <strong>the</strong> electricity ra<strong>the</strong>r<br />

than pr<strong>of</strong>it-motivated investors.<br />

On March 5, 1937, a community meeting<br />

was held in Crowell to garner support for a new<br />

electric cooperative. With <strong>the</strong>ir neighbors’<br />

encouragement, Parr, Neisler, Leonard Cooper,<br />

Floyd Jarrell <strong>and</strong> George Young attached <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

names to an application for a charter to<br />

incorporate a rural electric cooperative. Those at<br />

<strong>the</strong> meeting voted to call it Taylor County<br />

Electric Membership Corporation (EMC). About<br />

a month later, on April 23, <strong>the</strong> charter was<br />

granted <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> co-op was <strong>of</strong>ficially in business.<br />

The five charter members became <strong>the</strong> first board<br />

<strong>of</strong> directors <strong>and</strong> elected Parr as president, Neisler as<br />

vice president <strong>and</strong> Cooper as secretary-treasurer.<br />

They immediately applied for <strong>and</strong> received Rural<br />

Electrification Administration (REA) funds to build<br />


<strong>the</strong> first fifty miles <strong>of</strong> lines to bring power to <strong>the</strong><br />

people <strong>of</strong> nor<strong>the</strong>rn Taylor County.<br />

As farms became energized, word spread about<br />

how electricity improved farmers’ lives <strong>and</strong> work.<br />

Interest in rural electrification spread rapidly<br />

throughout middle Georgia, <strong>and</strong> applications from<br />

neighboring counties came flooding into <strong>the</strong><br />

Taylor EMC <strong>of</strong>fice. In August 1938, <strong>the</strong> co-op<br />

received a REA loan for $419,000 to construct<br />

an additional 495 miles <strong>of</strong> line in Macon,<br />

Peach, Houston, Crawford, Talbot, Marion,<br />

Chattahoochee <strong>and</strong> Taylor counties. With <strong>the</strong> loan,<br />

Taylor EMC became <strong>the</strong> second largest cooperative<br />

in Georgia by <strong>the</strong> close <strong>of</strong> 1939.<br />

At this rate <strong>of</strong> growth, it didn’t take long for<br />

Taylor EMC to be an inadequate description <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

co-op’s service area <strong>and</strong> membership. During <strong>the</strong><br />

annual meeting in January 1941, members voted<br />

to change <strong>the</strong> cooperative’s name to Flint Electric<br />

Membership Corporation, a title derived from <strong>the</strong><br />

river flowing through much <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> service area.<br />

While most rural electrification efforts around<br />

<strong>the</strong> nation came to a halt as manpower <strong>and</strong><br />

materials were redirected to <strong>the</strong> World War II<br />

effort, Flint EMC’s system exp<strong>and</strong>ed significantly.<br />

Much <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> growth sprouted from tiny Wellston,<br />

a train whistle stop in nor<strong>the</strong>rn Houston County<br />

that consisted <strong>of</strong> only six houses <strong>and</strong> a<br />

combination service station/general store.<br />

A small airfield near <strong>the</strong> community was chosen<br />

as <strong>the</strong> site for a major military installation, <strong>the</strong><br />

Wellston Air Depot at <strong>Robins</strong> Field (later <strong>Robins</strong><br />

Air Force Base). Boarding houses, cafes, store <strong>and</strong><br />

gas stations sprang up to serve thous<strong>and</strong>s <strong>of</strong><br />

construction workers, followed by a wave <strong>of</strong><br />

military personnel, who converged on <strong>the</strong> area.<br />

The dem<strong>and</strong> for electricity in Wellston<br />

increased right along with <strong>the</strong> population. An<br />

investor-owned utility selected to furnish power<br />

to <strong>the</strong> airfield passed on <strong>the</strong> chance to build<br />

distribution lines to provide electricity to <strong>the</strong><br />

homes <strong>and</strong> businesses in <strong>the</strong> fast-growing<br />

community. The investors saw <strong>the</strong> venture as<br />

unpr<strong>of</strong>itable since <strong>the</strong> base would likely close<br />

after <strong>the</strong> war <strong>and</strong> residents would move on.<br />

Flint EMC, which had built lines in 1939 to<br />

serve <strong>the</strong> h<strong>and</strong>ful <strong>of</strong> residents in <strong>the</strong> community,<br />

answered <strong>the</strong> call for help. The co-op agreed to<br />

bring power to Wellston’s swelling population.<br />

In early September 1942, Flint EMC employees<br />

began exp<strong>and</strong>ing <strong>the</strong> co-op’s electricity<br />

distribution to supply power to five hundred<br />

houses for defense workers.<br />

Almost overnight, Wellston, renamed <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> in 1943, went from a six-house village to<br />

being Georgia’s sixth largest city. The investorowned<br />

utility’s projection that <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force<br />

Base would close after <strong>the</strong> war proved wrong.<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>—still powered by Flint EMC<br />

doing business as Flint Energies <strong>the</strong>se days—<br />

remains a thriving city with an economy that has<br />

diversified well beyond its military beginnings.<br />

For several decades, it was <strong>the</strong> largest city in <strong>the</strong><br />

U.S. served by an electric cooperative.<br />

After more than eighty years, Flint Energies<br />

continues its efforts in community service <strong>and</strong><br />

economic development, because vibrant communities<br />

mean better quality <strong>of</strong> life for co-op members.<br />

The original founders have all passed on, but<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir legacy endures. The lines <strong>the</strong>y helped build<br />

still bind toge<strong>the</strong>r our communities. The cooperative<br />

business <strong>the</strong>y founded remains committed to<br />

serving <strong>the</strong> best interests <strong>of</strong> its members in <strong>the</strong><br />

delivery <strong>of</strong> safe, reliable, affordable electricity.<br />

~Contains excerpts from The Lines That Bind.<br />

✧<br />

Above: In 1953, dedicated Flint<br />

EMC employees restored power to<br />

thous<strong>and</strong>s in less than two days<br />

after a devastating F4 tornado<br />

ripped through <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>,<br />

causing 19 fatalities, 350 injuries<br />

<strong>and</strong> $10 million in damage that left<br />

1,000 homeless.<br />

Below: Scores <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

children have learned to play baseball<br />

<strong>and</strong> learned life lessons on Flint Field.<br />

Among <strong>the</strong> first was former Georgia<br />

Govenor Sonny Perdue (front row,<br />

fourth from left), who said, “Playing<br />

Little League baseball is one <strong>of</strong> my<br />

fondest memories as a child. I<br />

learned fundamentals <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> game<br />

such as teamwork, sacrifice <strong>and</strong><br />

determination that I have taken with<br />

me throughout life.”<br />

Sharing <strong>the</strong> Heritage ✦ 105




AIR<br />


This is a sample caption.<br />

With experience under his belt <strong>and</strong> a desire<br />

to own his own business, <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

resident Sam Buzzell founded Buzzell<br />

Plumbing, Heating <strong>and</strong> Air Conditioning<br />

(HVAC) in 1974 <strong>and</strong> set up shop in a small<br />

store-front on First Street in his hometown.<br />

While <strong>the</strong> company is still family-owned <strong>and</strong><br />

operated, it has long outgrown that first storefront<br />

<strong>and</strong> is today a multi-million dollar fullservice<br />

plumbing <strong>and</strong> HVAC company with<br />

multiple showrooms, including one in its new<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> headquarters building <strong>and</strong><br />

ano<strong>the</strong>r in neighboring Macon.<br />

Young Bob, Sam’s son, grew up in <strong>the</strong><br />

business <strong>and</strong> shares his fa<strong>the</strong>r’s vision for <strong>the</strong><br />

company. In 2001, he <strong>of</strong>ficially joined his fa<strong>the</strong>r<br />

as co-owner, <strong>and</strong> has since taken over full<br />

ownership <strong>and</strong> operation <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> company. Sam<br />

still has his fingers in <strong>the</strong> business, though, <strong>and</strong><br />

works as a mentor <strong>and</strong> consultant to his son <strong>and</strong><br />

employees. He is always available to help in <strong>the</strong><br />

areas where he has expertise.<br />

While <strong>the</strong> early company was built on HVAC<br />

<strong>and</strong> plumbing for <strong>the</strong> homeowner only, today<br />

Buzzell takes pride in <strong>of</strong>fering both residential<br />

<strong>and</strong> commercial customers affordable pricing as<br />

well as quality work conducted by reliable<br />

employees <strong>and</strong> vendors. In addition to fullservice<br />

heating, air <strong>and</strong> plumbing, <strong>the</strong> company<br />

now also <strong>of</strong>fers specialized products such as<br />

indoor quality air control <strong>and</strong> water filtration<br />

systems as well. They provide services for both<br />

existing structures <strong>and</strong> new construction for<br />

home owners, home builders <strong>and</strong> commercial<br />

customers alike.<br />

Offering a wide variety <strong>of</strong> services <strong>and</strong><br />

products is what enables us to meet <strong>the</strong> needs <strong>of</strong><br />

all <strong>of</strong> our customers, regardless <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> size <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

job,” says Bob. “Our company vision is to<br />

provide reliable <strong>and</strong> custom service to all, while<br />

balancing price, efficiency, <strong>and</strong> lifespan to give<br />

each <strong>of</strong> our clients <strong>the</strong> very best value in <strong>the</strong><br />

timeliest manner.”<br />

Indeed, it doesn’t matter <strong>the</strong> plumbing or<br />

HVAC need. If a customer needs new<br />

installation, system upgrade, regular<br />

maintenance or repair, <strong>the</strong> team <strong>of</strong> qualified<br />

technicians deliver sustainable, energy efficient<br />

<strong>and</strong> cost-effective solutions that improve<br />

everyday life as well as to <strong>of</strong>fer mechanical<br />

services to <strong>the</strong> community with cost-effective<br />

products that utilize renewable energy.<br />

“We recognize <strong>the</strong> impact <strong>of</strong> energy efficient,<br />

reliable <strong>and</strong> effective temperature control on<br />

a homeowner’s budget or company’s bottom<br />

line. It’s important to <strong>the</strong> customer <strong>and</strong> it’s<br />

important to us,” Bob said, adding that <strong>the</strong><br />

company has an on-call team available 24/7 to<br />

h<strong>and</strong>le emergencies.<br />

“We also underst<strong>and</strong> that when a customer<br />

has a problem with <strong>the</strong> heating system, air<br />

conditioner, or any type <strong>of</strong> plumbing, <strong>the</strong>y need<br />

it solved ‘now.’ There’s nothing worse than<br />

having <strong>the</strong> furnace inoperable on <strong>the</strong> coldest<br />

day <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> year; or <strong>the</strong> air conditioner on <strong>the</strong><br />

blink on <strong>the</strong> hottest <strong>of</strong> days,” he said.<br />

Just as it does for homeowners <strong>and</strong><br />

homebuilders, Buzzell provides customized<br />

solutions in plumbing, heating <strong>and</strong> air services<br />

to companies <strong>and</strong> organizations <strong>of</strong> all sizes<br />

throughout <strong>the</strong> mid-state, from locally owned<br />


usinesses to large corporate entities, whe<strong>the</strong>r<br />

new construction or existing structure. The<br />

company’s longevity in <strong>the</strong> market ensures all<br />

its customers customized solutions that rely<br />

on experience.<br />

Both commercial <strong>and</strong> residential clients can<br />

also trust Buzzell to always <strong>of</strong>fer customized<br />

recommendations <strong>and</strong> innovative products with<br />

meticulous workmanship as <strong>the</strong>y specialize in<br />

industry leading br<strong>and</strong>s such as Carrier Rinnai<br />

<strong>and</strong> Moen.<br />

Need financing? Through its relationship with<br />

Wells Fargo Financial National Bank <strong>and</strong> as a<br />

participating Carrier dealer, Buzzell is able to<br />

<strong>of</strong>fer a variety <strong>of</strong> flexible options for financing<br />

new Carrier products or systems. With approved<br />

credit through Wells Fargo, customers can enjoy<br />

convenient monthly payments, competitive<br />

interest rates <strong>and</strong> flexible financing terms.<br />

As for future, Buzzell Plumbing, Heating <strong>and</strong><br />

Air is poised <strong>and</strong> ready to continue serving<br />

Middle Georgia with <strong>the</strong> same family values <strong>and</strong><br />

exceptional service for which it has become<br />

known over <strong>the</strong> past forty-five years.<br />

What’s more, both Bob <strong>and</strong> Sam say <strong>the</strong>y<br />

intend to keep <strong>the</strong> business in <strong>the</strong> family for<br />

generations to come, with Bob’s young son,<br />

Robert, next in line.<br />

And, that makes <strong>the</strong> Buzzell extended family,<br />

a.k.a. <strong>the</strong> staff, very happy as <strong>the</strong>y say <strong>the</strong> family<br />

atmosphere is a big part <strong>of</strong> what separates<br />

Buzzell from o<strong>the</strong>r companies.<br />

To learn more about Buzzell Plumbing,<br />

Heating <strong>and</strong> Air, please visit www.mybuzzell.com<br />

or visit in person at <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

showroom located at 4811 Russell Parkway or<br />

<strong>the</strong> Macon showroom at 1809 Hardeman<br />

Avenue. Showroom hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m.<br />

Monday through Friday in both locations. The<br />

phone numbers to call are 478-449-0242 in<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> or 478-992-1992 in Macon.<br />

Above: Bob Buzzell.<br />

Below: The Buzzell Plumbing,<br />

Heating <strong>and</strong> Air Conditioning<br />

showroom at 4811 Russell Parkway<br />

in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>.<br />

Sharing <strong>the</strong> Heritage ✦ 107

MIDDLE<br />


STATE<br />


Top: Thomas School, built in 1944-<br />

1945, is named in memory <strong>of</strong> Army<br />

Air Force Second Lieutenant Charles<br />

Thomas III, a West Point graduate<br />

who was lost at sea during a training<br />

flight in May 1942. His fa<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

Colonel Charles E. Thomas Jr., was<br />

<strong>the</strong> first comm<strong>and</strong>er <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Wellston<br />

Air Depot.<br />

Bottom: Nursing students attend<br />

classes in Oak Hall’s STEM wing,<br />

which supports degree programs<br />

related to science, technology,<br />

engineering <strong>and</strong> math.<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>and</strong> Houston County are pivotal<br />

to <strong>the</strong> history <strong>of</strong> Middle Georgia State University.<br />

In 1970, what was <strong>the</strong>n Macon Junior<br />

College—now Middle Georgia State University—<br />

began <strong>of</strong>fering courses at <strong>the</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Resident<br />

Center as part <strong>of</strong> a University System <strong>of</strong> Georgia<br />

(USG) program established at <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force<br />

Base at <strong>the</strong> request <strong>of</strong> Air Logistics Complex<br />

(ALC) Comm<strong>and</strong>er, Major General A.J. Beck.<br />

In 1991, <strong>the</strong> college began serving area residents<br />

through its <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Center, located<br />

in leased space in <strong>the</strong> Advanced Technology<br />

Park. Finally, in 2003, with strong support from<br />

local <strong>and</strong> state <strong>of</strong>ficials, <strong>the</strong> college opened a<br />

permanent <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Campus on Watson<br />

Boulevard, approximately a half mile from <strong>the</strong><br />

main gate at <strong>Robins</strong> AFB.<br />

A permanent college campus was exactly what<br />

<strong>the</strong>n Mayor Donald Walker <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

City Council were hoping for in 2001 when <strong>the</strong>y<br />

invested $762,000 in <strong>the</strong> historic Charles Thomas<br />

(Elementary) School—one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> community’s oldest<br />

buildings—<strong>and</strong> donated it to Middle Georgia<br />

State’s governing body, <strong>the</strong> USG’s Board <strong>of</strong> Regents.<br />

In 2002, <strong>the</strong>n-Representative Larry Walker<br />

<strong>and</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r members <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> central Georgia legislative<br />

delegation secured a $5 million state<br />

appropriation to modernize <strong>the</strong> Thomas School<br />

(preserving <strong>the</strong> architecture, including arched<br />

exterior windows, corridor breeze sashes <strong>and</strong><br />

familiar white cupola with rooster wea<strong>the</strong>r vane<br />

on <strong>the</strong> ro<strong>of</strong>) <strong>and</strong> build an additional facility on<br />

<strong>the</strong> same site for a high-tech, full-service campus.<br />

The former Thomas School—now called<br />

Thomas Hall—is still <strong>the</strong> “front door” <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Campus, which remains a vital<br />

part <strong>of</strong> Middle Georgia State University.<br />

Middle Georgia State continues to exp<strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

campus, adding in 2018 a STEM wing to Oak<br />

Hall to support courses <strong>and</strong> degree programs<br />

related to science (including nursing <strong>and</strong> health<br />

sciences), technology, engineering <strong>and</strong> math.<br />

As <strong>of</strong> 2018, <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Campus consists<br />

<strong>of</strong> Thomas Hall, <strong>the</strong> Academic Services<br />

Building <strong>and</strong> Oak Hall. Middle Georgia State’s<br />

Office <strong>of</strong> Graduate Studies also is based at <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Campus.<br />





As <strong>the</strong> leadership <strong>of</strong> Combined Employees<br />

Credit Union (CECU) prepared to celebrate <strong>the</strong><br />

organization’s fiftieth anniversary in 2019, <strong>the</strong>y<br />

paused to express gratitude for <strong>the</strong> eight forward-thinking<br />

individuals that started it all on<br />

October 6, 1969 with just a vision <strong>and</strong> a combined<br />

deposit <strong>of</strong> $200.00.<br />

“It’s always noteworthy when an organization<br />

reaches <strong>the</strong> half century mark, but to do so having<br />

grown from a few founding members <strong>and</strong><br />

$200 to more than 3,300 members with assets<br />

<strong>of</strong> over $11.5 million is truly remarkable,” said<br />

current President <strong>and</strong> Chief Executive Officer<br />

Robert Glore, Jr., stopping a recent interview to<br />

individually name <strong>and</strong> show reverence to <strong>the</strong><br />

founders–Homer Walker, Thomas McMinn,<br />

Sara Gunter, George Barfield, W.H. Rape, Billy<br />

Parker, William Wisse <strong>and</strong> Claude Lewis. “They<br />

<strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> leaders who have followed deserve<br />

much credit for having such vision <strong>and</strong> giving<br />

us such a strong foundation.”<br />

A not-for-pr<strong>of</strong>it entity owned <strong>and</strong> operated by<br />

its members, CECU was initially named <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Employees Credit Union <strong>and</strong> was<br />

founded to serve employees <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> City <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> <strong>and</strong> its elected <strong>and</strong> appointed <strong>of</strong>ficials.<br />

With its first <strong>of</strong>fice located in City Hall, <strong>the</strong> new<br />

credit union ended its debut year with assets <strong>of</strong><br />

$39,000. After amending <strong>the</strong> charter in 1972 to<br />

include employees <strong>and</strong> elected <strong>and</strong> appointed <strong>of</strong>ficials<br />

<strong>of</strong> Houston County, employees <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Houston County Hospital, <strong>and</strong> family members <strong>of</strong><br />

eligible members, assets soared to over $250,000.<br />

Growth continued throughout <strong>the</strong> 1980s <strong>and</strong><br />

1990s as o<strong>the</strong>r entities in <strong>the</strong> region were invited<br />

to join <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> credit union’s name was ultimately<br />

changed to Combined Employees Credit Union.<br />

CECU purchased its first <strong>of</strong>fice building at 106<br />

South Houston Road in 1999 <strong>and</strong> its present headquarters<br />

location at 593 Russell Parkway in 2010.<br />

Today, CECU is sponsored by <strong>the</strong> Houston<br />

County municipal authority, has nine employees,<br />

<strong>and</strong> is governed by a voluntary board <strong>of</strong> directors<br />

elected by members. Its growing membership<br />

includes employees, retirees <strong>and</strong> family members<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Houston County Commissioners, Houston<br />

Healthcare Complex, city governments <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong>, Americus, Oglethorpe, Montezuma,<br />

Centerville, Marshallville, Perry <strong>and</strong> Fort Valley,<br />

as well as <strong>the</strong> Fort Valley Utilities Department,<br />

Peach County Commissioners, Macon County<br />

Commissioners, Cornerstone Medical Associates,<br />

The Imaging Center <strong>and</strong> The Phoenix Center.<br />

It provides many <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> same products <strong>and</strong><br />

services <strong>of</strong>fered by o<strong>the</strong>r financial institutions,<br />

but with one major difference–as a not-for-pr<strong>of</strong>it<br />

entity insured by <strong>the</strong> National Credit Union<br />

Administration <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> National Credit Union<br />

Share Insurance Fund, all earnings are returned<br />

to members in <strong>the</strong> form <strong>of</strong> high-interest savings<br />

<strong>and</strong> low rate loans <strong>and</strong> new services, according<br />

to Glore.<br />

“We have found success in staying true to our<br />

roots <strong>and</strong> founding philosophy <strong>of</strong> ‘people helping<br />

people’ <strong>and</strong> are committed to building lifelong<br />

relationships <strong>and</strong> providing our members<br />

with financial services that help <strong>the</strong>m afford<br />

life,” Glore concluded.<br />

For more information on Combined<br />

Employees Credit Union, visit online at conbinedecu.com,<br />

or in person at 593 Russell<br />

Parkway or call (478) 929-5700.<br />

Combined Employees Credit Union<br />

fifty years <strong>of</strong> serving those that serve.<br />

Sharing <strong>the</strong> Heritage ✦ 109

21ST CENTURY<br />


Top: Eddie Wiggins, Chairman <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

21st Century Partnership.<br />

Bottom: Bill Powell, 13 WMAZ<br />

Meteorologist.<br />

During <strong>the</strong> 1993 Base Realignment <strong>and</strong><br />

Closure (BRAC) process, <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base<br />

was added to <strong>the</strong> BRAC list for evaluation…a<br />

shock to <strong>the</strong> entire Middle Georgia region, as<br />

well as to <strong>the</strong> entire State <strong>of</strong> Georgia. At <strong>the</strong><br />

insistence <strong>of</strong> Senator Sam Nunn, <strong>the</strong> 21st<br />

Century Partnership was hurriedly formed to<br />

defend <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>and</strong> thus <strong>the</strong> Middle Georgia area<br />

during <strong>the</strong> critical BRAC process.<br />

This massive organizational effort was spearheaded<br />

by community leaders such as George<br />

Israel, Bob Hatcher, Paul Nagle, Ralph Nix,<br />

Eddie Wiggins, Sherrill Stafford, Jack Steed, <strong>and</strong><br />

many o<strong>the</strong>rs…with <strong>the</strong> sage counsel <strong>of</strong> Senator<br />

Nunn. The military value <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> base, <strong>and</strong> community,<br />

was once again evaluated in BRAC 2005.<br />

As in BRAC 1995, not only did <strong>Robins</strong> survive,<br />

but actually gained missions during BRAC 2005.<br />

Fortunately, <strong>the</strong> 21st Century Partnership<br />

continues to defend <strong>and</strong> invoke positive actions<br />

to ensure <strong>the</strong> continued viability <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> base.<br />

That is: <strong>the</strong> best way to defend <strong>Robins</strong> is from an<br />

<strong>of</strong>fensive st<strong>and</strong>point vs. a defensive st<strong>and</strong>point.<br />

The objective was straightforward–make <strong>Robins</strong><br />

<strong>and</strong> Middle Georgia so attractive to decision<br />

makers for assignment <strong>of</strong> military missions that<br />

<strong>the</strong> base would exp<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> become so vital to<br />

<strong>the</strong> Nation’s defense posture, it would always be<br />

in a position to accept <strong>and</strong> execute new missions<br />

vs. just fighting to keep jobs in Middle Georgia.<br />

This approach caused focus <strong>and</strong> solutions to<br />

issues like encroachment; education; affordable/suitable<br />

housing; child care; healthcare; air<br />

quality; workforce development; transportation<br />

access; quality <strong>of</strong> life for assigned personnel;<br />

cost <strong>of</strong> living; cost <strong>of</strong> operating an installation in<br />

Middle Georgia; capacity to grow; base-community<br />

partnerships; public private partnerships;<br />

collaboration with sister Air Force industrial<br />

operations; <strong>and</strong> helping <strong>Robins</strong> execute <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

strategic plan.<br />

Focus for <strong>the</strong> future is a strategy <strong>and</strong> action<br />

plan that builds on National, State <strong>and</strong> local layers,<br />

ensuring not only <strong>the</strong> continuing viability <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> AFB in <strong>the</strong> future but will work to bring<br />

more missions <strong>and</strong> jobs to <strong>the</strong> Middle Georgia<br />

area. <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base will remain an important<br />

component in Middle Georgia, <strong>and</strong> 21st<br />

Century Partnership will support <strong>the</strong>m both.<br />


When Doctors N. Lyle Lastinger <strong>and</strong> Clayton<br />

A. Smith first hung out <strong>the</strong> Vision Savers’ shingle<br />

in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> on November 1, 1990, <strong>the</strong>y<br />

had one clear vision—to <strong>of</strong>fer superior eye care<br />

<strong>and</strong> eye wear in a friendly environment to <strong>the</strong><br />

people <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>and</strong> Houston County.<br />

Today, almost three decades later, <strong>the</strong>y have<br />

not only realized that vision, but have far surpassed<br />

it. With <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>the</strong> flagship,<br />

Vision Savers, Inc., now has four additional<br />

locations in Eastman, Dublin, Macon <strong>and</strong><br />

Forsyth. Each location has a retail optical<br />

shop <strong>and</strong> optometrists’ <strong>of</strong>fice, <strong>and</strong> several have<br />

in-house labs.<br />

“We have come a long way in <strong>the</strong> past three<br />

decades,” said Connie Holl<strong>and</strong>, <strong>the</strong> company’s<br />

chief executive <strong>of</strong>ficer <strong>and</strong> a member <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> original<br />

Vision Savers team. “In <strong>the</strong> beginning, I<br />

color-coded our accounts payable to indicate<br />

who would get paid that week. Today, we not<br />

only have five successful locations <strong>and</strong> twenty<br />

full-time employees, but we also have patients<br />

that come from far away to see us.”<br />

Dr. Lastinger also takes care <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> vision<br />

needs for crews from Marvel Studios <strong>of</strong> Georgia<br />

<strong>and</strong> AMC’s The Walking Dead, as well as famed<br />

pr<strong>of</strong>essional wrestler, Dave Bautista.<br />

“We call Dr. Lastinger our ‘Eye Doctor to <strong>the</strong><br />

Stars’. We <strong>of</strong>ten close our <strong>of</strong>fices <strong>and</strong> take our<br />

staff to lunch <strong>and</strong> a movie, not only to support<br />

our studio clients, but also to build on <strong>the</strong> family-hometown<br />

atmosphere that is so important<br />

to us,” said Holl<strong>and</strong>.<br />

Both natives <strong>of</strong> South Georgia, Lastinger <strong>and</strong><br />

Smith quickly became friends while learning <strong>the</strong><br />

ropes at an optical shop in Moultrie, Georgia.<br />

Fresh out <strong>of</strong> college <strong>and</strong> having graduated ahead<br />

<strong>of</strong> his class, Lastinger first bought an interest in<br />

a practice in Tallahassee, Florida, <strong>and</strong> also<br />

worked in practices in Thomaston <strong>and</strong> Macon.<br />

Smith—still in optometry school at <strong>the</strong> time—<br />

worked with Lastinger during breaks <strong>and</strong> it was<br />

not long after he graduated that <strong>the</strong> two decided<br />

to go into business toge<strong>the</strong>r.<br />

“They wanted to make decisions that would<br />

allow <strong>the</strong>m to take <strong>the</strong> very best care <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

patients,” Holl<strong>and</strong> said, adding that <strong>the</strong>y chose<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> because <strong>of</strong> its hometown feel<br />

<strong>and</strong> growth potential.<br />

It looks like <strong>the</strong>y made <strong>the</strong> right decision as<br />

Vision Savers, Inc. is just large enough to take<br />

care <strong>of</strong> all <strong>the</strong>ir patients’ eye care needs, yet<br />

small enough to be <strong>the</strong> hometown optical<br />

shop. They love serving <strong>the</strong>ir patients, many <strong>of</strong><br />

whom started out with <strong>the</strong>m as small children<br />

<strong>and</strong> now bring in <strong>the</strong>ir own kids. They also<br />

love being a part <strong>of</strong> a hometown with such a<br />

bright future.<br />

“We are thrilled with <strong>the</strong> renewal <strong>and</strong><br />

rebuilding going on in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>and</strong> are<br />

eager to be a part it. What a ride this has<br />

been so far! And, we are just getting started,”<br />

Holl<strong>and</strong> concluded.<br />

Be sure to stop in <strong>and</strong> visit <strong>the</strong>m in <strong>the</strong> Publix<br />

Shopping Center at 2203 Watson Boulevard or<br />

online at visionsavers.biz. The phone number is<br />

478-328-3937.<br />


INC.<br />

Top: Connie A. Holl<strong>and</strong>, CPA.<br />

Above: N. Lyle Lastinger, O.D.<br />

Bottom: Clayton A Smith, O.D.<br />

Sharing <strong>the</strong> Heritage ✦ 111



At Northrop Grumman, innovation is not<br />

just an idea–it is a way <strong>of</strong> life. With 85,000<br />

global employees in all fifty states <strong>and</strong> in more<br />

than twenty-five countries, our leading global<br />

security company strives to attract <strong>and</strong> retain<br />

<strong>the</strong> best employees.<br />

For almost ninety years, Northrop Grumman<br />

has provided systems <strong>and</strong> services to<br />

government <strong>and</strong> commercial customers<br />

worldwide to address emerging challenges<br />

critical to <strong>the</strong> defense <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> nation <strong>and</strong> our<br />

allies. Our company <strong>of</strong>fers an extraordinary<br />

portfolio <strong>of</strong> capabilities <strong>and</strong> technologies that<br />

enable our team to deliver innovative systems<br />

<strong>and</strong> solutions for applications that range from<br />

undersea to outer space <strong>and</strong> into cyberspace.<br />

Northrop Grumman has successfully<br />

delivered support to crucial national security<br />

programs at <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> for over<br />

thirty years from embedded s<strong>of</strong>tware<br />

development to operational flight programs<br />

sustainment <strong>and</strong> avionics modeling <strong>and</strong><br />

simulation. At <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base in <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong>, Georgia, our workforce <strong>of</strong><br />

approximately 550 employees work to support<br />

<strong>the</strong> operational E-8C Joint Surveillance Target<br />

Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) fleet <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

RQ-4 Global Hawk, <strong>and</strong> provide more than<br />

3,700 repairs annually.<br />

We provide an inclusive work environment so<br />

our talented employees collaborate to share<br />

diverse ideas <strong>and</strong> perspectives. We are all united<br />

in our mission to help solve our toughest<br />

customer challenges <strong>and</strong> remain committed to<br />

advancing <strong>the</strong> warfighter’s mission.<br />

Our commitment has enabled <strong>the</strong> creation <strong>of</strong><br />

significant technology-based jobs in <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong>. Our company’s passion for producing<br />

world-class systems to enable <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> to<br />

continue to develop economically is matched<br />

only by our employees’ enthusiasm for<br />

supporting our community.<br />

Employees volunteer in <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

area in support <strong>of</strong> Science, Technology,<br />

Engineering <strong>and</strong> Math programs (STEM), <strong>and</strong><br />

engage in events such as <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

Georgia Museum <strong>of</strong> Aviation Foundation Gala<br />

<strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.<br />

In addition to our volunteer efforts, we are proud<br />

<strong>of</strong> our charitable contributions throughout <strong>the</strong><br />

state <strong>of</strong> Georgia, as well as university partnerships<br />

with <strong>the</strong> Georgia Institute <strong>of</strong> Technology <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

University <strong>of</strong> Georgia.<br />

Northrop Grumman is honored to be a<br />

member <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> community, a<br />

great place for our employees to live, work <strong>and</strong><br />

contribute to <strong>the</strong> defense <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> nation as well as<br />

make a difference in <strong>the</strong> lives <strong>of</strong> our neighbors.<br />


WADDLE<br />



Ten years after WWII ended, Theodore W.<br />

Waddle, Sr. was working at <strong>Robins</strong> AFB as a<br />

drafter. A young newlywed, “Ted” was also surveying<br />

<strong>and</strong> drafting on <strong>the</strong> side with <strong>the</strong> hope<br />

that work would enable him to acquire his surveying<br />

<strong>and</strong> engineering license.<br />

Friend Charlie Williams wanted to help Ted<br />

get his license to h<strong>and</strong>le <strong>the</strong> surveys he planned<br />

for proposed projects, mainly subdivisions. He<br />

did, <strong>and</strong> along with <strong>the</strong> help <strong>of</strong> Stan Boor, Tom<br />

Hunt <strong>and</strong> Tommy Walker, Ted started his own<br />

business, with Azealia Park his first project. They<br />

were followed by Walker Park, Statham Way,<br />

Golf Course, <strong>and</strong> Barrington Hall in Macon.<br />

Using <strong>the</strong> talent <strong>of</strong> Attorney Bill Wisse, Claud<br />

Westbrook, <strong>and</strong> Barbara Waddle; Ted formed <strong>the</strong><br />

company <strong>of</strong> Waddle Surveying Company, Inc.<br />

Waddle Surveying assists individuals <strong>and</strong><br />

companies seeking property surveys <strong>and</strong> engineering<br />

services. It surveys <strong>the</strong> l<strong>and</strong>; stakes it for<br />

property lines <strong>and</strong> poles to be set for utilities,<br />

running lines, <strong>and</strong> easements.<br />

The business primarily does <strong>the</strong> surveying<br />

<strong>and</strong> engineering for subdivisions, business<br />

structures <strong>and</strong> residential developments. In<br />

addition, it operates a side business for printing<br />

copies <strong>of</strong> plats or o<strong>the</strong>r diagrams for people.<br />

Waddle Surveying has five employees who<br />

do loan plats for subdivisions, surveys for golf<br />

courses, apartments, lot lines for fences to be<br />

erected, etc.<br />

Ted sold a third <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> business to Griff<br />

Clements, a former employee <strong>and</strong> registered<br />

l<strong>and</strong> surveyor. In <strong>the</strong> mid-1980s, Waddle<br />

bought <strong>the</strong> stocks he had sold Clements when<br />

Clements went out on his own. “Our son, Ted,<br />

Jr. became vice president some years ago <strong>and</strong><br />

president in 2014. My wife, Barbara remains<br />

secretary <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> company,” says Ted.<br />

Ted <strong>and</strong> Barbara were married in 1949 in<br />

Stearns, Kentucky <strong>and</strong> moved to <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>,<br />

Georgia in 1951, a year after <strong>the</strong>ir first child,<br />

Ted, Jr., was born. Donna, Debbie <strong>and</strong> Tim were<br />

born in Macon, but <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> is “home.”<br />

The couple has been active in many community,<br />

school, scout, <strong>and</strong> political endeavors.<br />

Top: Ted <strong>and</strong> Barbara Waddle family<br />

Thanksgiving, 2016 at <strong>the</strong> family<br />

home.<br />

Bottom: Representative Theodore<br />

(Ted) W. Waddle, Sr., Georgia State<br />

Legislature, District 113, 1973-1991.<br />

Sharing <strong>the</strong> Heritage ✦ 113


WOMEN, PC<br />

The doctors <strong>and</strong> certified midwives <strong>of</strong><br />

Physicians for Women, P.C. St<strong>and</strong>ing<br />

(from left to right): Dr. Vijaya Vella,<br />

Dr. Manoj Shah, Dr. Thekkepat<br />

Sekhar, <strong>and</strong> Dr. Sarah Stanescu.<br />

Seated (from left to right): Cindy<br />

Foster, CNM, <strong>and</strong> Holly Cross, CNM<br />

Women throughout Middle Georgia rely on<br />

Physicians for Women in <strong>Warner</strong>-Robbins for<br />

high quality obstetrical <strong>and</strong> gynecological care.<br />

The highly qualified staff includes Dr. Manoj<br />

Shah, Dr. Thekkepat Sekhar, Dr. Vijaya Vella,<br />

<strong>and</strong> Dr. Sarah Stanescu, as well as midwives<br />

Holly Cross <strong>and</strong> Cindy Foster <strong>and</strong> a dedicated<br />

support team.<br />

Physicians for Women provides highly<br />

pr<strong>of</strong>essional services in <strong>the</strong> fields <strong>of</strong> gynecology,<br />

obstetrics, <strong>and</strong> midwifery, <strong>and</strong> procedures<br />

<strong>and</strong> imaging.<br />

Dr. Manoj Shah is Board Certified in<br />

Obstetrics <strong>and</strong> Gynecology <strong>and</strong> completed his<br />

post-graduate training at <strong>the</strong> Henry Ford<br />

Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. Dr. Shah, who<br />

has lived in <strong>Warner</strong> Robbins since 1985. Made<br />

history as <strong>the</strong> first physician in Houston<br />

County to serve as president <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Medical<br />

Association <strong>of</strong> Georgia. His special interests<br />

include urinary incontinence, uterolvaginal<br />

prolapse, cystocele, rectocele, menopausal<br />

symptoms, laparoscopic minimally invasive<br />

surgery, <strong>and</strong> infertility. Dr. Shah’s three children<br />

were educated in <strong>the</strong> Houston County School<br />

System. He is very active in <strong>the</strong> community <strong>and</strong><br />

sponsors teacher awards, as well as supporting<br />

<strong>the</strong> Science Fair.<br />

Dr. Thekkepat Sekhar is Board Certified in<br />

obstetrics <strong>and</strong> gynecology <strong>and</strong> has been in<br />

practice with Physicians for Women since 2001.<br />

He completed his residency in obstetrics <strong>and</strong><br />

gynecology at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston,<br />

Illinois, <strong>and</strong> is fellowship in pelvic surgery also<br />

at St. Francis.<br />

Dr. Vijaya Vella is Board Certified in<br />

obstetrics <strong>and</strong> gynecology. She completed her<br />

internship <strong>and</strong> residency at Temple University<br />

Hospital in Philadelphia. Dr. Vella skillfully<br />

takes care <strong>of</strong> women throughout <strong>the</strong>ir lifetime.<br />

She is particularly adept at management <strong>of</strong> highrisk<br />

pregnancies, surgical <strong>and</strong> non-surgical<br />

management <strong>of</strong> utero-vaginal<br />

prolapse, <strong>and</strong> minimally invasive<br />

techniques for performance <strong>of</strong><br />

hysterectomy.<br />

Dr. Sarah Stanescu completed her<br />

training in obstetrics <strong>and</strong> gynecology<br />

at MedStar Washington Hospital<br />

Center <strong>and</strong> Georgetown University<br />

Hospital in Washington, D.C. She<br />

joined Physicians for Women in 2017<br />

<strong>and</strong> welcomed her son, Felix, in<br />

2018. Dr. Stanescu believes in<br />

empowering women in <strong>the</strong>ir own<br />

care. She has particular interests in<br />

contraceptive counseling, PCOS,<br />

abnormal bleeding, <strong>and</strong> evidencebased<br />

labor management.<br />

Also on <strong>the</strong> staff at Physicians for<br />

Women are two highly trained <strong>and</strong><br />

experienced midwives, Holly Cross<br />

,CNM <strong>and</strong> Cindy Foster, CNM. Holly<br />

has a master’s degree in nursing science<br />

from Frontier Nursing University <strong>and</strong> is<br />

certified in midwifery by <strong>the</strong> American College<br />

<strong>of</strong> Nurse Midwives. Cindy graduated with<br />

honors from Frontier Nursing University with a<br />

master’s degree in Nursing <strong>and</strong> received her<br />

certification from <strong>the</strong> American Midwifery<br />

Certification Board.<br />

At Physicians for Women, each patient is<br />

treated with compassionate care <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> latest<br />

in diagnostic <strong>and</strong> surgical techniques. Whe<strong>the</strong>r<br />

it’s a simple pregnancy or a complicated<br />

disorder, patients can depend on <strong>the</strong> doctors<br />

<strong>and</strong> nurses at Physicians for Women for <strong>the</strong> very<br />

best treatment.<br />

Physicians for Women is located at 1021 N.<br />

Hoouston Road in <strong>Warner</strong>-Robbins. To learn<br />

more, please visit www.pfwobgyn.com.<br />


As workers buzz about finalizing preparations<br />

for <strong>the</strong> dinner crowd, customers begin to file<br />

into Sushi Thai Restaurant in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>.<br />

Owner Gigi Villareal-Tebbe looks around <strong>and</strong><br />

smiles, her passion for her restaurant <strong>and</strong><br />

customers evident.<br />

She points to a young couple with a fouryear-old<br />

in tow. That couple, she says, has been<br />

coming here since <strong>the</strong>y started dating. The child<br />

even has her own regular order now, a<br />

California roll or octopus sashimi.<br />

At <strong>the</strong> hi-top table, several college students<br />

are celebrating <strong>the</strong> start <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir senior year; <strong>and</strong><br />

at <strong>the</strong> corner booth, two businessmen are<br />

discussing business. At <strong>the</strong> sushi bar, a group<br />

clad in fatigues appear at home as <strong>the</strong>y sip on<br />

cocktails <strong>and</strong> enjoy what <strong>the</strong>y describe as “<strong>the</strong><br />

best sushi in Middle Georgia.” Gigi excuses<br />

herself to give a big hug to one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> soldiers<br />

who has just returned from Iraq.<br />

And <strong>the</strong>n, <strong>the</strong>re are <strong>the</strong> newlyweds who<br />

requested to be seated in <strong>the</strong> l<strong>of</strong>t, <strong>the</strong> most<br />

romantic spot in <strong>the</strong> restaurant; <strong>the</strong> very place,<br />

in fact, he had popped <strong>the</strong> question one year<br />

ago today.<br />

“People ask me why I love this place. This is<br />

why,” says Gigi, herself a regular at <strong>the</strong> restaurant<br />

from <strong>the</strong> time it opened in 2003 until she<br />

purchased it in 2006.<br />

A former California <strong>and</strong> Manila, Philippines<br />

resident <strong>and</strong> flight attendant who traveled <strong>the</strong><br />

globe for almost twenty years, Gigi says that she<br />

chose <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> after visiting a relative.<br />

She was looking for someplace with “more trees,<br />

less traffic <strong>and</strong> plenty <strong>of</strong> friendly people” <strong>and</strong><br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> fit <strong>the</strong> bill.<br />

Having given up flying to raise her family,<br />

Gigi put her pre-med degree to work, serving<br />

many years as an Administrator for a large<br />

Middle Georgia medical practice. She continued<br />

working that job by day <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> restaurant by<br />

night until <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> 2015 when she decided to<br />

focus solely on <strong>the</strong> restaurant. Growing up, her<br />

children enjoyed working beside her at <strong>the</strong><br />

restaurant <strong>and</strong> still lend a helping h<strong>and</strong> when<br />

she needs it. Now a lawyer, her eldest helps<br />

her out with legal issues, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> second is an<br />

in-dem<strong>and</strong> graphic artist who helps her with<br />

her marketing <strong>and</strong> menu designs. Her son,<br />

Gianni, helps her run <strong>the</strong> family business <strong>and</strong><br />

currently serves as <strong>the</strong> main sushi chef alongside<br />

Sushi Thai’s executive chef Jason Belanio <strong>and</strong> a<br />

full team <strong>of</strong> highly-skilled <strong>and</strong> experienced<br />

chefs preparing au<strong>the</strong>ntic Thai <strong>and</strong> Japanese<br />

cuisine daily.<br />

Fully renovated in 2016 <strong>and</strong> designed by<br />

Gigi to have a “more open, warm <strong>and</strong> inviting<br />

atmosphere,” Sushi Thai Restaurant became <strong>the</strong><br />

“talk <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> town” after it re-opened. It seats<br />

approximately 200 people <strong>and</strong> features two<br />

function rooms for private <strong>and</strong> business<br />

functions complete with HDMI flat screen<br />

TVs. It is located at 2624 Watson Boulevard,<br />

Unit D, in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>and</strong> is repeatedly<br />

voted “Best <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Best” by readers <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Macon Telegraph year after year. For more<br />

information, please visit www.sushithaiwr.com<br />

or call 478- 923-0898.<br />



Sushi Thai Restaurant is located<br />

2624 Watson Boulevard, Unit D, in<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>.<br />

Sharing <strong>the</strong> Heritage ✦ 115


WEALTH<br />


This is a sample caption.<br />



Local native William “Billy” Griggers always<br />

knew he wanted a career helping people.<br />

Getting <strong>the</strong>re though took determination,<br />

recognizing advantageous job opportunities,<br />

<strong>and</strong> learning <strong>the</strong> business from <strong>the</strong> ground up.<br />

He was willing to put in <strong>the</strong> time <strong>and</strong> effort,<br />

however, <strong>and</strong> in 2006, founded what is today<br />

known as Griggers Wealth Management.<br />

Located at 314 Corder Road in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>,<br />

Griggers Wealth Management (GWM) is a fullservice<br />

planning <strong>and</strong> investment firm, which<br />

specializes in providing clients with<br />

individualized portfolio management, retirement<br />

planning, <strong>and</strong> estate planning as well as tax<br />

reduction strategies. The company also engages in<br />

business consulting, particularly helping business<br />

owners select <strong>the</strong> most effective <strong>and</strong> beneficial<br />

retirement plans. As <strong>of</strong> 2018, <strong>the</strong> company<br />

manages over $120 million in assets for clients.<br />

“Wealth management is <strong>the</strong> process <strong>of</strong><br />

investing your wealth <strong>and</strong> developing strategies<br />

to put your money to work for you,” said<br />

Griggers. “Whe<strong>the</strong>r an individual, family or<br />

business, we underst<strong>and</strong> that each client has a<br />

different situation <strong>and</strong> it is our responsibility to<br />

help each one find <strong>the</strong> strategies <strong>the</strong>y need for<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir unique situation; to work toward<br />

protecting what is important to <strong>the</strong>m.”<br />

Griggers added that he <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> GWM team<br />

are proud to have <strong>the</strong> strong backing <strong>of</strong> LPL<br />

Financial, a national broker/dealer with which<br />

he has a longst<strong>and</strong>ing association. In fact, LPL<br />

Financial was actually <strong>the</strong> broker/dealer<br />

Griggers selected in 2000 when he launched his<br />

own independent financial firm, <strong>the</strong> predecessor<br />

<strong>of</strong> today’s GWM. An LPL Registered Investment<br />

Advisor Representative with LPL Financial <strong>and</strong><br />

its financial advisors <strong>of</strong>fer GWM clients a wide<br />

array <strong>of</strong> investment advisory programs <strong>and</strong><br />

services <strong>and</strong>, in so doing, have a fiduciary<br />

responsibility to act in each client’s best interest<br />

<strong>and</strong> to make full-<strong>and</strong>-fair disclosure <strong>of</strong> all<br />

material conflicts <strong>of</strong> interest.<br />

Prior to starting his own business, Griggers<br />

attended <strong>and</strong> graduated from Mercer University<br />

with a Bachelor <strong>of</strong> Business Administration<br />

(BBA) in management <strong>and</strong> a Master <strong>of</strong> Business<br />

Administration (MBA) in finance. After<br />

college, he spent almost two decades<br />

honing <strong>and</strong> sharpening his knowledge <strong>of</strong><br />

investments, insurance <strong>and</strong> financial planning<br />

at a number <strong>of</strong> respected local institutions<br />

such as Prudential Securities Corporation,<br />

SunTrust Bank, GE Capital <strong>and</strong>, finally, First<br />

Liberty Bank.<br />

It was after First Liberty was sold in 1999<br />

that he decided to open his own investment<br />

firm. Colleague Russell Pierce signed on in <strong>the</strong><br />

very beginning, while Hillary Ma<strong>the</strong>ws came<br />

on board in 2005. Following a long career<br />

with CB&T Bank, Julia Granade rounded out<br />

<strong>the</strong> team in 2012 when <strong>the</strong> company<br />

became Griggers Financial Services, LLC. In<br />

2013, <strong>the</strong> company began doing business as<br />

Griggers Wealth Management, a name Griggers<br />

feels better reflects <strong>the</strong> ever-exp<strong>and</strong>ing scope<br />

<strong>of</strong> business.<br />

As for <strong>the</strong> future, Griggers says he looks<br />

forward to his son, James, a finance student at<br />

Mercer University, joining <strong>the</strong> business fulltime.<br />

He <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> entire GWM team also look<br />

forward to continuing to grow <strong>the</strong> business<br />

based on <strong>the</strong> company’s founding principles <strong>of</strong><br />

traditional values, hard work, loyalty,<br />

uncompromising quality, personal service <strong>and</strong><br />

community involvement.<br />

For more information, call 478-225-6750 or<br />

visit www.griggerswealth.com.<br />

Securities <strong>and</strong> advisory services <strong>of</strong>fered<br />

through LPL Financial, a registered investment<br />

advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC.<br />


More than sixty years ago, Vera Williams<br />

Dunagan’s love <strong>of</strong> children <strong>and</strong> her passion to<br />

help <strong>the</strong>m get a great start in life prompted her<br />

to develop <strong>the</strong> Meadowdale Learning Center in<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>.<br />

She started <strong>the</strong> center in 1957 as a daycare<br />

facility on Meadowdale Drive that has since<br />

grown into a thriving family-owned business.<br />

Later, North Davis Drive was opened. Vera<br />

retired in 1971; <strong>and</strong>, her son, Olen with wife Pat,<br />

<strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir three sons (Wade, Russell <strong>and</strong> Kelly)<br />

moved from Birmingham, Alabama to take over<br />

<strong>the</strong> business, contributing greatly to its growth.<br />

Following Vera’s death in 1975, Olen <strong>and</strong> Pat<br />

built <strong>and</strong> opened Meadowdale Learning Centers<br />

on Elberta Road in 1977, Moody Road in 1981,<br />

<strong>and</strong> Leverette Road in 1993. Wade <strong>and</strong> Donna<br />

Williams built <strong>and</strong> opened Houston Lake Road<br />

center in Perry in 1990. When Olen <strong>and</strong> Pat<br />

retired in 2006, Wade <strong>and</strong> Donna, along with<br />

Kelly <strong>and</strong> Michelle bought <strong>the</strong> business; <strong>and</strong>,<br />

Kelly <strong>and</strong> Michelle built <strong>and</strong> opened <strong>the</strong> Feagin<br />

Mill Road location in 2016.<br />

Meadowdale’s centers also provide a<br />

curriculum-based learning program in each<br />

classroom, using <strong>the</strong> High Scope <strong>and</strong> Creative<br />

Curriculums. It provides an individualized<br />

curriculum for children from six weeks-<strong>of</strong>-age to<br />

eleven years <strong>of</strong> age. In addition, it <strong>of</strong>fers GA Pre-K<br />

for four-year-olds, <strong>and</strong> nutritionally-approved<br />

breakfasts, lunches, <strong>and</strong> snacks for all.<br />

The staff is required to be Child Development<br />

Associate (CDA), Technical Certificate <strong>of</strong> Credit<br />

(TCC), <strong>and</strong> bachelors <strong>and</strong> master’s degrees. All<br />

staff is highly screened <strong>and</strong> has first aid <strong>and</strong> CPR<br />

training. They also undergo national fingerprint<br />

screening prior to employment.<br />

Meadowdale Learning Centers has served as<br />

an icon for childcare for sixty-one years in<br />

Georgia. Its facilities have been honored by<br />

multiple generations who have placed <strong>the</strong>ir trust<br />

<strong>and</strong> care <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir children to Meadowdale. It is<br />

<strong>the</strong> oldest childcare business in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>,<br />

<strong>and</strong> one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> oldest existing businesses. It<br />

attributes its success to Vera’s passion to “go<br />

above <strong>and</strong> beyond <strong>the</strong> regulations <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> state<br />

<strong>of</strong> Georgia.” It has earned <strong>the</strong> highest <strong>of</strong><br />

accreditations from National Association for <strong>the</strong><br />

Education <strong>of</strong> Young Children (NAEYC), National<br />

Early Childhood Program Accreditation<br />

(NECPA), <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Georgia Centers <strong>of</strong> Distinction<br />

Award. More recently it has become a “Quality-<br />

Rated” center.<br />

Meadowdale Learning Centers have grown<br />

into a valuable <strong>and</strong> responsible component <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> community. For additional<br />

information on Meadowdale Learning Centers,<br />

please call 478 953 5101 or 478 953 1200.<br />




Above: Vera <strong>and</strong> Lacy Dunagan in<br />

front <strong>of</strong> North Davis Drive location<br />

in 1960.<br />

Below: Feagin Mill Road location<br />

opened in 2016.<br />

Sharing <strong>the</strong> Heritage ✦ 117



Although its customer base <strong>and</strong> footprint is<br />

now global, Custom Cable Assemblies, Inc., is a<br />

family business in <strong>the</strong> truest sense.<br />

It was built from <strong>the</strong> ground up by husb<strong>and</strong><strong>and</strong>-wife-team<br />

Joe <strong>and</strong> Thérèse Di Diego <strong>and</strong> has<br />

exp<strong>and</strong>ed exponentially with <strong>the</strong> addition <strong>of</strong> a<br />

second generation <strong>of</strong> Di Diegos as well as a<br />

number <strong>of</strong> long-time employees that have become<br />

more like extended family than employees.<br />

Specializing in providing its growing customer<br />

base with all types <strong>of</strong> flexible, semi-rigid <strong>and</strong> semiflexible<br />

coaxial cable assemblies, Custom Cable<br />

Assemblies (CCA) actually got its start in 1985 on<br />

Long Isl<strong>and</strong>, New York, where <strong>the</strong> Di Diegos lived;<br />

however, when an opportunity to fur<strong>the</strong>r advance<br />

<strong>the</strong> business in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> came about in<br />

1989, <strong>the</strong>y packed up <strong>the</strong> business <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir four<br />

young sons <strong>and</strong> journeyed nearly a thous<strong>and</strong> miles<br />

to <strong>the</strong> place <strong>the</strong>y would soon call home.<br />

The company was incorporated as a Georgia<br />

company in January 1990 <strong>and</strong> started out with<br />

a lean, but dynamic workforce <strong>of</strong> three—Joe<br />

<strong>and</strong> Thérèse Di Diego <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir first-ever<br />

Georgia hire, R<strong>and</strong>y Francis. Now <strong>the</strong><br />

company’s quality/process manager, Francis<br />

celebrates his thirtieth anniversary with CCA in<br />

2019. Ano<strong>the</strong>r longtime employee, Tina Ward,<br />

joined <strong>the</strong> company in 1996 <strong>and</strong> currently<br />

serves as lead technician <strong>and</strong> inspector.<br />

As teenagers, even <strong>the</strong> Di Diego’s sons—<br />

Christopher, Paul, Brian, <strong>and</strong> Anthony—<br />

pitched in, working diligently during school<br />

breaks <strong>and</strong> holidays. Anthony, however, was <strong>the</strong><br />

only one who chose to make CCA his career <strong>and</strong><br />

joined <strong>the</strong> company full-time in 2001.<br />

Joe <strong>and</strong> Thérèse are quick to credit <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

veteran employees as well as <strong>the</strong>ir sons as central<br />

to <strong>the</strong>ir company’s success after its relocation to<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>. They also point to son Anthony<br />

<strong>and</strong> his wife, Anne, as being instrumental in <strong>the</strong><br />

explosive growth <strong>the</strong> company has experienced<br />

over <strong>the</strong> last two decades. Anthony Di Diego,<br />

now a full partner in <strong>the</strong> company, doubles as<br />

sales <strong>and</strong> production manager, while Anne, who<br />

joined on in 2003, serves as inventory manager<br />

<strong>and</strong> is fondly describe by <strong>the</strong> CCA family as <strong>the</strong><br />

company’s “right h<strong>and</strong>.”<br />

Outgrowing its facilities twice over <strong>the</strong> years,<br />

<strong>the</strong> company currently has a 7,000-square-foot<br />

manufacturing facility <strong>and</strong> home <strong>of</strong>fice located<br />

at 105 Whiting Way in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>. It<br />

employs fifteen full-time staffers <strong>and</strong> serves<br />

clients in <strong>the</strong> U.S. Department <strong>of</strong> Defense <strong>and</strong><br />

o<strong>the</strong>r areas <strong>of</strong> government as well as clients in<br />

<strong>the</strong> aerospace, telecom, wireless <strong>and</strong> scientific<br />

industries worldwide.<br />

And, yet, it remains a family business; a family<br />

business that may very well be training up its<br />

third generation as Anthony <strong>and</strong> Anne Di Diego’s<br />

teenage children, Allie <strong>and</strong> AJ, follow in <strong>the</strong>ir dad’s<br />

<strong>and</strong> uncles’ footsteps spending <strong>the</strong>ir summer <strong>and</strong><br />

school vacations learning <strong>the</strong> CCA ropes.<br />

Toge<strong>the</strong>r, all <strong>the</strong> Di Diegos <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> CCA<br />

family plan to keep growing <strong>and</strong> serving <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

clients as well as <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> community;<br />

a community which has become <strong>the</strong>ir home <strong>and</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> canvas upon which <strong>the</strong>y have created a<br />

successful local business with a global impact.<br />

For more information on CCA, please visit<br />

www.customcableinc.com.<br />




On July 8, 1980, <strong>the</strong> Air Force approved <strong>the</strong><br />

establishment <strong>of</strong> a museum at <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force<br />

Base. The first Museum building opened to <strong>the</strong><br />

public in November 1984 in a surplus building<br />

brought from Dobbins Air Force Base in Marietta,<br />

Georgia. Ano<strong>the</strong>r aircraft hangar was added in<br />

1990 <strong>and</strong> in 1992 a new three story “Eagle”<br />

building was revealed. The Museum <strong>of</strong> Aviation<br />

Foundation <strong>the</strong>n raised money to add <strong>the</strong><br />

60,000-square-foot Century <strong>of</strong> Flight Hangar in<br />

1995 <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> newest 60,000-square-foot Scott<br />

Exhibit Hangar in 2008.<br />

Today, <strong>the</strong> Museum <strong>of</strong> Aviation in <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong>, Georgia, is one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> largest aviation<br />

museums in <strong>the</strong> United States <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> major U.S.<br />

Air Force Heritage, Exhibit <strong>and</strong> Education Center<br />

in <strong>the</strong> Sou<strong>the</strong>ast. The Museum is <strong>the</strong> second largest<br />

museum in <strong>the</strong> U.S. Air Force <strong>and</strong> one <strong>of</strong> only ten<br />

aviation museums in <strong>the</strong> United States to be<br />

accredited by <strong>the</strong> American Alliance <strong>of</strong> Museums.<br />

The Museum sits on fifty-one acres adjacent<br />

to <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base. In addition to four<br />

large exhibit buildings with over two hundred<br />

thous<strong>and</strong> square feet <strong>of</strong> exhibit <strong>and</strong> education<br />

classroom space, <strong>the</strong> museum has a restoration<br />

hangar, an archives building, a carpenter shop<br />

<strong>and</strong> a large aircraft-parts storage building.<br />

Admission is free <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> museum is open 9<br />

a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, 362 days a year.<br />

The Museum has a large collection <strong>of</strong><br />

approximately eighty-five historic U.S. Air Force<br />

aircraft, missiles <strong>and</strong> cockpits dating from a<br />

replica <strong>of</strong> a 1896 glider to modern aircraft in<br />

today’s U.S. Air Force inventory. Just a few<br />

notable aircraft include <strong>the</strong> actual SR-71 that set<br />

<strong>the</strong> world absolute speed record <strong>of</strong> 2,193 mph, B-<br />

25, B-29, B-52 <strong>and</strong> B-1B bombers as well as an<br />

UH-1F “Huey” climb in.<br />

The Museum Foundation operates interactive<br />

world-class education programs through its<br />

National STEM Academy which focuses on<br />

science, technology, engineering, ma<strong>the</strong>matics<br />

(STEM) <strong>and</strong> history. Opportunities for learners<br />

ages four through adult are conducted both on<br />

school sites <strong>and</strong> at <strong>the</strong> Museum <strong>of</strong> Aviation. An<br />

average <strong>of</strong> fifty-six thous<strong>and</strong> students <strong>and</strong> teachers<br />

take part in National STEM Academy education<br />

programs each year.<br />

Above: A F-15A “Eagle” on display at<br />

<strong>the</strong> Museum <strong>of</strong> Aviation.<br />

Below: The Museum <strong>of</strong> Aviation is<br />

located at 1942 Heritage Boulevard<br />

next to <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base. Please<br />

visit www.museum<strong>of</strong>aviation.org for<br />

more information.<br />

Sharing <strong>the</strong> Heritage ✦ 119

PERRY-<br />


COUNTY<br />



Above: PXE strives to promote general<br />

<strong>and</strong> business aviation <strong>and</strong> provide<br />

facilities <strong>and</strong> services to meet current<br />

<strong>and</strong> future needs.<br />

Below A pair <strong>of</strong> CH-53 Super<br />

Stallions waiting on <strong>the</strong> tarmac.<br />

The world was at war in July 1942, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

military was in <strong>the</strong> midst <strong>of</strong> building its<br />

airpower to fight <strong>the</strong> enemy. After <strong>the</strong> founding<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base, a need was cited for a<br />

training facility <strong>of</strong>f base. (It was feared that<br />

pilots who were in training would interfere with<br />

<strong>the</strong> necessary aircraft operations at <strong>Robins</strong>.)<br />

Opening in July 1942, <strong>the</strong> airport was an<br />

auxiliary training facility for Army pilots. After<br />

WWII ended in 1945, <strong>the</strong> City <strong>of</strong> Perry obtained<br />

<strong>the</strong> field <strong>and</strong> developed it into a municipal<br />

airport, opening in May 1947.<br />

In March 1971, Georgia General Assembly<br />

created <strong>the</strong> Perry-Fort Valley Airport Authority. The<br />

property was ninety percent in Peach County <strong>and</strong><br />

ten percent in Houston County, which set <strong>of</strong>f a tax<br />

nightmare. In March 1994, <strong>the</strong> Assembly created<br />

<strong>the</strong> Perry-Houston County Authority, annexing <strong>the</strong><br />

airport property into <strong>the</strong> City <strong>of</strong> Perry.<br />

A temporary trailer served as <strong>the</strong> first<br />

terminal, with <strong>the</strong> present terminal being built<br />

in 1999. The runway was updated in 2002 to its<br />

present size <strong>of</strong> 100 feet by 5,000 feet to<br />

accommodate larger aircraft.<br />

PXE, as <strong>the</strong> airport is known, is located on<br />

approximately 500 acres in Houston <strong>and</strong> Peach<br />

Counties. Eight employees dispense 100,000<br />

gallons <strong>of</strong> aircraft fuel annually. Total aircraft<br />

operations total more than 20,000 annually.<br />

The organization has grown at a healthy rate<br />

with fourteen aircraft based <strong>the</strong>re in <strong>the</strong> late 1970s<br />

to eighty-seven in 2018. There were ten open T-<br />

hangers available in in <strong>the</strong> late 1970s. Today, <strong>the</strong>re<br />

is approximately 180,000 square feet <strong>of</strong> hanger<br />

space with 10 open t-hangars, 56 closed t-hangars,<br />

<strong>and</strong> 8 corporate hangars. PXE strives to promote<br />

general <strong>and</strong> business aviation <strong>and</strong> provide facilities<br />

<strong>and</strong> services to meet current <strong>and</strong> future needs. A<br />

new terminal is being planned, with upgraded aircraft<br />

<strong>and</strong> vehicle parking; as well as extending <strong>the</strong><br />

runway for general aviation aircraft.<br />

PXE is headquartered at 200 Myrtle Field<br />

Road in Perry, Georgia <strong>and</strong> on <strong>the</strong> Internet at<br />

www.pxeairport.com.<br />





BUREAU<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, Georgia has proven to be a<br />

great place to l<strong>and</strong> as our neighbors across <strong>the</strong><br />

railroad tracks at <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base frequently<br />

comment. It has been named <strong>the</strong> “most affordable<br />

city in Georgia,” by liveability.com because <strong>of</strong> its<br />

quality <strong>of</strong> life, nationally known aviation history,<br />

<strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base, Museum <strong>of</strong> Aviation,<br />

Georgia Aviation Hall <strong>of</strong> Fame, award winning<br />

education system, <strong>and</strong> good health index. The city<br />

has grown in seventy-five years to <strong>of</strong>fer walking<br />

trails, golf courses, attractions, a local history<br />

museum, continuous live Little Theatre,<br />

Community Concerts, award winning sports<br />

programs, ballet <strong>and</strong> everything you expect to<br />

experience in an energetically thriving community<br />

looking to <strong>the</strong> future.<br />

In 1989, <strong>the</strong> Mayor <strong>and</strong> Council <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> launched <strong>the</strong> City Promotion Committee<br />

which was funded to create <strong>and</strong> promote events.<br />

The effort was so successful that soon <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Convention & Visitors Bureau<br />

(CVB) was <strong>of</strong>ficially created <strong>and</strong> remains in <strong>the</strong><br />

business <strong>of</strong> promoting <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> beyond<br />

<strong>the</strong> city limits as a destination. The CVB manages<br />

<strong>and</strong> coordinates <strong>the</strong> tourism attraction <strong>and</strong><br />

marketing efforts while reaching out to tour<br />

operators, meeting planners, both business <strong>and</strong><br />

leisure travelers <strong>and</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r visitors to <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong>. The vision <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> CVB Boards <strong>of</strong><br />

Directors over <strong>the</strong> years has contributed to<br />

tourism product development <strong>and</strong> consistent<br />

rising visitation translating to millions <strong>of</strong> dollars<br />

in tax revenues collected locally <strong>and</strong> for <strong>the</strong> state.<br />

In fact, tourism is one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> largest<br />

industries in Georgia generating $63.1 billion<br />

according to <strong>the</strong> latest reported figures from<br />

U.S. Travel Association. Today in Houston<br />

County 2,131 jobs are supported through <strong>the</strong><br />

tourism industry <strong>and</strong> a whopping $237.09<br />

million was spent locally last year by tourists!<br />

The CVB Board <strong>and</strong> staff are honored to have<br />

partnered with <strong>Planes</strong>, <strong>Trains</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Heroes</strong>: <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>Story</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>Region</strong>,<br />

1943-2018 to commemorate <strong>the</strong> city’s seventyfifth<br />

anniversary. We salute all <strong>the</strong> men, women<br />

<strong>and</strong> families over <strong>the</strong> years—both civilian <strong>and</strong><br />

military—who each left <strong>the</strong>ir imprint on what<br />

truly has become “a city <strong>of</strong> destiny”<br />

Above: Caboose SOU X556 was<br />

donated to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> CVB<br />

<strong>and</strong> is available to give visitors a<br />

glimpse <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> region’s railroad history.<br />

Below: The E. L. Greenway Welcome<br />

Center at 99 Armed Forces<br />

Boulevard North. Please visit <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> CVB online at<br />

www.<strong>Warner</strong><strong>Robins</strong>VisitorsCenter.com.<br />

Sharing <strong>the</strong> Heritage ✦ 121



Top: The Fairfield Inn & Suites by<br />

Marriott <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> is located at<br />

221 Margie Drive.<br />


Middle: The Courtyard <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> is located at 589 Carl<br />

Vinson Parkway.<br />


Bottom: C<strong>and</strong>lewood Suites <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> is located at 110 Willie<br />

Lee Parkway.<br />


Entrepreneur Danny Patel founded PeachState<br />

Hospitality in 1989 with a sixteen-unit,<br />

independent motel in Montezuma, Georgia. Since<br />

<strong>the</strong>n, Patel has developed over fifty franchised <strong>and</strong><br />

independent hotels throughout <strong>the</strong> sou<strong>the</strong>astern<br />

United States. Among <strong>the</strong>m are three hotels in<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, Georgia.<br />

The AAA Three-Diamond Fairfield Inn &<br />

Suites by Marriott <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> is located near<br />

<strong>the</strong> Air Force Base, Little League International<br />

Sou<strong>the</strong>ast <strong>Region</strong> Headquarters, Museum <strong>of</strong><br />

Aviation, Lane Peach Orchard, Macon State<br />

College <strong>and</strong> Middle Georgia Technical School.<br />

With easy access to I-75, I-16, <strong>and</strong> Highway 41<br />

in Mid-Georgia, <strong>the</strong> hotel features seventy-four<br />

spacious guest rooms <strong>and</strong> luxurious suites with<br />

large, wireless work area for business guests,<br />

complete with meeting room, ideal for small-tomedium<br />

meetings.<br />

In addition, rooms include a forty-inch TV,<br />

microwave <strong>and</strong> refrigerator. Or, enjoy a hear<strong>the</strong>althy<br />

breakfast, compliments <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> “house.”<br />

Ano<strong>the</strong>r desirable lodging facility is<br />

Courtyard by Marriott <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>. Larger<br />

than <strong>the</strong> Fairfield Inn, it features 106 rooms<br />

with refrigerators <strong>and</strong> Smart Televisions. It<br />

provides wireless Internet access to keep<br />

business guests “in touch” with <strong>the</strong>ir business<br />

associates. Bathrooms have complimentary<br />

toiletries <strong>and</strong> hair dryers. It has all <strong>the</strong> features<br />

<strong>of</strong> home including telephones, desks, c<strong>of</strong>fee/tea<br />

makers; <strong>and</strong> fitness equipment to help keep<br />

guests healthy while on <strong>the</strong> road. These include<br />

an indoor pool, spa tub, <strong>and</strong> a twenty-four-hour<br />

fitness center.<br />

Food is served daily in <strong>the</strong> restaurant, <strong>and</strong><br />

breakfast is cooked to order for a fee. Those in<br />

a hurry need only to visit <strong>the</strong> hotel’s c<strong>of</strong>fee<br />

shop/café. At <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> day, you can relax<br />

with a drink in <strong>the</strong> hotel’s bar/lounge.<br />

Whe<strong>the</strong>r guests are traveling for business or<br />

pleasure, <strong>the</strong>y can bask in <strong>the</strong> comfort <strong>of</strong> one <strong>of</strong><br />

C<strong>and</strong>lewood’s spacious, welcoming suites; get<br />

down to business at an executive desk <strong>and</strong> enjoy<br />

easy communication with a speakerphone,<br />

voicemail <strong>and</strong> complimentary high-speed<br />

Internet access. Or just relax in a comfy recliner<br />

<strong>and</strong> listen to a favorite CD or DVD from <strong>the</strong><br />

hotel’s free lending library. If cooking is on <strong>the</strong><br />

agenda, you can cook up a home-style meal in a<br />

fully equipped kitchen or barbecue a steak in<br />

<strong>the</strong> outdoor grill area after picking up food <strong>and</strong><br />

provisions at C<strong>and</strong>lewood Cupboards, <strong>the</strong><br />

onsite convenience store.<br />

PeachState Hospitality’s mission statement is,<br />

“Delivering Meaningful Experiences.”<br />


They are in <strong>the</strong> business <strong>of</strong> business <strong>and</strong> have<br />

been since a group <strong>of</strong> forward-thinking <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> entrepreneurs <strong>and</strong> businessmen got <strong>the</strong><br />

ball rolling back in 1949, just six years after <strong>the</strong><br />

town <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> was incorporated.<br />

Although <strong>the</strong> name has since been changed<br />

from <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce<br />

to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>Region</strong>al Chamber to better reflect<br />

its scope <strong>and</strong> reach, <strong>the</strong> local chamber was <strong>of</strong>ficially<br />

inked into existence on November 5, 1949<br />

by Georgia’s <strong>the</strong>n Secretary <strong>of</strong> State Benjamin W.<br />

Fortson, Jr.<br />

Four days later, <strong>the</strong> first <strong>of</strong>ficers were elected<br />

by twenty local men who attended an inaugural<br />

organizational meeting. In addition to 11<br />

directors, Daniel K. Grahl, publisher <strong>of</strong> The<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Press, was elected as <strong>the</strong><br />

chamber’s first president that November 9th.<br />

Meetings were initially held at <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> City Hall where <strong>the</strong> chamber shared an<br />

<strong>of</strong>fice with <strong>the</strong> United Givers Fund until 1961<br />

when <strong>the</strong> organization built its own building<br />

located at 1420 Watson Boulevard.<br />

Today, <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>Region</strong>al Chamber represents<br />

roughly eight hundred member businesses <strong>and</strong> is<br />

located at 1228 Watson Boulevard in <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong>, its modern façade a fitting face for a continually<br />

growing organization dedicated to promoting<br />

better economic climate <strong>and</strong> assisting with<br />

business growth throughout <strong>the</strong> city <strong>and</strong> region.<br />

“Our Chamber serves as an advocate for <strong>the</strong><br />

business community by being <strong>the</strong> voice <strong>of</strong><br />

business to government at all levels,” said current<br />

President <strong>and</strong> CEO April Bragg as <strong>the</strong> organization<br />

celebrated its seventieth anniversary in November<br />

2019. “Whe<strong>the</strong>r you are a small business with one<br />

employee, or a large corporation, <strong>the</strong> Chamber<br />

helps provide you with access to government<br />

<strong>of</strong>ficials <strong>and</strong> keeps you informed on important<br />

legislation that could impact your business. Our<br />

organization serves to link businesses, military<br />

organizations <strong>and</strong> individuals toge<strong>the</strong>r through<br />

collaborative partnerships <strong>and</strong> initiatives to<br />

streng<strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>Region</strong>’s long-term<br />

economic vitality, business success, job creation<br />

<strong>and</strong> quality <strong>of</strong> life.”<br />

To learn more about <strong>the</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>Region</strong>al<br />

Chamber <strong>and</strong> its many benefits, programs <strong>and</strong><br />

resources <strong>the</strong>y <strong>of</strong>fer, such as <strong>the</strong> Eggs & Issues<br />

Breakfast Series <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir exemplary leadership<br />

development programs, please call 478-922-<br />

8585 or visit www.robinsregion.com.<br />

ROBINS<br />



Top, left: Community <strong>and</strong> base<br />

leadership ga<strong>the</strong>r toge<strong>the</strong>r at<br />

Chamber Eggs & Issues.<br />

Top, right: Leadership <strong>Robins</strong> <strong>Region</strong><br />

Retreat at Rock Eagle<br />

Bottom, left: Youth Leadership <strong>Robins</strong><br />

<strong>Region</strong> with Governor Brian Kemp.<br />

Bottom, right: Growing our<br />

community one business at a time.<br />

Sharing <strong>the</strong> Heritage ✦ 123



Above: Darrell Yelverton, <strong>the</strong>n<br />

<strong>and</strong> now.<br />

Below: Yelvertown Jewelers is located<br />

at 98-A S Houston Lake Road in<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>.<br />

Yelverton Jewelers has marked many<br />

significant moments in peoples’ lives, from<br />

birthdays <strong>and</strong> anniversaries, to marriage<br />

proposals. At Yelverton Jewelers we have <strong>the</strong><br />

privilege <strong>of</strong> bringing you <strong>the</strong> very best customer<br />

service provided in a warm <strong>and</strong> comfortable<br />

family atmosphere.<br />

Working in <strong>the</strong> jewelry industry since 1984,<br />

Darrell Yelverton desired to open his own<br />

store, toge<strong>the</strong>r in 1997 Darrell Yelverton <strong>and</strong><br />

Wayne Crow opened <strong>the</strong>ir doors with preowned<br />

equipment <strong>and</strong> cases in 700 square<br />

feet. Two <strong>and</strong> a half years later, in 2000, <strong>the</strong>y<br />

moved to <strong>the</strong>ir 1,800-square-foot current<br />

location which now has two on-staff jewelers<br />

<strong>and</strong> ten employees.<br />

Darrell Yelverton has<br />

mastered <strong>the</strong> art <strong>of</strong> custom<br />

designing jewelry <strong>of</strong> all types.<br />

Customers describe an idea,<br />

<strong>the</strong>n Darrell <strong>and</strong> staff produce it,<br />

giving close attention to detail<br />

<strong>and</strong> uniqueness. Adding to <strong>the</strong><br />

sketch drawing in 2013, he<br />

introduced a computer aided<br />

design CAD CAM. This tool<br />

allows customers to visualize<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir designs in 3-D <strong>and</strong> take<br />

part in <strong>the</strong> design process.<br />

Almost all repairs are done on<br />

<strong>the</strong> premises. Yelverton Jewelers<br />

prides <strong>the</strong>mselves with <strong>the</strong> most<br />

technology advanced workshop in <strong>the</strong> Middle<br />

Georgia area, recently adding a laser welder.<br />

Yelverton Jewelers caters to a loyal customer<br />

base with <strong>the</strong> smallest needs to <strong>the</strong> larger<br />

orders, with clients all over <strong>the</strong> United States<br />

<strong>and</strong> around <strong>the</strong> world. As our customers<br />

move away from <strong>the</strong> area, <strong>the</strong>y <strong>of</strong>ten wait<br />

to have <strong>the</strong>ir jewelry repaired or custom made<br />

when <strong>the</strong>y visit <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>. Many will<br />

email requests with purchases or items <strong>the</strong>y<br />

want made.<br />

Darrell Yelverton has earned his diplomas in<br />

diamonds <strong>and</strong> color stone from GIA<br />

(Gemological Institute <strong>of</strong> America). His son,<br />

Gatlin Yelverton, is preparing to take over <strong>the</strong><br />

family business by pursuing his GIA studies,<br />

completing his classes on pearls, diamonds,<br />

<strong>and</strong> applied jewelry pr<strong>of</strong>essional degree.<br />

Darrell’s daughter, Callee Yelverton, has helped<br />

by working in <strong>the</strong> store for <strong>the</strong> past four years,<br />

as well.<br />

Darrell belongs to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce <strong>and</strong> Better Business<br />

Bureau <strong>and</strong> support many local charities. He sits<br />

on <strong>the</strong> board <strong>of</strong> directors for The H.A.L.O.<br />

Group <strong>of</strong> Middle Georgia, is actively involved<br />

with champions for children program with<br />

Middle Georgia Easter Seals, <strong>and</strong> also works<br />

with Central Baptist youth ministry.<br />

Moving from Mobile, Alabama, at a very<br />

young age, Darrell has lived in <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

since 1966. Graduating from Northside high<br />

school <strong>and</strong> working in retail his whole life, he<br />

truly knows everyone. He believes this helps in<br />

owning a business because he has personal<br />

relationships with his clients.<br />


Since its origins in 1973, as a small regional<br />

publishing company based in San Antonio,<br />

Texas, Lammert Inc. has been in <strong>the</strong> business <strong>of</strong><br />

helping its customers tell <strong>the</strong>ir stories in <strong>the</strong><br />

most compelling <strong>and</strong> powerful ways possible.<br />

Working with a wide variety <strong>of</strong> clients—from<br />

corporations to civic organizations to individuals<br />

<strong>and</strong> families, Lammert Inc. emerged as a force in<br />

<strong>the</strong> publishing industry.<br />

The company initially produced specialty publications,<br />

such as an <strong>of</strong>fice building directory for<br />

<strong>the</strong> North San Antonio Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce,<br />

<strong>and</strong> a pictorial roster for <strong>the</strong> San Antonio Bar<br />

Association. Over <strong>the</strong> last four decades, Lammert<br />

published hundreds <strong>of</strong> directories, maps, <strong>and</strong><br />

magazines for chambers <strong>of</strong> commerce <strong>and</strong> civic<br />

groups across <strong>the</strong> country.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> mid-1990s, Lammert created a new division,<br />

Historical Publishing Network (HPN), <strong>and</strong><br />

focused on producing hardcover c<strong>of</strong>fee table-style<br />

history <strong>and</strong> cityscape books. The first <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se was<br />

Fire <strong>and</strong> Gold: The San Francisco <strong>Story</strong>. In <strong>the</strong> ensuing<br />

years, Lammert perfected <strong>the</strong> sponsored-book<br />

model <strong>of</strong> publishing.<br />

Conceived around <strong>the</strong> idea <strong>of</strong> an ultra-high<br />

quality hardcover chronicle <strong>of</strong> a city or county’s<br />

past, <strong>the</strong>se exceptional books were also designed<br />

to raise funds for a sponsoring organization—typically<br />

a chamber <strong>of</strong> commerce or a historical<br />

preservation group. They utilized a unique advertising<br />

mechanism, known as company pr<strong>of</strong>iles—<br />

business <strong>and</strong> institutional histories, which were<br />

purchased by organizations wishing to tell <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

individual stories, <strong>and</strong> placed in special sections <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> books.<br />

As <strong>of</strong> 2018, Lammert had published more<br />

than 140 titles using <strong>the</strong> sponsored-book<br />

model, while raising hundreds <strong>of</strong> thous<strong>and</strong>s <strong>of</strong><br />

dollars for its many sponsoring groups.<br />

Having carved out its position in <strong>the</strong> market for<br />

turnkey design, production, <strong>and</strong> marketing <strong>of</strong><br />

photography-rich c<strong>of</strong>fee table books through<br />

HPN, in 2018 Lammert Inc. signaled a new focus<br />

with <strong>the</strong> launch <strong>of</strong> its new division, HPN Custom<br />

Media & Publishing (HPN-CMP).<br />

HPN-CMP remains a one-stop source for<br />

custom media, including turnkey book design,<br />

writing, editing, <strong>and</strong> production, as well as<br />

<strong>of</strong>fering an enhanced range <strong>of</strong> customized<br />

services, including print, digital, <strong>and</strong> photo <strong>and</strong><br />

video media solutions, as well as related website<br />

design <strong>and</strong> events management services.<br />

Employees, customers, partners, <strong>and</strong> shareholders<br />

all value a credible story which unites <strong>the</strong><br />

organization’s past to its present <strong>and</strong> to its future,<br />

enhancing its community st<strong>and</strong>ing <strong>and</strong> br<strong>and</strong> reputation,<br />

or celebrating a significant anniversary,<br />

milestone, or similar event.<br />

The unique mix <strong>of</strong> talents <strong>and</strong> expertise<br />

brought to bear in a HPN project culminates in a<br />

remarkable creation—a breathtaking, photo-rich,<br />

c<strong>of</strong>fee table book.<br />

The book may be complemented by a<br />

dedicated website, digital “flip-book,” <strong>and</strong>/or by<br />

related events to commemorate a historical<br />

milestone, introduce or promote a product or<br />

br<strong>and</strong>, or to present an organization’s annual<br />

report with more impressive visuals. As a gift to<br />

associates, partners, current <strong>and</strong> prospective<br />

employees, clients, <strong>and</strong> civic <strong>of</strong>ficials, <strong>the</strong> book<br />

serves as a powerful marketing tool.<br />

For more information, or to inquire about<br />

producing your own publication, please visit<br />

www.hpncustommedia.com.<br />


DBA<br />

HPNBOOKS &<br />


MEDIA &<br />


Sharing <strong>the</strong> Heritage ✦ 125


21st Century Partnership ...........................................................................................................................................................110<br />

Academy <strong>of</strong> Dance .......................................................................................................................................................................77<br />

American Legion Post 172............................................................................................................................................................90<br />

Buzzell Plumbing, Heating <strong>and</strong> Air Conditioning .......................................................................................................................106<br />

Central Georgia Periodontics <strong>and</strong> Dental Implants........................................................................................................................96<br />

Clean Control Corporation.........................................................................................................................................................100<br />

Combined Employees Credit Union ...........................................................................................................................................109<br />

Custom Cable Assemblies...........................................................................................................................................................118<br />

Davis Printing Company ..............................................................................................................................................................77<br />

Family Dental Associates ..............................................................................................................................................................92<br />

First United Methodist Church <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>.........................................................................................................................78<br />

Flint Energies .............................................................................................................................................................................104<br />

Georgia Military College...............................................................................................................................................................94<br />

Golden Key Realty......................................................................................................................................................................102<br />

Griggers Wealth Management .....................................................................................................................................................116<br />

Heart <strong>of</strong> Georgia Hospice .............................................................................................................................................................82<br />

Jimmy Spinks, State Farm Agent ..................................................................................................................................................98<br />

Meadowdale Learning Centers....................................................................................................................................................117<br />

Mercer University School <strong>of</strong> Engineering <strong>and</strong> Mercer Engineering Research Center ......................................................................80<br />

Middle Georgia State University .................................................................................................................................................108<br />

Museum <strong>of</strong> Aviation ...................................................................................................................................................................119<br />

National Exterminating Company, Inc. .........................................................................................................................................77<br />

Northrop Grumman ...................................................................................................................................................................112<br />

PeachState Hospitality ................................................................................................................................................................122<br />

Perry-Houston County Airport Authority ...................................................................................................................................120<br />

Phillips Furniture.........................................................................................................................................................................77<br />

Physicians for Women, PC..........................................................................................................................................................114<br />

<strong>Robins</strong> <strong>Region</strong>al Chamber ..........................................................................................................................................................123<br />

Sacred Heart Catholic Church <strong>and</strong> School ....................................................................................................................................84<br />

Sou<strong>the</strong>rn Lighting ........................................................................................................................................................................86<br />

Strato, Inc. ...................................................................................................................................................................................77<br />

Sushi Thai Restaurant.................................................................................................................................................................115<br />

Vision Savers, Inc.......................................................................................................................................................................111<br />

Waddle Surveying Company, Inc................................................................................................................................................113<br />

<strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Convention & Visitors Bureau ............................................................................................................................121<br />

Wellston Decorating .....................................................................................................................................................................88<br />

Word in Season Ministries............................................................................................................................................................77<br />

Yelverton Jewelers ......................................................................................................................................................................124<br />




Dianne Dent Wilcox uses research, memories, <strong>and</strong> photographs to capture history. An<br />

award winner in history, writing, <strong>and</strong> education, Wilcox taught ten years <strong>of</strong> middle <strong>and</strong><br />

high school English, taught twenty years at Georgia Military College’s <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

campus, <strong>and</strong> now works at GMC’s Eastman campus. She serves as Humanities Division<br />

Chair, fielding emails to instructors <strong>of</strong> English, art, music, <strong>the</strong>atre, religion, philosophy,<br />

communications, French, German, Spanish, <strong>and</strong> creative writing across Georgia.<br />

In 2018, she published Georgia Patchwork: Pictures <strong>and</strong> Personalities <strong>of</strong> 159 Counties <strong>and</strong><br />

is excited to have contributed to <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>’ seventy-fifth anniversary piece, <strong>Planes</strong>,<br />

<strong>Trains</strong> & <strong>Heroes</strong>.<br />

About <strong>the</strong> Author ✦ 127

Marsha Priest Buzzell, <strong>Warner</strong><br />

<strong>Robins</strong> Convention & Visitors<br />

Bureau director.<br />

On March 5, 1943 a bill passed through <strong>the</strong> Georgia State Legislature incorporating a<br />

new municipality in middle Georgia. Originally known as York, <strong>the</strong>n Wellston, <strong>the</strong><br />

community was <strong>of</strong>ficially named <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> after General Augustine <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>.<br />

What was described in Atlanta newspapers as “a city <strong>of</strong> destiny”, <strong>the</strong> citizens <strong>and</strong> work<br />

force today can proudly celebrate <strong>the</strong> 75th Diamond Anniversary <strong>of</strong> “keeping <strong>the</strong>m flying<br />

since 1943”.<br />

<strong>Planes</strong>, <strong>Trains</strong> & <strong>Heroes</strong> is a tribute to <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> community whose reputation<br />

for Sou<strong>the</strong>rn hospitality is legendary by living <strong>the</strong> motto Every Day in Middle Georgia<br />

is Armed Forces Appreciation Day – EDIMGIAFAD! It began when troops <strong>and</strong> civilians<br />

arrived, <strong>of</strong>ten by train, to serve at what is now <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base. A rural Georgia<br />

farming community grew from supporting <strong>the</strong> World War II effort into one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> largest<br />

industrial complexes in <strong>the</strong> state.<br />

Today, <strong>the</strong> historic train depot is <strong>the</strong> E. L. Greenway Welcome Center, whose namesake<br />

was instrumental in <strong>the</strong> planning <strong>and</strong> zoning <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> City <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>. It st<strong>and</strong>s on<br />

<strong>the</strong> corner <strong>of</strong> Watson Boulevard, named after C. B. “Boss” Watson, <strong>the</strong> first mayor (1943-<br />

1950), <strong>and</strong> Armed Forces Boulevard (formerly First Street) directly across from <strong>the</strong> Main<br />

Gate <strong>of</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base. St<strong>and</strong>ing as a legacy, <strong>the</strong> property is listed on <strong>the</strong> National<br />

Register <strong>of</strong> Historic Places <strong>and</strong> includes <strong>the</strong> Elberta Depot Heritage Center, <strong>the</strong> au<strong>the</strong>ntic<br />

Mildred’s Country Store, <strong>and</strong> a historic Sou<strong>the</strong>rn Railroad Caboose.<br />

The book project is a partnership <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> City <strong>of</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong>, <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong><br />

Convention & Visitors Bureau, <strong>the</strong> Museum <strong>of</strong> Aviation, <strong>Robins</strong> Air Force Base, <strong>Robins</strong><br />

<strong>Region</strong> Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Warner</strong> <strong>Robins</strong> Oral History Project. An<br />

advocate <strong>of</strong> preserving Georgia’s history, culture <strong>and</strong> folklore, author Dianne Wilcox<br />

continues <strong>the</strong> story <strong>Planes</strong>, <strong>Trains</strong> & <strong>Heroes</strong>. Truly <strong>the</strong> rest is history.<br />

We salute <strong>the</strong> men <strong>and</strong> women <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> United States Armed Forces. Thank you <strong>and</strong> your<br />

families for your service <strong>and</strong> sacrifices as defenders <strong>of</strong> freedom.<br />


ISBN: 978-1-944891-67-1<br />

$34.95<br />

Historical Publishing Network