Tuesday, May 10, 2022
Tifton, Georgia
Tifton Grapevine
Medal of Honor recipient Ralph Puckett, a Tifton native, is the subject of a new graphic novel detailing the incident during the Korean War that led him to receive the nation's highest military decoration.

Released last week by the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), a non-profit organization devoted to supporting the Army and its soldiers, the short illustrated book is similar to a comic book. It was created by professional comic-book artists who have worked on such comics as Batman, The Green Lantern, Justice League, Superman, Black Panther, Spider-Man, Iron Man, and X-Men.

Puckett, a retired Army colonel, commanded the 8th U.S. Army Ranger Company during the Korean War. In November 1950, he led his unit in the capture of a frozen hilltop near the Chinese border and faced multiple counterattacks where they were outnumbered almost 10-to-one.

Puckett was severely wounded but, according to his Medal of Honor citation, showed "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. He purposefully exposed himself to draw enemy fire to expose the enemy position, and moved from foxhole to foxhole to check on his men.

He lost 10 men in that battle and had another 31 injured. After being wounded several times himself, once by grenade fragments and then twice more when two mortars landed in his foxhole, Puckett was barely conscious. He ordered his Rangers to leave him behind and abandon the position.
But his men ignored his orders, carrying him and dragging him down the hill as they received enemy fire. After being medically evacuated, Puckett was in the hospital for a year recovering from his wounds.

An inaugural member of the Ranger Hall of Fame, Puckett went on to serve with distinction in Vietnam and train generations of Rangers. Now age 95, he resides in Columbus near Fort Benning. He was awarded the Medal of Honor in May 2021, more than 70 years after the fight in Korea. 

Puckett is the latest Medal of Honor winner to receive the graphic novel treatment from the AUSA, the first being Sgt. Alvin York in 2018.

"These full-color digital books are created by a talented team of professionals drawn from the world of the comic-book industry, and the details are vetted by professional historians," said Joseph Craig, director of the AUSA book program.

"Each issue profiles a true American hero, bringing to life the daring deeds that distinguished themselves by gallantry in action 'above and beyond the call of duty.'”

To download a free copy of the Ralph Puckett graphic novel, Click Here! The AUSA plans a paperback collection of its Medal of Honor series this fall.
Latricia Sumner, third from left, a victims advocate for the Tifton Judicial Circuit, receives the Liberty Bell Award on Thursday by the Tifton Bar Association. Also pictured are, from left, District Attorney Bryce Johnson, State Court Judge Herbert Benson, and Tifton Judicial Circuit Bar Association President Cameron Roberts at right.
for the Tifton Grapevine
The Tifton Bar Association presented Latricia Sumner, a local advocate for crime victims, with the 2022 Liberty Bell award at a dinner Thursday during a Law Day celebration.

Sumner, a victims assistance advocate for the Tifton Judicial Circuit, was chosen by the circuit’s attorneys. The Liberty Bell is the most prestigious award given by lawyers to a non-lawyer.

“I was very humbled and surprised. I couldn’t do it without everyone here,” Sumner said. “To have people you work with thank that about you is very humbling.”

Sumner left her long-time career in the food industry 12 years ago to begin her role as advocate. She makes the initial and ongoing contact with victims to explain the criminal justice process and inform them of their rights and the services available. She also serves as a liaison between the prosecutor and the victim.

Victims of rape, assault, and other violent acts, as well as their families, benefit from Sumner’s caring personality, said Tift State Judge Herbert “Herby” Benson.

Sumner “is there to hold their hand, offer a shoulder to cry on, and she stays close right up until the time a verdict is rendered,” Benson said.

Latricia has to meet the victim shortly after they have had their world turned upside down. She is one of those special people who goes above and beyond for the victims in our community. She is one of the most important people in our community.”

Sumner primarily handles Tift County cases as Tift is the largest county in the circuit and has the highest rate of violent crimes, Benson said, noting that 1,410 people received assistance in Tift County in 2020 and another 1,200 in 2021.

Sumner, who people might remember had worked at Shoney’s, continues her love for cooking and contributes cakes and other treats when employees have birthdays or when another special occasion is celebrated.

“Latricia’s life experiences coupled with her amazing personality has created the perfect recipe,” Benson said. “She has provided the people in the circuit with an unexpected blessing.”

A celebration of life for the late attorney Sandy Sims was also observed following the dinner.
An Ocilla man was charged last week with drug- and firearm-related offenses following a joint investigation by regional law enforcement agencies.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said that Reginald Eugene Ford, 48, of Ocilla, was arrested and charged with trafficking cocaine, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and possession of tools for the commission of a crime.

The GBI Southwestern Regional Drug Enforcement Office, South Central Drug Task Force, Irwin County Sheriff’s Office, and the Georgia Department of Corrections conducted the joint investigation.

The South Central Drug Task Force gathered information that led agents to believe illegal drug activity was occurring at 188 Foxy Lane in Ocilla, the GBI said. Agents found probable cause and executed a search warrant at the property, recovering 783 grams of cocaine, crack cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, a handgun, and tools used to manufacture crack cocaine.
Former Tifton City Councilman Johnny Terrell Jr., a former vice mayor of the city, died Saturday after a short illness.

First elected in 2009, Terrell was a three-term council member, serving a term as vice mayor. He completed his last term at the end of 2021.

Terrell was a Vietnam veteran and was retired from Lowe’s.

A Tifton native, Terrell was born on Collins Street in South Tifton and later served that area as its representative on City Council.

When he first sought political office, Terrell said he had always been around politics and that his community encouraged him to run. He had said among the reasons he was seeking office was because young people in South Tifton needed a place to go for positive activities, which would be a deterrent to crime.

His vision is soon coming to fruition with the neighborhood youth center being constructed at 511 West 17th St. across from Matt Wilson Elementary School.

The funeral is expected to be on Saturday. Details were incomplete at press time.

After Friday's wet weather forced events indoors Friday night, Saturday brought blue skies for Tifton's Arts in Black Festival at Fulwood Park.

Sparrow Tanks won the youth poetry contest, pictured at right with Clara Gray, the Poetry Contest chair.

The festival celebrating African-American culture featured music, food, crafts, and more.
A multimedia event, titled “Stone and Story” and exploring the literary trail of Merlin the Magician and King Arthur, is opening Wednesday, May 11, at the Gallery of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College's Georgia Museum of Agriculture.

A collaboration between the gallery and ABAC’s School of Arts and Sciences, the exhibit combines photos, the written word, and a documentary film. A “Cookies and Cokes” reception will accompany the opening at 5 p.m.

A group of ABAC writers and filmmakers, led by ABAC Professor Tom Grant, embarked on an international adventure last summer, visiting sites in England and Wales. They collected stories, documented each stop with photographs, and filmed a documentary.

“Visual arts, stunning drone photography, exceptional writing, and award-winning filmmaking are woven together to present this event,” said Museum Curator Polly Huff.

“The stories and photographs will be on display in the GMA Gallery, and the documentary will be shown publicly for the first time at the exhibit’s opening, and then again daily for the duration of the exhibition.”

The filmmakers walked the moors of Cornwall, climbed into Merlin’s cave below Tintagel Castle, and shared the summer solstice with druids at Stonehenge. In search of the mystical site of Avalon, they spent the night on the slopes of Glastonbury Tor, hiked the mountains of Wales, and boated to a remote island off the coast.

To discover the world of Merlin, they traveled to his birthplace in Carmarthen as well as the mountain where he supposedly freed the red dragon that now flies on the Welsh flag. They interviewed Oxford professors, business owners, and writers who see the story of Merlin and Arthur as rooted in the distant past yet still unfolding today.

As author Paul Broadhurst told the crew, “The landscape is alive.”
Click Here for information
The Georgia Chamber of Commerce's New Georgia Economy Tour stops in Tifton on Wednesday.

The event begins at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 11, at the Chamber's Center for Rural Prosperity at 1001 Love Ave.

The state Chamber is hosting a series of in-person planning events known collectively as the 2022 New Georgia Economy Tour.

“Our goal with the tour is to listen and collect information from hardworking Georgians that can help us plan a more resilient economy,” said Georgia Chamber President & CEO Chris Clark.

“In 2016, we conducted a similar tour that identified key trends Georgia would face in the coming years. With the onset of COVID-19, factors that were to evolve over 10 years rapidly took shape in 2020, demanding a re-evaluation of what we would need to consider in our planning for the next decade. This strategy will deliver some of those answers and help us prepare for the future.”
Melody Cowart, Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce president/CEO, said the tour "provides valuable information to assist our local community in planning for the future. We look forward to working with the Georgia Chamber in hosting this event and offering up feedback from our community for how Georgia can best move forward." 

To register for Wednesday's event, Click Here.
"Winifred is among many five- to eight-week-old kittens available for adoption at the Tift County Animal Shelter. To adopt Winifred or see other pets available, visit the shelter between 1-6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, or call 229-382-PETS (7387).
Pets of the Week are sponsored by:
Branch's Veterinary Clinic
205 Belmont Ave., Tifton, 229-382-6055
~ MAY 11, 1910
A Tifton Chamber of Commerce was organized at an enthusiastic meeting of local businessmen on May 11, 1910. C.W. Fulwood was elected president; E.A. Buck, vice president; and W.W. Banks, second vice president. H.H. Tift was elected chairman of the Chamber’s Board of Governors. Other board members elected were W.H. Hendricks, C.L. Parker, J.J.L. Phillips, J.L. Herring, L.P. Skeen, C.C. Guest, Briggs Carson, J.J. Golden, B.W. Mills, W.S. Cobb, John W. Greer, and I.W. Myers.
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