Friday, June 18, 2021
Tifton, Georgia
GrapeNew
NEW ARMY VIDEOS FULLY TELL STORY
OF TIFTON NATIVE'S HEROICS IN WAR
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
Recent videos by the U.S. Army more fully tell the story of Tifton native Ralph Puckett Jr., who recently received the Medal of Honor from President Biden for heroic actions during the Korean War.

Colonel Puckett, 94, is an Army Ranger legend who lives in Columbus. Despite being gravely wounded in battle in Korea, he still looked out for his men. He later refused a medical discharge and ended up serving on the front lines during the Vietnam War. His service continued at Fort Benning, training Rangers and serving as a role model for young recruits.

Puckett, who grew up in Tifton before leaving for West Point, said his father Ralph Puckett had the greatest influence on his life.

"He taught me some great lessons," Puckett said: "Live a moral life; be a man; do what’s right, be strong enough to take risks and overcome them."

In the newly released U.S. Army video below, Puckett's accomplishments and his legacy are detailed.
Another video released by the Army at Fort Benning, includes extensive interviews with Puckett and shows him talking about growing up in Tifton in the 1920s and '30s.

Colonel Puckett’s military honors include the Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Stars, three Legions of Merit, two Bronze Stars with V device for valor, five Purple Hearts, 10 Air Medals, the Army Commendation Medal and the World War II Victory Medal, among others.

In addition, he has the Combat Infantryman’s Badge with star, Special Forces Tab, Ranger Tab, Master Parachutist Wings, Glider Badge and Columbian Lancero Ranger Badge.

Ralph Puckett is a true American hero who has done Tifton and America proud. He deserves a celebration in his honor in his hometown.

The video produced at Fort Benning is below.
Vickie Hickman, Tift County Emergency Management Agency director, tells Chamber of Commerce members Thursday to be prepared for hurricanes and other disasters.
EXPECT BUSY STORM SEASON TIFT EMERGENCY HEAD SAYS
By BONNIE SAYLES
Tifton Grapevine
With the first named storm already formed on May 22, experts are expecting an above-average hurricane season this year, Tift County Emergency Management Agency Director Vickie Hickman told the Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce on Thursday

“Hurricane season officially started June 1,” Hickman said. “We’ve already had (storms) 'Ana' and 'Bill' come and gone.”

She said the EMA’s job is to make sure emergency responding agencies, such as fire departments, rescue, and EMS, have what they need in a disaster.

The agency is also responsible for reporting damage after a hurricane, tornado, or other disaster in order for the state or federal government to declare a state of emergency and allow recovery funding. 

“We need businesses to inform us if you have damage (and how much the damage is valued at) in order to get a declaration,” Hickman said.
 
She said Tifton is at the center of many highways, so people evacuating coastal regions come through or stop and stay here. 

“We start working a week before a hurricane makes landfall,” she said. EMA works with local hotels and rescue groups to make sure they’re prepared with resources before the influx of evacuees. “It pays to plan ahead.” 

Hickman said businesses should have a plan for how to conduct business if managers and employees can’t return to their offices.

She said people should know how to use fire extinguishers and know to turn off HVAC systems and seal up cracked windows in case of an outdoor gas leak, adding that “if you knew what these trains are hauling through town, it would blow your mind.” 
MOREHOUSE COLLEGE ALUMNI TO HONOR TIFTON'S SOLOMON NIXON JR.
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
Solomon Nixon Jr. of Tifton, a risk management consultant and a licensed funeral director, will be among those honored Saturday by the Atlanta Metro Chapter of the Morehouse College Alumni Association.

The “Honoring Our Fathers” Awards and Fundraising Breakfast is the signature annual event of the Morehouse Alumni Association. This year the event will be virtual.

It recognizes outstanding work done by fathers, mentors, and father figures while raising funds to support Morehouse students through the Atlanta chapter’s “Filling the Gap Fund” Scholarship.

Nixon was nominated for the honor; a post on social media notes that Nixon is "an amazing father to Solomon III and a great influence to others in his village."

His family's business – Frank and Solomon Nixon Funeral Home – is Tifton's oldest African-American business with continuous operation for 96 years. In 2018, the funeral home was inducted  into the National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association's Hall of Fame.

Nixon accepted that honor on behalf of Nixon Funeral Home. "We live by one true family motto: Service," Nixon had said at the time. His grandfather, Frank T. Nixon, established the funeral home in 1925.

The Morehouse College alumni “Honoring Our Fathers” Awards and Fundraising Breakfast begins online at 10 a.m. Saturday. Tickets, available here, are $50 with all proceeds going to the scholarship fund.

Morehouse College is a private, historically black, men's liberal arts college in Atlanta.
FORMER BLUE DEVIL ASST. COACH RETURNS AS HEAD BASEBALL COACH
Greg Williams is returning to Tift County High School as the new head baseball coach for the Blue Devils.

During its meeting Thursday night, the Tift County Board of Education approved hiring Williams to the faculty at Tift County High, where he will immediately assume the baseball coaching duties.

Williams previously served as a Tift County assistant coach before leaving in 2015 to take the head coach position in Cook County.

“We are happy to welcome Coach Williams back to the Blue Devil army. Our process was efficient, quick, and exhaustive. We talked baseball with numerous coaches across the state of Georgia and beyond," said Superintendent Adam Hathaway.

"Coach Williams has the qualities, traits, and most importantly understands the cultural beliefs we were looking for. We continue our unwavering support of our student athletes by adding a coach of his caliber to our athletic program and the faculty at Tift County High School.”

Williams spent 10 years as Lamar County’s head coach, where he led the Trojans to seven postseason berths. Williams will be leaving Cook High, where he has served as head baseball coach. As a head coach, Williams has amassed 284 career wins. He was recognized by the Georgia Dugout Club in 2019 when he surpassed his 200th career win.

“Coach Williams understands hard work, success, and what it means to be a Blue Devil,” said TCHS principal Chad Stone. “I look forward to Coach Williams striving to build a culture that makes both Blue Devil baseball and TCHS better today than yesterday.”
TIFTON EXCHANGE CLUB NAMES
2021 OFFICER OF YEAR
The Exchange Club of Tifton recently presented the 2021 Officer of the Year Award to Deputy Lt. Mike Watts, a member of the Tift County Sheriff's Office. 

In the photo from left are Exchange Club member Angie Saturday, Lt. Mike Watts, Tift County Sheriff Gene Scarbrough, Club President Danny Hoover, Club Public Safety Chair Carla Carlson and Exchange Club member Levetta Jefferson.
TIFT COUNTY REPORTS 3 MORE
COVID-19 CASES IN PAST WEEK
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
Tift County has recorded three additional confirmed coronavirus cases in the past week, according to data from the Ga. Department of Public Health (DPH).

As of Thursday, the DPH said Tift has had 101 deaths and 3,478 total confirmed cases of COVID-19. There were seven new confirmed cases in the past two weeks, the DPH reported.

Tift County's new confirmed cases translate to 17 per 100,000 population, the DPH said. The county’s positive testing rate during the two-week period is 2.2%.

On Thursday, Georgia reported 369 new cases with 21 additional deaths and 43 new hospitalizations. The state has had a total of 900,368 confirmed cases and 18,368 related deaths, the DPH said.
Rick Register with
Bennett Harrison
Register with
Alyssa Cain
Register and
John Curtis Falotico
TIFTON ROTARY INDUCTS MEMBERS, RECAPS PAST YEAR'S ACTIVITIES
By BONNIE SAYLES
Tifton Grapevine
The Tifton Rotary Club inducted three of four new members Wednesday, and President Rick Register recapped the club’s activities during the past year. 

Bennett Harrison, Alyssa Cain, and John Curtis Falotico received their Rotary pins and packets as new members. Harrison moved to Tifton three years ago and runs a retirement planning firm. He expressed appreciation for all the people who have helped him meet new friends in “The Friendly City.”
 
Cain is the regional director of Visiting Angels, a home-care organization providing personal care aides to assist family members in caregiving loved ones.

Falotico is the bi-vocational pastor of Enigma Baptist Church and co-manager with his sister Ann Falotico of the family-owned business Central Jewelers

“I encourage each one of you to get involved in the club,” Register told them.

Recapping the very unusual past year, Register said the club completed many activities in spite of the global pandemic.

“We never went silent,” he said. “We did a lot Zoom meetings; we met outdoors in the YMCA airnaseum, and we evolved to meeting in person again at the Tiftarea Conference Center.”

The club earned a district Gold Pendant for the year, he said. Among the activities in the 2020-21 year were a Bike Ride for Polio eradication, a Young Authors Initiative in which short stories are being published, Teddy Bears for Valentine’s Day in the pediatric unit of Tift Regional Medical Center, support for Peanut Butter & Jesus, donations of masks for Tift Regional, and dictionary donations for third graders. 

The Tifton club’s donation of $2,000 will be combined with nine other clubs’ donations in a global grant for a mobile maternal clinic for Uganda. The mobile clinic will provide prenatal health care for at-risk pregnant women where the maternal death rate is currently 50%, assistant district governor Marion Curry told the club.

“It will help with early diagnosis for complicated deliveries,” and will include sonogram equipment, Curry said.

The club’s recent Vidalia onion sale was a resounding success, with many 10-pound bags pre-sold before they arrived in Tifton.

“Our annual onion sales generated $5,200,” Register said. “They sold out immediately. The sale provides student scholarships for Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

“With four new members in a year like we’ve had, all in all, it was a good year,” Register said.
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KIWANIANS DONATE TO AKTION CLUB
Kiwanis Club of Tifton President-Elect Barbara Wilber recently presented Tifton’s Aktion Club with a donation to support its community service efforts.

At left is Aktion Club President Mike Housel and advisor Danny Hoover

Aktion Club is the only service club for adults with disabilities, with more than 10,000 members worldwide. Club members become competent, capable, caring leaders through service in the community.
Seated in the swing from left are Woman's Club President Genie McCook and members Sybil Ogelsby and Shirene Daniell. Standing are Sandi Newman of the club and the Keep Tift Beautiful (KTB) board, Jimmy Dill (KTB), Nancy Nehring, Debbie Thompson, Kim Chason, and garden coordinator Allina Bennett (KTB).
WOMANS CLUB DONATES SWING, LITTLE LIBRARY, MAGNOLIA TREE
The GFWC (General Federation of Women's Clubs) Tifton Woman's Club and Keep Tift Beautiful are inviting residents to relax on a swing and read a good book at the North Central Community Garden between 14th and 16th streets.

On Tuesday, club members donated a garden swing and a Little Free Library at the Community Garden to the Keep Tift Beautiful organization.

The Woman's Club then donated a gem magnolia tree to be planted at the administrative offices of Ruth's Cottage and The Patticake House.
From left, Allen Owens, Tift County Fire/Rescue chief; Mandy Brooks, TRMC Foundation director; and Robby Royal, Turner County EMS director, exhibit life-saving devices that the foundation donated to first responders.
TRMC GIVES CPR DEVICES TO AREA EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES
The Tift Regional Medical Center Foundation recently presented Defibtech Lifeline ARMS – Automated Chest Compression Systems – to Tift County EMS and Turner County EMS.

The units are designed to perform chest compressions at a consistent depth and rate, and will allow patients a safe transport and relocation while undergoing CPR. The Lifeline ARM will offer dependable CPR without fatigue or interrupted compressions, and frees emergency personnel to handle other functions.

The devices were funded by the TRMC Foundation's “Hearts and Diamonds” gala, a fundraising effort that raised more than $120,000 to benefit the community.
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YOUR GUIDE TO ACTIVITIES THIS WEEKEND IN THE TIFTAREA
Sunday is Fathers Day. Although it was first observed in 1910, the celebration didn't become official until June 1972, upon a proclamation by President Richard M. Nixon.
FRIDAY, JUNE 18
  • Food Truck Friday, 5-8 p.m., Country Store, Ga. Museum of Agriculture, Tifton
  • Seniors' Dance, 7:30 p.m., Leroy Rogers Senior Center, Tifton

SATURDAY, JUNE 19
  • Wiregrass Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-Noon, Georgia Museum of Agriculture, Tifton
  • Juneteenth Parade & Celebration, 10 a.m., Community Mortuary to Tift County Courthouse, Tifton
  • Watermelon Days Festival, 10 a.m., Georgia Veterans State Park, Cordele

SUNDAY, JUNE 20
  • Juneteenth Celebration, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Fulwood Park, Tifton
TIFTON GRAPEVINE'S DOG OF THE WEEK
“Petey” is available for adoption at the Tift County Animal Shelter on Highway 125 S. To see pets available for adoption, visit the shelter between 1-6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. For more information, call 229-382-PETS (7387).
Pets of the Week are sponsored by:
Branch’s Veterinary Clinic
205 Belmont Ave., Tifton, 229-382-6055  
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JUNE 10
Connie Lee "Buddy" Talley Sr., 85, Chula
James Tomey White, 85, Worth County
Eugene Joseph Oncale Jr.,
Sylvester
Dorothy “Faye” Drawdy Warren, 82, Nashville
Marilyn Faye Pope, 79, Ocilla
Willie James Marchant, 80, Fitzgerald

JUNE 11
Lillie Smith, 63, Tifton
 
JUNE 12
Ruby Inez McGee Rhodes, 83, Worth County
 
JUNE 13
Martha Cleghorn Fletcher, 91, Waterloo community
Frank Edward Hall, 74, 
Sylvester
Eugene Harold Patterson, 82, 
Worth County
Mary Ann Smith Merritt, 78, 
Warwick
Sharon Whitley, 69, Alapaha
Brooke Alexis “Lexie” Sanders, 26, Tifton
 
JUNE 14
Coil Hayward Shiver, 84, Tifton
Gordon Frank Harris, 70, 
Sylvester
James Roy Lee Pippin, 38, Enigma
 
JUNE 15
Harvey Eugene “Gene” Stone, 86, Alapaha
Geraldine “Judy” Griffin, 86, Fitzgerald
Carol Cleghorn Dusi, 64, Ocilla
JUNE 16
Sara Frances Weldon “Sally” Cravey, 97, Tifton
Willie Brown “Bill” Gribble, 66, Nashville
Sarah L. “Kitty” Gray, 65, Fitzgerald
Mark Young, 61, Irwin County
Mattie Mae Phillips, 83, Tifton
 
JUNE 17
Glenn Lamar Boyer, 74, Tifton
Tifton Grapevine
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Frank Sayles Jr.
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Bonnie Sayles
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