Monthly Archives: May 2020

Memorial Day and Remembering Those That Died for Our Freedom

At the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial,  there are over 170 acres of white Crosses and Stars of David which mark the graves of American soldiers who gave their lives to liberate Europe during World War II. The cross at plot D, row 19, grave 21 bears the name of GMC Junior College class of 1939 graduate LTC William Turner.

LTC Turner, or “Billy” as he was known by friends and family, commanded the First Battalion of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. He jumped into France with his men on D-Day. On D-Day plus one, his battalion forced a German retreat town of Vierville, but on the way to St. Come du Mont, they encountered heavy enemy resistance. At which point, LTC Turner jumped into a Sherman tank to personally direct the fire.

Thanks to his heroic leadership, the battalion was able to move forward by destroying the German position. Unfortunately, LTC Turner was killed by enemy fire during the battle.  

He was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for “outstanding leadership, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty at the cost of his life.”

Memorial Day exists for Soldiers like him—patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Where would America be without men and women like Billy — a young man from right here in Milledgeville, Georgia who was killed and buried 4,000 miles from his home.  Where would we be without those men and women who served as if America’s future and the freedom of her people depended upon them alone? Without the courage, dedication, and honor of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend freedom throughout the world, we would be lost.  GMC is proud of Billy’s service, and we will never forget his sacrifice.  This Memorial Day, we remember LTC Turner and all of our nation’s fallen heroes.

National Peace Officers Memorial Day

In 1962, the date May 15 was designated as National Peace Officers Memorial Day, a day to honor and to remember local, state, and federal peace officers nationwide who have died or become disabled while serving others in the line of duty. It is also a time to remember those fallen officers’ families and the many sacrifices they, too, have made.

Law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice include GMC Prep School and Junior College alumnus John Thomas “Sonny” King III (HS ’59, JC ’61), a Georgia Bureau of Investigation special agent killed in 1985 while serving an arrest warrant, and Prep School alumnus William “Will” E. Robinson IV (HS ’87), a Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office deputy killed in 1995 while making a traffic stop.

The John Thomas (Sonny) King III Scholarship Fund for GMC Prep School or Junior College students was established in memory of and in honor of King. Among the scholarship’s qualification criteria in order to be awarded includes students whose parent or grandparent was a law enforcement officer in Georgia killed in the line of duty.

The William E. Robinson IV Memorial Scholarship Fund was established to honor the memory of Robinson. The scholarship is awarded to GMC Prep School students from law enforcement families. It also supports the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office C.H.A.M.P.S. Program, a drug and safety awareness program for fifth-graders. The Will Robinson Memorial Run, held for more than 20 years at the GMC-Milledgeville campus, serves as a fundraiser for the scholarship.

For the past two years, the GMC-Milledgeville campus and Preparatory School have honored our area peace officers on May 15 with a morning formation wreath-laying ceremony and a complimentary lunch provided for first responders.

In the past, we have had a fabulous turnout for the lunch that has included public safety personnel from local colleges, the city of Milledgeville, Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office, Baldwin County Fire Rescue, and other first responders. Unfortunately, this year, precautions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic have required us to cancel the lunch plans.

GMC still recognized National Peace Officers Memorial Day this year by holding a wreath-laying ceremony at the Grant Parade flag pole at the Milledgeville campus on May 15 at 8:30 a.m. This year, however, it was a social-distancing private event with a Facebook Live broadcast for others to view remotely.

Let’s come together on National Peace Officers Memorial Day virtually via live stream – and in our hearts – to remember and to honor all of the men and women in law enforcement who have made the ultimate sacrifice or suffered permanent disabilities selflessly defending their communities.

Teacher Appreciation Week

Teacher Appreciation Week May 4-8, 2020

There isn’t a day, a week, a month, or a year when we don’t appreciate our wonderful and dedicated GMC Prep School teachers, as well as Junior College professors and instructors. From elementary school to college, these educators are invaluable and incredible members of the GMC Family. They are the heart of the institution.

The unexpected circumstances experienced during the coronavirus pandemic have given us even more reasons to be so very thankful for our all our educators who have shown remarkable character and resilience navigating uncharted waters. For more than a month, these dedicated individuals have shown genuine character above all by remaining focused on their commitment to teaching students and student success. No amount of distance could take that away.  For those reasons and many more, Teacher Appreciation Week – May 4 to May 8 – is more special his year.

On behalf of the entire GMC Family, I want to thank our teachers, professors, and instructors for their determination and dedication to working quickly to find ways to adapt their classes in a virtual setting. Despite the chaos and change, they still found fun and innovative ways to connect and to share laughs with their students, such as with Cool T-shirt Spirit Day for seventh graders.

Special people call for special recognition. Throughout Teacher Appreciation Week, please find ways to honor and to thank the educators who have made a difference for their students during the trying and uncertain times of the coronavirus pandemic.

Even with social distancing measures in place, there are a variety of ways to show gratitude. It can be as simple as sharing a poem, drawing, video, or quick note of thanks sent via email or posted on social media.

For those who wish to give more, one way would be to support local businesses by purchasing a gift card online for a teacher, professor, or instructor to use at a local restaurant that offers delivery or curbside pick-up. Gift cards can be sent via email or text.

Nowhere was the spirit of “we’re all in this together” more apparent during the remote-learning period of the pandemic than in the character, duty, and honor shown by our teachers, professors, and instructors at GMC. Their devotion made all the difference in helping our Prep School and Junior College students succeed academically despite it all.