Monday, November 23, 2009


Ruth, Helen, James, Winifred, and Fred, collectively known as "The Cabin Kids" appeared on the stage of the Ritz Theater in Dublin on December 5, 1939.  These five children of Beatrice Hall appeared more than twenty movies and  short films in the brief career with Hollywood's biggest stars including  Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Roy Rogers, Buster Keaton, Shirley Temple and Danny Kaye. 

They were known and loved for the singing and comedy skits.

Friday, November 20, 2009


The Acts of a Patriot

When President Jimmy Carter appointed 29-year- old Jerome Bullock of Dublin, Georgia as the Marshal of the District of Columbia in 1977, some may have considered him too inexperienced to insure the security of the Federal and Superior Courts of the nation's capital. Armed with the enduring educational influences of his maternal progenitors, an innate desire to serve in the armed forces of his country and a resolute determination to enforce laws protecting the fundamental human rights of all Americans, Bullock was well suited for the task. Though no longer in public service, Bullock utilizes his decades of experience in the field of security in advising his clients on ways of protecting the personal, property and monetary rights of Americans and American corporations from the devious activities of terrorists and criminals who are constantly attempting to undermine the lifeblood of our nation's economy.

Jerome Bullock's road to success began early in life. His mother Vivian Bullock, his grandmother Raiford Gamble Baker and his great-grandmother Leila Gamble encouraged Jerry to strive to reach high standards of achievement. Reading was a number one priority. Jerome's mother bought him a set of World Book encyclopedias. The summary of world's knowledge, which still remains in his mother's home today, encouraged the young man to seek all the knowledge he could.

Jerry started school at Millville at the urging of his mother. He rode with Principal U.I. Toler and his family and his grandmother Baker, who was a teacher at the school. In the 2nd grade, he returned to Dublin to attend Washington Street School. The following year, Jerry had "to dodge" his mother's 3rd class in favor of another teacher. In his "junior high" years, Jerry attended Susie Dasher School. From 1961 to 1965, Jerry attended Oconee High School, where he was active in the publication of the school newspaper and yearbook, in addition to a host of extracurricular activities.

Bullock's male mentors included Lucius Bacote, a former principal of Oconee High School in Dublin and Col. Holman Edmond and Bullock's father, Jerry Bullock. From an early age, Jerome Bullock idolized Col. Edmond, a decorated helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War. Edmond, who was mentored by Bullock's grandmother Leila Gamble Raiford Baker attended Tuskegee University after he ended his first term as an enlisted man. Col. Edmond became somewhat of a mythical figure in Jerome's life. Rarely did he see his hero, settling instead for exciting stories of Edmond's military service. Jerome aspired to fly, just like Col. Edmond. He worked hard to obtain his pilot's license. Not wanting to settle for just a license to fly private planes, Bullock obtained a commercial private license, an instrument flight instructor certificate, and ratings in advanced ground and instrument ground techniques. In more than three decades of flying Jerry Bullock has flown over more than two thirds of North America. Occasionally, he still flies home to Dublin. "I enjoy flying because of the tremendous mental challenge required to do it well."

After his graduation from Oconee High, Jerry turned down several offers to attend other colleges in favor of Tuskegee University, where his father, a World War II veteran, had studied after the War under the GI Bill. While at Tuskegee, Bullock participated in the ROTC program. During his last two years at Tuskegee, he was awarded an ROTC scholarship. In his senior year (1968-69), Jerry served as Cadet Commandant of the ROTC Leadership Academy.

Perhaps the first time Jerry Bullock envisioned himself as a member of the Armed Forces came during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. " I was in the 9th grade and remember listening to President John F. Kennedy's speech on the radio," Bullock remembered. Even at a young age, Jerry realized the potential seriousness of the situation. He read as many newspaper accounts of the crisis as he could. "The event made me want to go into the military as soon as possible to serve my country, but because of my age, I would have to wait another seven years to join since you had to be 21 years old to accept a commission as an officer and also be a college graduate," he recalled. The turbulent social events of the 1960s intrigued the young man, who thirsted for knowledge of what was happening around him and the world.

"I enjoyed reading the Courier Herald every day and watching news broadcasts on television and trying to understand various world issues," as he recalled what lead to a life long love of current affairs of the business, political, and public service worlds. Jerry still loves reading an unlimited source of newspapers through the magic of the Internet and discussing them with his mother. Little did Jerry realize that his thirst for news of world events would aide him in his present job of providing corporate security and investigative services.

After his graduation from Tuskegee University, Jerry Bullock was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Army. From the start of his military career, he planned on making military service a career with the ultimate goal of becoming a general. During his three and one half years in the army, Jerry served at Fort Benning, Georgia, on the Demilitarized Zone on the North Korea-South Korea border and at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. While stationed at Fort Campbell, Captain Bullock was granted permission to resign his commission to attend law school at Howard University in 1972. After graduation from law school, Capt. Bullock returned to reserve military service as a member of the 352nd Civilian Affairs Command. His unit was responsible for designing procedures for operating a civilian government after successful missions in foreign countries. It was somewhat ironic that the unit, composed of lawyers, judges, police personnel, and public officials, wasn't called to duty until the Iraq war, nearly thirty years later.

For most of his life, Jerry Bullock has sought to make the world a better place to live. With a firm understanding that laws are essential to the process, he realized that as a lawyer he would have the training to make long-lasting positive changes in the way we live. Having seen many of the atrocities committed against his race in his youth, Bullock made it a priority to work through the legal system to protect the basic human rights of the right to vote and the right to be free from fear of harm by those who hated people merely because of the color of their skin.

Perhaps the biggest impact of racial hatred in Jerry's life came in 1964, when Lt. Colonel Lemuel Penn was murdered near Athens, Georgia by a shotgun blast while traveling home from Fort Benning after a reserve training assignment. Colonel Penn's senseless death deeply disturbed Jerry, not only because he aspired to serve in the army just as the colonel, but the fact that during Penn's civilian life, the colonel was a director of vocational education and public school teacher. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he feared that the same abomination could be committed against his mother and grandmother, both of whom were teachers. In reflecting on the tragic murder of his idol Bullock said, "After this incident, I became even more determined to serve my country honorably as a soldier and a good citizen and be fair to each person that I encountered and work for equality wherever I served. When opportunities arose in my career that allowed me to serve my country, I did so to the best of my ability. I guess it was my own personal way of not letting Col. Penn down as well as countless others who had faced injustices in their military service."

Jerry Bullock's military service allowed him to attend law school under the GI Bill. To help meet his personal needs, he began working in a part time job with the U.S. Marshals Service during his second year of school. Realizing Bullock's ability in the law and his outstanding record of military service, Director Wayne Colburn and Deputy Director William Hall asked Jerry to conduct an internal investigation into a four-day hostage event which occurred in the agency's office in July 1974. Bullock zealously interviewed more than two hundred witnesses and issued his findings of fact in a report, which suggested ways of improving security in the office. Impressed with the thoroughness of his work, Colburn and Hall invited Bullock to become a full time member of the agency. Turning down an offer to join the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Jerry decided to accept the offer to join the marshal's office, a decision he never regretted and one which led to rewarding professional and personal experiences later in his career.

In 1977, an opening in the position of Marshal of the District of Columbia came open. Attorney General Griffin Bell consulted with Director Hall for a replacement. Bullock was shocked when Hall told him that he had recommended him for the job. During an interview with the Attorney General, the two fellow Georgians talked of growing up in Dublin, and his life in the army and the law.

Attorney General Bell, also a lawyer and former Infantry officer, knew that Bullock was the right man to serve as U.S. Marshal. Final approval of Bullock's nomination came from another Georgian Jimmy Carter, who discarded any notions of his inexperience. With the resolute support of two powerful Georgia senators, Herman Talmadge and Sam Nunn, Bullock was confirmed by the United States Senate and sworn into office on August 1, 1977.

The United States Marshal in each Federal Judicial District is responsible for security of the Federal court system, its judges, prosecutors, and witnesses as well as the execution of all Federal court orders. Additionally, marshals are charged with the duty of protecting Federal prisoners and apprehending Federal fugitives. Just five years after the creation of the Marshals Agency in1789, Marshal Robert Forsyth of the District of Georgia was the first marshal killed in the line of duty while serving civil papers. One of the most famous marshals was Frederick Douglass, the country's leading black advocate of abolition. Douglass, the nation's first black U.S. Marshal, appointed in 1877 by President Rutherford B. Hayes was honored by the Marshal's Service in 1979. During his dedicatory address Director Hall singled out Marshal Bullock for his distinguished service following in the legacy of Marshal Douglass.

Perhaps Marshal Jerry Bullock's most memorable assignment came in 1978 when he was responsible for the security of James Earl Ray, the convicted assassin of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when Ray testified before a House committee on assassinations. Bullock personally led the transportation of Ray from Brushy Mountain Prison in Tennessee to Washington. After weeks of extensive planning, Marshal Bullock and his team staged a surprise helicopter landing on the prison baseball field, where they picked up Ray, who had been secreted out of his cell.

Bullock approached Ray and informed him that he was now in the custody of custody of the U.S. Marshal. "I stepped forward, informed Ray who I was and told him that he was at that moment being transferred to Federal custody. I put my handcuffs on Ray before the Warden removed his handcuffs and we quickly secured his handcuffs through a waist chain for additional security," Bullock recalled. "I could tell that Ray was stunned to see that a black law enforcement officer was in charge of his custody and safety. I think that I too was struck by the turn of events at that moment. Executed with precision, the entire exchange lasted only a few moments," Bullock remembered. During Ray's trip to the capital, Ray was escorted by a team of escort personnel, including a physician should an incident occur. With an elevated level of threats against both Ray and his escorts, each member of the marshal's service wore bullet proof vests. Ray refused Bullock's offer of a vest for a protection. In a moment of ultimate irony, picture a black Federal marshal carrying a live saving vest at all times in the event that he needed to protect the man who had slain the leader of the Civil Rights movement and had destroyed the hopes and dreams of millions of Americans. Another remarkable event in Bullock's career came in the early 1980s, when Bullock was responsible for the security of John Hinckley, who was convicted of attempting to assassinate President Ronald Reagan.

After sixteen years in the U.S. Marshals Service, Jerry Bullock joined the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Justice. In a short time, he was promoted to the position of Assistant Inspector General for Investigations, a position he held until his retirement from public service in1994. During his service in the Justice Department, Bullock led a team of special agents who investigated fraud and corruption within the Justice Department. Bullock saw a need for his expertise in the private business world. His travels have led him to all nearly every continent in the world, including an assignment with the prestigious international consulting firm of Price Waterhouse Coopers.

After five years, Bullock realized that his investigative experience in the governmental and private sectors would be of aid to companies and governmental agencies. He established Bullock & Associates, Inc., a Washington, D.C. firm. Through hard work on the part of Bullock and his staff, the firm has gained a favorable reputation throughout the country. Since the passage of the Patriot Act, Bullock and his firm have provided valuable investigative services to financial institutions to seek fight money laundering operations. Investigating both large and small organizations, Bullock is surprised at the extent of terrorist activities that are
occurring on a daily basis. As a result of his investigations into banking transactions, Bullock has uncovered heretofore unknown criminal activities.

Jerry Bullock is proud to have served his country in both military and civilian capacities. "My service in both the military and the Federal government allowed me to serve in positions of a trust that required the highest security clearances in our government," Bullock said. Bullock takes a great reward in his work when his country trusts him in something that is very important to him on a personal level.

All of the time, Jerry Bullock believes, if only in a small way, that he is representing the people of Dublin and Laurens County. Just think. All of these acts of an American patriot originated right here in Dublin, where three remarkable women and a host of male role models instilled in a young man, the ideals of hard work,
education, public service and patriotism.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


The Original Big Mac

It seems strange that nearly fifty years have passed since a young man from Mobile, Alabama first took his position at first base for the Sandersville Giants. As a young boy, all Willie Lee ever wanted to do was to play baseball. Growing up in the shadows of the legendary Hank Aaron, the young man idolized the ability, desire and undaunting courage of Jackie Robinson as he broke baseball’s color barrier in 1947. When he signed a professional contract, he told a reporter that he would have paid the team to let him play baseball. He loved the game that much. Over his twenty five-year career in baseball, the tall lanky and powerful young man, affectionately known as “Stretch” for his ability to snare and scoop incoming infield throws, became the most prolific left handed home run hitter in the history of the National League, that is until his record was eclipsed by a fellow Giant Barry Bonds.

McCovey was a man of natural power, found not in a bottle, but in the desire of his heart. This is the story of Willie Lee McCovey, who began his professional baseball career as a member of the Sandersville Giants in 1955.

Willie Lee McCovey was born on January 10, 1938. While most kids his age were about to complete the requirements for graduation from high school, Willie packed his careworn bat and glove and headed to Melbourne, Florida for a try out with New York Giants. Giants scouts couldn’t help but notice his slender 6 foot four inch powerful physique and his ability to catch anything thrown at him. In addition to signing future Giant greats Felipe Alou and Orlando Cepeda, the Giants signed Willie to a minor league contract and assigned him to the organization’s Class D farm team Sandersville of the Georgia State League. His contract provided that he would be paid $175.00 a month or about six dollars a game. Willie started his career at the bottom of the Giant’s farm system. Though he grew up in the South and experienced the atrocities of racial segregation in the 1950s, Willie was the first black player ever to play for Sandersville, which was in its eighth year in the league. He was joined by two other black players Robert L. Reed and Robert Scott, a former Negro league player.

It has been said that the Giants sent Willie to Sandersville just to get rid of him. He was such an unknown that the Sandersville Progress first called him “Willie McCoohren.” It was April 25, 1955 when the young seventeen-year-old slugger was to play his first game for the Sandersville Giants. The Giants opened the 1955 season at home versus the Dublin Irish. Mayor Tom Carr of Sandersville threw out the first pitch to Mayor Felton Pierce of Dublin. Georgia State League President was the ceremonial first batter. Furman Bisher, the legendary sports columnist of the Atlanta Constitution was present to witness the birth of a legend. McCovey reached base in his first plate appearance and scored a run. The Giants went on to defeat the Irish 4-1.

The Giants and the Irish would face each other 21 more times during the season. In those games the Giants took an 11-10 advantage. McCovey batted just under .300, driving in 15 runs and smacking five home runs. The highlight of his games against the Irish came on May 26, when he belted two home runs. When he was a young man, Dublin resident Melvin Hester, remembered one of those mammoth McCovey wacks. I remember it as if it was yesterday when Hester, my Sunday School teacher, told a group of us boys that McCovey hit one over Telfair Street. Whether on several bounces or on the fly, that was a real good knock, well over 500 feet.

McCovey led the Giants to a second place finish in the Georgia State League.  Though his batting average (.305), home runs (19) and runs batted in (113) in 107 games was very impressive, they were no where near league records. McCovey did lead the league in rbi and putouts. He ended his first season 5th in runs scored, 3rd in total bases and 4th in extra base hits. Playing that season with McCovey in Sandersville was Julio Navarro, a journeyman infielder, who made it to the major leagues in the 1960s.

Willie McCovey rapidly climbed the steps of the big leagues. After successful seasons in Danville, Va. And Dallas, Tx. , he was elevated to Phoenix of the Pacific Coast League. In 1958 and the first half of the 1959 season, Willie batted .319 and .372. The Giants were in the midst of a pennant race with their arch rival foes, the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Giants needed Willie’s left handed big bat in the lineup.

He was immediately sent into the starting lineup to replace another young star and powerful hitter Orlando Cepeda, who moved to the outfield. In his very first game, McCovey went 4-4 against future Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts. He finished the season with a startling record of 13 home runs, 38 rbi and .354 batting average in 52 games, a feat which earned him a unanimous selection as National League Rookie of the Year. In 1962, with a company of heavy hitters including Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda and Felipe Alou, McCovey led the Giants to the National League Championship and a berth in the World Series. McCovey nearly became a legendary series hero only to have a series winning line drive snared by Yankee second
baseman Bobby Richardson, who preserved the American League powerhouse’s victory. Willie achieved his best season to date when he belted 44 home runs and drove in 102 runs in 1963.

It was during the seasons of 1968 through1970 when Willie McCovey began his journey to baseball immortality. In that three-year span, McCovey hit 36, 45 and 39 home runs and batted in 105, 126 and 126 runs. His 1969 season, deemed by most to be his best, led to his election as National League Most Valuable Player.

Following three seasons at the top of his game, McCovey limped through the rest of his career, frequently playing in excruciating pain. He missed a third of the ‘71 season as well a half of the ‘72 campaign. Much to the dismay of Giant fans everywhere, McCovey was sent down the Pacific Coast to the San Diego Padres for two seasons. In 1976, the aging star was again traded, this time to the Oakland A’s, across the bay from San Francisco. To the cheers of thousands of adoring fans, McCovey returned to the Giants in 1977. The height of his active baseball career came in Atlanta in 1978, when Willie McCovey became only the 12th man and the 3rd Giant ever to hit 500 home runs.

In 1986, Willie McCovey was elected to Baseball Hall of Fame with a highly respectable 81% of the ballots in his first year of eligibility. Willie was selected to a half dozen all star games and played in two world series in 1962 and 1971 with a .310 batting average. In his 2588 game career, Willie McCovey safely hit 2211 times with 521 of those hits being home runs. He drove in a remarkable 1555 runs and all the while hitting for a career average of .270, all of this accomplished by a young kid who began his dream in the lowest levels of baseball right here in East Central Georgia, trumped the doubters and when he retired in 1980 was the 12th greatest home run hitter in baseball history.