With Father's Day coming up, we thought we'd ask some Catoosa and Walker County folks to share their favorite recollections of their dads.
Walker County resident Lisa Shirley says her father, George, was strict but also knew how to have fun with his children. "He spent time playing ball with us and also taught us how to show people respect. He taught us manners and how to tell the truth."
Jonathan White of Lookout Mountain was fresh out of high school, in his first year of college at Arizona State University when his father, David, made a simple but profound comment to him. "I was talking to Dad on the phone one night and he said, 'Son, don't forget to look up. I hear the stars are really beautiful out there.' I hadn't even noticed them before that."
"My dad was one of the nicest men you could ever meet," says George Anderson, manager of Sear's Shoe Store in Fort Oglethorpe. "He put me through military school and college, but I wanted to do what my dad did. My best memories are from when we were in business together. We owned some billiard parlors and a skating rink. That's what gave me a business mind."
Jerry Sear, owner of Sear's Shoe Store, says his father taught him how to have a good work ethic by example. "He worked 80 hours a week. He taught me that if you want something, you have to work for it. When he bought me a new car, it was with the understanding that I would work for it."
Connie Rollins, who lives in Walker County, says when she was six or seven years old, she was watching the Swap Shop in Dalton and saw some ponies for sale. She called in and gave her phone number. "When Dad got home from work, Mom told him what I'd done and he got a truck and went and got those two ponies for me." Rollins says her 88-year-old father, Calvin, is a stern but giving man. "He still plants a huge garden every year and gives away most of the produce."
Reba Self recalls her father Frank's garden. "He would work in the mills all day, then come home and plow with a mule till sundown." One day, Self begged her father to let her ride on the crosstie he was using to smooth freshly plowed ground. "He said no, but I kept begging and he gave in. He said, 'Okay, but if you fall off, I'm not stopping.'" Self says her father was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1950s but declined the offer because he had a family to support and baseball didn't pay much at that time.
Tommy Kimbrell, a Walker County resident and a manager at Sear's Shoe Store, spent a lot of time with his dad growing up. "We gardened and went hunting and fishing and cut fire wood together. One day, we were fishing on a river and were passing between two bushes when a fish jumped out of the water and went down the back of my dad's shirt. He pulled his shirttail out of his pants and let it out." Kimbrell's father, Jessie, was an Atlanta police officer who installed burglar alarms at a time when the police department offered that service. "He started with the department in 1951, and they issued him a pearlhandled .38 revolver.
When he retired in 1983, he was still using the same gun and they let him keep it."
"My dad was a smart, funny man," says Walker County resident Stacy Evans. "If my sister or I got into trouble – got a ticket or had an accident, he took it in stride. When he was sick with cancer, I was driving his prized truck to the hospital and someone hit it. I dreaded telling him, but when I did, he said, 'Don't worry about it. That ain't nothing.' His family was his world." Evans says her dad, Houston, was also a good father figure to her friends.
Rossville resident Michael Stackpole says that his dad, David, was a Marine and liked things done the Marine way. "But he was a great guy. He worked his butt off every day so we could have a good lifestyle, as any father would." Stackpole, whose parents adopted him and his two younger siblings when they were eight, four and three years old, says his dad went to their sporting events and sometimes coached their teams and also took them hunting and fishing. "Dad has Parkinson's now, but he takes it like a champ and is still working."
Martha Kent, of Fort Oglethorpe, remembers her father, Dub, going to their garden and picking a watermelon for her and her brother and breaking it open right on the ground so they could eat it immediately. "He was always taking us places," says Kent. "He'd take us to the movies and the carnival and just for rides." In his later years, Dub suffered from Alzheimer's and was a resident in a nursing home and Kent went to see him every day. "He would smile real big and say, 'Did you bring me a peppermint?' and I'd say, 'You know I brought you one.'"
During his last weeks of life, when he was in the hospital, Dub offered his daughter the ultimate gift any loving but imperfect father could. "I went to see him," says Kent, "and he said to me, "Marth, I asked God to forgive me. Will you forgive me?"
Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there working hard to make their children's lives good.
A Ringgold police officer was hospitalized Monday afternoon, June 5, after a man crashed into two patrol cars at an accident scene along Interstate 75 while officers were attempting to help a stranded motorist.
According to Ringgold Police Chief Dan Bilbrey, detectives Wilborn Dycus and Patrick Mason were working multiple traffic accidents near the 348 mile marker as the result of a vehicle losing its drive shaft along I-75.
"Officers were in the process of clearing the scene when a motorist, not obeying the "Move Over Law," struck two city of Ringgold police units who were responding to assist other units already on scene," Bilbrey said.
Bilbrey says the police vehicles had their blue warning lights activated at the time of the incident.
Detective Mason, who was not in his vehicle at the time, escaped the incident unharmed. However, Dycus, who was in his vehicle, had to be extricated from the vehicle.
"He (Dycus) sustained several broken bones and may require surgery," Bilbrey said.
The agency says Dycus is in good spirits and is expected to make a full recovery.
Georgia State Trooper First Class Brian Dedmon says he worked the scene also, and charged the driver with two traffic offenses.
"The driver, Veodis Gaines, failed to maintain his lane and struck both Dycus and Mason's vehicles," Dedmon said. "I charged Mr. Gaines with failure to maintain lane and the "Move Over Law".
Bilbrey and the Ringgold Police Department want to extend their thanks and appreciation to the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department, Georgia State Patrol, MCCD, and Catoosa County Fire and EMS for their assistance during this incident.
"We also want to thank the community for the outpouring of thoughts and prayers for the officers involved," Bilbrey said.
Catoosa County sheriff's detectives have an open investigation into three possible acts of vandalism that occurred to county school buses Memorial Day weekend.
According to the Sheriff's Department, a county bus driver and one of the school system's employees called police on May 26 following an incident on Boynton Drive in which an unknown offender damaged a bus windshield.
The bus driver told deputies that she was traveling on Boynton Drive near Baggett Road when a person in a truck either shot or threw an object at the windshield of the bus, reports show.
The bus driver suffered injuries from small amounts of broken glass cutting her right arm and had to be checked out by Angel EMS.
Detectives were able to pull camera footage from the bus, which showed a white, fullsized truck pulling a trailer at 3:48 p.m.
Detectives also learned that two other bus drivers experienced similar incidents that day, both occurring on Boynton Drive. The two incidents involved similar damage to the buses. The first bus driver thought a rock had flown up and hit the window, but the second stated they did see a white truck pulling a trailer during their incident.
Capt. Chris Lyons says detectives have pulled onboard camera footage from all three buses and are investigating the case.
"Those incidents happened on the last day of school," Lyons said. "We haven't had any other incidents like those, but the buses aren't running as much either since school is out."
Anyone with information about the incidents is encouraged to contact Detective Daniel Thacker with the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department at 706-935-2424.