After three decades of public service, Bill Jackson has retired. But not before getting a good old fashion roasting.
Former Georgia House Representative Bill Jackson laughs as Columbia County Board of Commissioners Chairman Barry Flemming makes jokes at him during a roast honoring Mr. Jackson at the Savannah Rapids Pavillion.
Photo by Chris Thelen
On Thursday, friends and family gathered at the Savannah Rapids Pavillion to thank Rep. Jackson, R-Appling, for his efforts, which began in 1968 when he served on Columbia County's first elected school board.
Chairman of the Columbia County Board of Commissioners Barry Fleming served as the evening's emcee and got the roasted started with a story.
Fleming said when he was a child his father took him to hear Jackson speak from the back of a pickup truck while campaigning.
"He got into one of those rip roars he's known for," said Fleming, who will be running for Jackson's vacant seat.
The manner in which Jackson spoke to the crowd grabbed Fleming's attention and prompted him to ask his father if Jackson was a preacher.
"Daddy said 'no son, but he does need some religion,"' Fleming said. "That is my first memory of Bill Jackson."
As the evening continued, more friends stood up to offer their memories.
Sen. Joey Brush used props while speaking about Jackson. The first came when Brush was trying to figure out the best way to name a road after Jackson.
Brush held up a sign he proposed would hold the road until it was officially named after Jackson. The signed read "This road to be named later."
"It still fits under that law I think," Brush said.
After winning several laughs from the crowd at the expense of Jackson, Brush spoke of his respect and admiration for his mentor.
"Bill Jackson is one of the reason I'm in politics," Brush said. "He's like the benchmark. We didn't always agree with him but we always knew where he was."
Several more speakers took the podium, including Bill's son Billy and State Rep. Ben Harbin. At the end of the evening, the guest of honor stood up and thanked all those who helped him be so successful for so long.
"Successful in life is something people help you to do," Jackson said. "If you have any gains it's because someone has helped you."
Jackson told the crowd of the enjoyment he got from helping people of the county. He spoke of his time at the state capital and how lucky he was to spend so many years fighting for the citizens. Then he thanked everyone for attending and stepped down.
"I'm going to get involved in some things now," Jackson said. "I love ya'll."
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