At his July 27 change-of-command ceremony, Col. Glenn Kennedy, Fort Gordon's new garrison commander, told the crowd he felt as though he had come home.
"I grew up in a military family, and I never really lived in one place all that long," said the 1982 graduate of Evans High School. "I spent five years here in junior high and high school. I came to identify it as my hometown."
When Kennedy first called Columbia County home, it was a different place. His first two years at Evans High School predated the Cox Road building.
He spent his freshman and sophomore years at the former Evans Middle School site which has been replaced by The Home Depot.
"We had split sessions, and in my junior year, we moved to the new building," he said.
He didn't have the opportunity to get a head start on his military career in JROTC because Evans High School didn't have a program at the time, he said.
As a teen in Columbia County, Kennedy was involved in Boy Scouts and attained the rank of Eagle Scout.
"I have a lot of good memories here. I love it here," he said.
In the ensuing years, Kennedy has spent some time at Fort Gordon taking his basic and advanced officer courses. He also has returned to visit family.
Kennedy said he was excited when he learned he would be stationed at Fort Gordon. His wife, Angela, is from Marietta, Ga., and she liked the idea of returning to the South. Kennedy's previous position was in Washington, D.C.
The traffic at Greenbrier High School is nothing in comparison to Washington traffic, he said.
"I chuckle when people talk about traffic," he said.
Kennedy decided to move his family to Columbia County.
The couple has a daughter, Amanda, who is in college in Columbus, but the Kennedys have two other children still living at home. Sara and Matthew both attend Greenbrier High School.
Sara is a junior, and Matthew is a freshman. Matthew is on the junior varsity football team and is part of its Naval JROTC program.
Though Columbia County has changed during the past 27 years, some parts haven't, he said.
"The parts I like mostly remain the same," Kennedy said. "There is a small-town atmosphere, which can most be seen in the friendliness of people."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.