A Columbia County man has a suggestion for the metro Augusta area’s new signs reflecting Fort Gordon’s upcoming name change to Fort Eisenhower on Oct. 27.
Andy Kingery spotted welcome signs during a recent trip to Tybee Island that included an additional phrase honoring its local Coast Guard base.
“I was on Tybee Island and I saw this sign and it said, ‘Tybee Island – A Proud Coast Guard Community,’” he said. “They have the Coast Guard down there and I said, ‘Wait a minute. How about a proud Army community?”
Kingery has a long history with the Army post. In 1956 at the age of 18, he graduated from military police school at the facility, then known as Camp Gordon.
Kingery recently attended a meeting of other military retirees and tossed out his idea for the new signage. One of the other attendees was retired Col. Thom Tuckey who served as garrison commander at Fort Gordon. He also was the long-time executive director of the CSRA Alliance for Fort Gordon.
He thinks it is a great idea.
“We’re already recognized as one of the most supportive military communities in the nation. If you talk to the people stationed at Fort Gordon now, they will tell you that they’ve never seen a community rally around the military as much as Augusta and the greater Augusta area does,” he said. “So, this is just another way to focus on that and let people know that we’re thinking about these people in uniform.”
According to the Alliance for Fort Gordon, it remains the CSRA’s largest employer. There are nearly 32,000 military, civilian, and contractor employees with an estimated annual economic impact of more than $2.4 billion.
Those numbers resonate with Kingery.
“We have so much to be proud of in our military,” he said. “That gives us so many jobs and so much money in the community, as well as defending America.”
In October 2021, Augusta-Richmond County unveiled two signs honoring current and retired military men and women. They are on Tobacco Road and Gordon Highway, near the gates at Fort Gordon.
It reads: “Thank you to all who served and continue to serve.”
Kingery would like to see the signs on the major gateways into Richmond and Columbia Counties.
“I’d like to kind of get enough support from the community,” he said. “And I think, if we get a little more support, I would be glad to go to the Columbia County Commission and tell them the same thing.”
He added, “My idea is for the military to be proud to be here. And know that we are proud to have them here.”
Tuckey said the time was right.
“If we’re going to have to redo the signs anyway. Why not add a few more words to it,” he asked.
The recommendation for Fort Eisenhower was made by the base re-naming commission and approved by the Department of Defense.