Tucker, Georgia High School Class of 1962

Carol Westbrooks Willis
Report errors and broken links to: Bill Hardin

8th Grade
9th Grade
10th Grade
11th Grade
12th Grade

My family lived across from the old Tucker High School on Morgan Road. My brothers and I walked to and from school many days during our time at THS and the elementary school behind the high school. I do not remember a lot of eventful events before high school. During high school I remember football games, crowded halls during class changes, my turn as library aide, the frustration of taking business typing, and many hours spent in the home economics building.

I was one of seven children and our family only had one car, which my Dad drove to work. This limited my time of “running around.” I did spend many afternoons at home helping with my younger brothers and sister.

I did have the opportunity to join Rainbow Girls and was active for many years in the organization. This faith-based organization helped me gain some confidence in myself and as an extra bonus, I got to wear evening gowns to many meetings.

All those hours in the Tucker Home Economics building led me to seek a Home Economic degree at North Georgia College in Dahlonega. North Georgia College was one of seven essential ROTC colleges in the United States at that time. I never dreamed that I would be an Army wife, but that is what happened after graduation from North Georgia in 1966.

My fiancée, Mitch Willis, had graduated two years earlier, been commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army, and had orders for Alaska. So in July of 1966, we were married and drove across the United States to Seattle and then flew on to Fairbanks, Alaska.

Our years in Alaska were very eventful as we experienced an earthquake, flood, forest fires, twenty four hour daylight in the summers and twenty four hour darkness in the winters, -60 degrees temperature, three plus feet of snow, and the beautiful aurora borealis.

In 1968 our daughter, Vicki Lynn, was born at Fort Wainwright, Alaska. In the fall of the year, Mitch received the dreaded orders for a tour in Vietnam. We returned to the lower 48 where Mitch attended schools at Fort Gordon, Georgia, and Fort Bliss, Texas, in preparation for his tour of duty in Vietnam. After Mitch finished his schools, I returned with Vicki to Tucker for the year of his tour in Vietnam and enjoyed being with my family. Vicki and I were blessed to welcome Mitch home from Vietnam unharmed in 1970. Our next post was Fort Benning, Georgia. We were glad to be so close to Mitch’s parents as well as mine. Our family now included a son, Doug, born in 1971. After three years at Fort Benning, we were assigned to Germany.

What an exciting three years Germany provided our family. There were so many opportunities to learn a new culture, language, and people and to travel to other countries. The biggest lesson I learned in Europe was how proud I was to be an American. I don’t think we recognize how fortunate and blessed we are to be an American until you experience another culture.

We returned to Fort Benning in 1976 for another three year tour. Our second son, Kevin, was born in 1977. We said good-bye once again to our extended families with Fort Knox, Kentucky, our next duty station.

In 1979 we settled down on Fort Knox never expecting this area would eventually be our permanent retirement home. Mitch served at Fort Knox until 1985 and retired from the Army as a Major. We moved to Radcliff located outside the gates of Fort Knox.

What do you do after 21 years in the military. Well, Mitch went to the University of Louisville for two years and got his masters degree and a teaching certificate. During this time, our daughter Vicki graduated from high school and entered college. With two family members in college, I started working for the local school system as a teaching assistant in an elementary school. What an eye-opening experience full of surprises, opportunities, and a chance to nurture and encourage many children.

Mitch began his 22 year tenure in Hardin County as a middle school social studies teacher in 1987. Needless to say, 6th, 7th, and 8th graders are a definite challenge, Mitch had a special spot in his heart for his students and to this day he is greeted warmly by his former students when seen around town.

I continued to work for Hardin County Schools for eleven years. During that time I also worked for a Radcliff Reading Clinic. What a wonderful job, as I worked with children one-on-one, and I could build a relationship with each one. Working two jobs was hard on the body, So I resigned from the school system and continued my work at Radcliff Reading Clinic for a total of 22 years.

Retirement for Mitch and I came in June of 2009. We had already downsized from a large house to a patio home with one level and no stairs to climb. We have enjoyed decorating our new home and planting lots and lots of flowers in a smaller yard.

For the past thirteen years, we have been very active in Radcliff United Methodist Church. Our church family, Army and community friends, as well as work families have provided the support and love the past 43 years we have lived in Kentucky. Military families have to bloom where planted and our roots have grown deep into the Kentucky soil.

The Army life offered many opportunities and adventures. As you probably noticed, military families gauge time by duty stations. The military life was a good one for our family, and I would do it again without hesitation.

Mitch and I have been married 45 years, been retired almost three years, and we are busier than ever. We love being able to set our schedules (sometimes), sleep in, work in the yard, read, and rest. We have also been truly blessed to have three awesome children and two grandsons.

Our daughter, Vicki Lynn, is married to Stephen McGinnis and lives in Greenup, Kentucky. Stephen is a partner in the law firm with his dad in Greenup. After graduating from College and acquiring her masters degree, Vicki taught elementary school several years, took time off to raise their boys, Connor (12 years) and Duncan (8 years), and return to teaching at a community college two years ago in Ashland, Kentucky. Connor and Duncan are doing well academically, involved in sports, Cub and Boy Scouts, enjoy computers and reading.

Doug, our oldest son worked hard to earn his Eagle rank in Boy Scouting. After graduation from high school, he served two years in the Navy. Upon returning to Radcliff, he worked and studied for two years in culinary school at the local community college. He continues to work in the local area as a contract employee for the local newspaper.

Kevin, our youngest son graduated from high school attended college, majored in broadcast journalism and is now assistant news director at the Western Kentucky University National Public Radio affiliate. He has traveled extensively, visiting Europe, Asia, and Egypt. Kevin lives in Glasgow, Kentucky, with his significant other - Melanie.

Mitch and I have been involved with church and community activities at every duty station. We spent many hours volunteering on military posts for Cub and Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, local schools, community organizations, church choirs, and many other church activities.

We came to appreciate every day after Mitch had quadruple by-pass heart surgery in 2007. His health is good now and we consciously work to exercise to hold back illness and old age. Our faith along with our church family gives us support and direction. We spend a lot of time at Radcliff United Methodist Church giving praise for our family, friends, and all the blessings we have experienced in our life. We are looking forward to continuing our work in the church and community as long as we are able.

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