Fund-raising successes of Miles

Published 11:26 pm Friday, November 6, 2009

Hold on to your wallet. Here comes Raymond.

Raymond Miles has had two big-time pet projects in his lifetime in Bainbridge—the YMCA and Bainbridge College.

Hold on to your wallets because, he was coming after you for a donation. Not just any donation, but if he thought you could handle letting loose a hundred-thousand dollars or even a million dollars for one of his pet projects, he could get it from you. With many thanks, of course.

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The details of his delightful arm twisting of his friends is the result today of many projects that have enhanced life in our small community.

All this is detailed in his autobiography—Thank You, Bainbridge.

It is a testimonial to life in our town, how people come together for common causes and are not afraid to put out big bucks.

The autobiography began a few years ago simply as a report to his grandchildren. Friends suggested that he expand it, and offer it for sale.

So now we have the autobiography of one of Bainbridge’s most illustrious citizens, and one who has not only given his time but lots of his money.

At the end of World War II, Raymond was discharged with the rank of corporal. He’ll call you “Captain” if he meets you on the street, but in the ranks of many who have known him through the years, his efforts on behalf of Bainbridge may have earned him the title of “General.”

Returning to his farm in Ellaville after the war, Raymond tells us how he began his business life with Cotton States Insurance, how it brought him to Bainbridge, and how he purchased and consolidated several insurance offices here to form his own.

He tells us how he began in real estate, organizing a successful sales team, the friends who helped him, and with several partners, built shopping centers and housing in Bainbridge.

Raymond reports he made one mistake in his life, one that he regrets, that as a county commissioner. He decides not to run for re-election, but his friends persuade him to do so. He loses, and he says it was the best thing that happened.

Losing was “one of the greatest things that ever happened to me,” he tells Jimmy Harrell. He didn’t like having to do personal favors for people rather than doing what was right for the county. He writes how the county commissioners were very conservative, anti growth, and even did not want to see Bainbridge College established.

Raymond thanks his many friends who gave large funds so Bainbridge could have first-class facilities. Those friends include Reuben and Olin Reynolds, Cass and Bruce Kirbo Sr., the Kirbo Charitable Trust, Jimmy Harrell, K. Bates, Melville Johnson, Adolph Brock, Roy and Buddy Adams and many others.

An excerpt from the book:

“Because people see me as a fund raiser, I’ve told everybody who has given me money for different projects, “If I come to you and ask for money again, don’t give it to me. I’ve raised money for everything, and I want to get out of that. All my friends hate to see me coming, even though they know I’ve put money in also. The other day, I asked someone for $20,000 for a project, and he said, “Raymond, knowing you, you’ve already done more than you’re asking me to do, so I’m going to give you the $20,000.”

Well, there’s a lot more in the book in the life of Raymond Miles. It’s a good read for anyone interested in the growth and commerce of Bainbridge. It shows how a person can make a significant difference in a small town, and still be able to be very successful in business.

The book is on sale at the YMCA, the First Baptist Church, the library, Miles Realty office and at The Book Nook. Price is $15, and all proceeds go to charity. You can designate your purchase for the First Baptist Church, YMCA or Bainbridge College.

There’s also a warning in this book. If you see Raymond driving his car, get out of the way. He likes to speed. He has an agreement with his wife “Sam.” She does the driving because “My driving scares her more than her driving scares me.”

Jim Smith is a former editor of The Post Searchlight and doesn’t drive like Raymond Miles.