Birthday wishes were special

Published 8:03 am Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Last week I received many heartfelt good wishes as my Saturday birthday approached.

They came from many of my dear friends throughout Bainbridge and Decatur County.

I feel blessed that my job gives me the opportunity to cover the sports endeavors of young people throughout the city and county,

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I will always be indebted to my dear friend and former Post-Searchlight owner and publisher Sam Griffin Jr., for giving me the opportunity to cover Bainbridge and Decatur County athletes throughout the years.

I am also indebted to my dear friend and current publisher Jeff Findley, and the Boone Newspapers company, for their great support the past four years.

That day in April 1970, when Sam and his dear late father, former Georgia Gov. Marvin Griffin, decided to take a chance on a young college graduate with no experience, is a day I will cherish forever.

I am now covering kids and grandkids of athletes I covered during those early years. and I still enjoy every minute of it.

In recent years my life has been enriched by a newfound best friend who has come into my life. I am talking about Billy Simmons Jr., a dedicated employee of Walmart.

We became friends just eight short years ago when he moved to Bainbridge from Tallahassee, Fla.

He and his dear girlfriend Sandy are my favorite couple. Saturday night they invited me over to Gibb Village, where they live, for a delicious birthday dinner.

Sandy cooked all of my favorites, including corn, meat loaf, a baked potato and banana pudding. They told me I was king for a day and they sure treated me like one.

Since coming to Bainbridge, Billy has made many friends and touched the lives of myself and others in a big way.

Born in Saigon, where his late father Billy Simmons Sr. was serving with the U.S. Army in the Vietnam War, Billy has cerebral palsy, but he doesn’t let his condition bother him one bit. He enjoys his life to the fullest every day.

Since coming to Bainbridge, Billy has made many friends and become an avid supporter of Bainbridge sports teams.

He has received autographed basketballs from Bainbridge High School Bearcats and Lady Cats sports teams.

He also received an autographed baseball from the Bearcats baseball team the year they dedicated their program to him, and he threw out the ceremonial first pitch. He is also a former Bainbridge Kiwanis Club Man of the Year.

In a month or so, Billy and I will be making our annual trip to take in a weekend of an Atlanta Braves series at Turner Field.

In conclusion, I just want to thank Billy, Sandy and all my other friends, for making my birthday so special.

Joe Crine is the sports editor of The Post-Searchlight. You can email him at