County dedicates historical landmark
Published 9:26 pm Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Decatur County residents had the rare opportunity to take part in their history at the dedication of the WWII training airplane hangar Saturday.
The ongoing hangar renovation project that began in 2012 was finally revealed to the community with a presentation and reception.
The hangar built in 1942 served as a training facility for those pilots heading to WWII to face battle. The land where the hangar sits was once known as Lynn Station and connected with the Poitevint family who donated to the project personally and were present Saturday to give remarks and unveil two state historical markers.
Decatur County administrator Gary Breedlove said he was thrilled with the turn out at the event.
“We were happy the weather broke for us and the turn out was better than expected,” Breedlove said. “The community really seemed to respond to a part of their own history.”
Among those in attendance there were multiple veterans, including several that trained at the Bainbridge Airport facility in the 1950s. Breedlove said throughout the hangar renovation process, people from all over the country had contacted the Decatur County office, telling of their own personal connection to the facility because of a family member that had trained there.
Saturday visitors were able to view the completion of the first several phases of the renovation. So far the front metal has been replaced and painted and steel structural work has been done on the facility. Some work has also gone into the roof, but has not yet been completed.
Breedlove said in months to come the public would be able to see the completion of the other exterior walls being painted, more work with the roof being done and possible some historical displays inside and conference room constructed.
Among the speakers Saturday was former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue who is family friends with Alec Poitevint and a private pilot himself.
“Thank you to all who had a hand in this today and may we never forget the sacrifices that have gone before us,” Perdue said. “May we continue to have the resolve and resilience to fight on.”
Perdue, who was once in the U.S. Air Force himself, talked Saturday about the importance of having good, quality airports in communities like Bainbridge. Perdue said he has flown into the Bainbridge airport many times.
The hangar was almost destroyed more than 10 years ago when the Decatur County Commission voted to tear the building down. Decatur County resident Carl Young convinced the commission to overturn their decision and restore the hangar. The commission received a grant for the renovation project and Poitevint helped donate money for the Decatur County match to the grant. No public funds have been used yet for the renovation as a result of the generosity of private donors.
Kathryn Lillethun, former president of the Decatur County Historical Society spoke about the renovation, thanking those who served and asking the community to, “not stop here,” but remember their duty to the community and country.