Editors note: This is second in a series of columns about each of the 2013 Warner Robins Hall of Fame inductees.
The son of an Air Force civil service employee, Eddie Wiggins was born on Robins Air Force Base, May 11, 1945. He grew up in Warner Robins, graduating from Warner Robins High School, then attending the University of Georgia where he graduated in 1968.
His first job after graduation was a position with the Warner Robins First Federal Savings and Loan. But the car industry called his name, and in 1971 he became the youngest Chevrolet dealer in the state after purchasing a dealership in Toccoa.
It was always his desire to return home to Warner Robins, and in 1979 he was able to do just that. He first purchased the local Lincoln Mercury dealership, then the Ford dealership. After combining the two, he became the largest car dealer in the city.
But it is his dedication to the community that has earned him a spot on the Warner Robins Hall of Fame. His list of accolades is lengthy -- chairman of the Warner Robins Chamber of Commerce (now the Robins Regional Chamber of Commerce); recipient of the Warner Robins Chamber of Commerces annual top recognition, the prestigious Charlie Jones Award; chairman of the Middle Georgia Military Affairs Committee; Middle Georgia Community Leader of the Year; chairman, Hospital Authority; chairman, Museum of Aviation board of directors.
He also was a a founder and charter board member of the 21st Century Partnership, which began in 1993 to support Robins Air Force Base, in reaction to the Base Realignment and Closure program. He served as chairman of the partnership from 1999-2007 and earned the nickname Mr. Robins Air Force Base for his dedication to the preservation of the mission of Robins.
It was during his time as chairman of the 21st Century Partnership that Wiggins helped to guide the vision of the organization, changing the strategy from defense to offense. During this same time period, he also served as the Warner Robins community liaison to the Command, Air Force Materiel Command and also the Air Force chief of staff. He was also selected by three Georgia governors to serve on their Military Affairs Coordinating Committee.
Through Wiggins determination, Robins not only survived three rounds of BRAC -- in 1993, 1995 and 2005 -- but grew through increased missions and employees.
While he remains a member of the board of the 21st Century Partnership, Wiggins retired as chairman in 2007. To honor his achievements and his dedication to the city of Warner Robins and Robins Air Force Base, the state Legislature named the bridge at Ga. 247 and Russell Parkway, the Eddie Wiggins Bridge of Friendship.
The naming of the bridge serves as a reminder of Wiggins contributions in preserving Robins Air Force Base and of the special relationship the city of Warner Robins shares with Robins Air Force Base.
Contact Alline Kent at 396-2467 or firstname.lastname@example.org.