Kent: How Warner Robins got the name ‘International City’

July 2, 2014 

Olivia McMillan, the Miss Warner Robins Outstanding Teen who was crowned Miss Georgia’s Outstanding Teen, is happy to tout Warner Robins’ claim to being an “International City.”

SPECIAL TO THE SUN NEWS

After my column last week about the new Miss Georgia’s Outstanding Teen being a shining example of our International City, I received a delightful phone call from Margaret Heck.

Along with her obvious joy in one of our own being selected as Miss Georgia’s Outstanding Teen, Mrs. Heck was also thrilled about my using the term “International City.”

Her late husband, Glenn Heck, actually came up with the nickname.

Glenn Heck worked tirelessly for the community. Heck was the first general manager of Robins Telecable. Later he served as general manager of Macon’s Cox Communications.

He retired from Cox after 26 years of service, and then joined Flint Energies as manager of marketing and member services. He retired from that job in 1996.

Involved in the Optimist Club and the Boy Scouts among other organizations, Heck served as the chairman of the Houston County school board and as president of the Warner Robins Chamber of Commerce.

It was during his time at the Chamber of Commerce that Heck came up with the term “International City” in describing Warner Robins.

Heck was quoted in an article in The Daily Sun about how he came up with the term.

“Back then, we were Warner Robins, The Action City,” Heck said in the interview. “But I just couldn’t envision that was conveying the image of what we were.”

He added, “The British Wives Club had invited me to one of their meetings one night. On the way back home, I said, ‘My Goodness! We’ve got a British Wives Club and a German Wives club. Children in our schools that were born in 50 different countries; the Air Force has worldwide support.

“So I proposed to the Chamber of Commerce that we call it the International City. Someone suggested calling it Georgia’s International City and that’s what they adopted.“

It didn’t take long for the term to take off. In 1970, the new football stadium was named International City Stadium and the logo started appearing everywhere.

The main purpose of the slogan according to Heck’s interview, was to rally the community together.

“People living here are from all other the world,” Heck said. “We wanted people to be able to relate to the slogan.”

Along with sharing a wonderful story, Margaret Heck also shared some of the original mint condition license plates that were made up when the International City slogan was first created -- one for me and one for Olivia, our beautiful Miss Georgia’s Outstanding Teen.

Some 40-odd years after its inception as our nickname, the term International City still rings true for our community. We are a community that has come from all parts of the country and the world and has proved to the world that Oliver Wendell Holmes was right -- “where we love is home.” It is the perfect description for our community.

We are the International City. By Heck.

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