Grisamore: Blessed is a seven-letter word

July 5, 2014 

Allen Green

GRAY -- Allan Green has a birthday on Monday, July 7.

Yes, he will be 77 on 7-7.

He doesn’t mind all the sevens. They have been tailing him his whole life, so he just stops and counts them.

There always seems to be one in there, somewhere.

He was born in 1937.

He was the seventh child in his family.

He was married the seventh month (July) in 1957 and will celebrate his 57th anniversary with his wife, Shirley, in a few weeks.

His daughter, Leanne, was born on April 27.

There are seven other members of his immediate family -- wife, daughter, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

He built his house in Jones County in 1970.

He was appointed as director of the Jones County Emergency Management Association by George Busbee -- Georgia’s 77th governor -- in 1977.

He served as president of the Georgia state EMA (161 members) in 1987.

His two grandsons -- Stephen and Michael -- have names with seven letters. (So does his wife, Shirley.)

He has two 7’s in his home phone number (including the area code), three in his cell number and another three in his email address.

He retired on his birthday, July 7, the day he turned 72.

He could go on all day about the enchanted number that follows six and stands in front of eight in the pecking order.

After all, there are seven days in a week, seven colors in a rainbow and seven notes in a musical scale.

There are seven continents, seven seas and seven wonders of the world. (Snow White even had seven dwarfs.)

Seven has been ordained as a “lucky” number since ancient times. There are seven spots on a common ladybug, a universal symbol of good luck.

Green celebrated his 70th birthday on 7-7-07, the much-ballyhooed “luckiest” day of all time.

But he doesn’t really buy into the “luck” theory, even though it has recently been in the news. (Friday marked the 75th anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s famous “luckiest man on the face of the earth” speech at Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939.)

Green prefers to cast himself as “fortunate” and “blessed” rather than lucky. I will side with him on that. He has a wonderful family. He has beaten the odds and survived pancreatic cancer and triple bypass heart surgery. This good man is still with us.

When he was born on 7-7-37, his parents named him “Kay” after Dr. James Kay, the country doctor from Byron who drove to the family farm on Fulton Mill Road to deliver him.

Because he was the seventh child -- and the fifth son -- his parents were quickly running out of names. They offered to let Dr. Kay pick the other.

He chose “Allan” in honor of Dr. Allan Roy Dafoe, a Canadian obstetrician who gained worldwide notoriety when he delivered the famed Dionne quintuplets from Ontario in 1934.

Green married Shirley, his childhood sweetheart from Heard Elementary, in 1957. She was 17. (There go the sevens again.)

Another “seven” that will always stand out was his 57th birthday. There wasn’t much time to celebrate 20 years ago this week. He spent it coming to the rescue of an entire city.

As director of the Jones County EMA, a position he held for 32 years, Green worked tirelessly for three weeks dispatching fire trucks to deliver water to Macon residents during the Flood of 1994.

The heavy rains from Tropical Storm Alberto caused the Ocmulgee River to surge to an estimated 35 feet in Macon, nearly twice its normal flood stage, crippling the Macon Water Authority’s treatment plant and forcing operations to shut down.

For 21 days, Green sent as many as 10 trucks a day, hauling 950 gallons of water, to three locations in Macon. He also had his own fires to put out in Jones County, where the flood had a far-reaching impact. Houses had to be evacuated and bridges and roads closed.

His efforts won widespread praise. He received letters of commendation from President Bill Clinton, Sen. Sam Nunn and Gov. Zell Miller. Macon Mayor David Carter later read a proclamation, declaring June 24, 1995, “Allan Green Day” in Macon.

Green’s dedication is worth noting on this 20th anniversary of the flood and on the eve of his 77th birthday.

But it was not his only big assignment in leading the county’s EMA team, volunteer firefighters, paramedics and emergency responders.

In 2004, he worked security at the G-8 Summit, an annual meeting of the leaders of the world’s eight most-powerful nations. (And since Russia’s membership has been suspended for now, it’s the G-7.)

In 2007, his firefighting teams went to help control a massive wildfire in the Okefenokee Swamp.

I asked him if he ever wore No. 7, like Mickey Mantle. He said no.

I wondered if he ever played the number 7 in the lottery. He told me he doesn’t play the lottery.

Still, he’s fine if sevens keep following him around.

Some will say its lucky.

He says B-L-E-S-S-E-D. It’s a seven-letter word.

Contact Gris at 744-4275 or egrisamore@macon.com

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