As treasurer of the Warner Robins Heritage Society, Karen Sisk, is helping with a tribute to WWII veterans and a communitywide 1940s, USO-style, WWII dance.
Residence: Warner Robins
Q: The Warner Robins Heritage Society has big plans celebrating Warner Robins’ birthday this month — what’s up?
A: A couple of things. We’re having a ceremony at City Hall honoring our local World War II veterans plus we’ve planned a communitywide 1940s, USO-style, WWII dance.
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Q: When is each?
A: The veteran’s program is Friday, March 23, at 11 a.m. at City Hall. Then the dance is Saturday, March 24, from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Wellston Senior Center at 152 Maple St. All of this is with the support of the city and the Warner Robins Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Q: How about the WWII veterans program?
A: We’ll have a short program MC’ed by the Heritage Society’s Andy Rodriquez. Mayor Randy Toms will be there along with Robins Air Force Base officials. We’ve done our best to find and invite our World War II veterans but if there are any out there we haven’t contacted or that people know of that we missed — please, please, please come. You are invited and we want to honor you. We just missed you.
Q: A silly question maybe, but why are you focusing on WWII vets?
A: I guess two reasons. One, the Heritage Society uses the motto “The town World War II built” and it’s really true. You’ve got this little place with about 50 inhabitants and the government decides to build a base. World War II comes and goes and lot of people said the town would go, too, and people would leave. But the base kept growing and Warner Robins kept booming. And it still is.
Q: And two?
A: Well, these WWII vets are the greatest generation, right? These men, these boys really, left their homes and went all over the world to fight for freedom. What a different world it would be if they hadn’t. We owe them such gratitude. Then they came back, these men came back, and as far as Warner Robins goes, many of them got jobs at the base and built this little community into quite a place. I think there’s an urgency to honor them and let them hear we appreciate them. We can always honor their memory but won’t always be able to let them hear it, especially in a group like this. That’s why I hope all of them can come and — boy, I really mean this — I hope people and military members from all over Warner Robins and Middle Georgia will come clap their hands for them, shake their hands and do them proud. That would mean so much.
Q: And the USO-style dance, how about that?
A: It’s for everybody and will be like a trip back to early Warner Robins and a 1940s USO dance. The Georgia Big Band will play music from back then and we’re encouraging everyone who can to dress ‘40s-style. We’re encouraging members of the military to wear their uniform. It will be a fun time. I don’t think there’ll be anything else like it.
Q: What’s the cost?
A: Four dollars a person and tickets have to be in advance — no tickets at the door. You can get them at West End Frames at 1302A Watson Blvd., 478-922-2400, or you can contact Alex Talley at 478 922-7372 or email@example.com. You can call or email me at 478-491-4455, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Are you a Warner Robins native?
A: Not quite — but close. My family moved here in 1966 right before I started kindergarten. We joined Evergreen Baptist Church and I still go there, but I went to Central Baptist Church’s kindergarten. After that it was Miller Elementary, then Rumble Junior High then Warner Robins High School. I graduated in 1980.
Q: You must like it, right?
A: Great place. I worked for Delta in Atlanta for a number of years and had the option to move but didn’t. I commuted then came back to work here. It was great place to grow up, we ran all over this place, and I think it’s still a great place to raise a family.
Q: What’s a particular memory?
A: Oh boy, so many. I guess that I had a horse and the best times were with friends riding up and down Moody Road and Russell Parkway. They weren’t built up like now and nobody gave a thought to kids being out all over the place. That’s just what we did. We’d ride to Leisure Lake and the horses would swim. Some of us still get together at El Jalisciense Mexican Restaurant because its right where a field was we used to ride in.
Q: Was your father a veteran?
A: He was. He joined the Navy and served in WWII. Unfortunately he passed away in 2000.
Q: His name?
A: Grady Eugene Sisk. He knew war was imminent so he joined the Navy and served all over the Pacific. I’m glad there’s such respect for them now and movies like “Saving Private Ryan” have let new generations know what they did. Every effort we make to thank and honor them is warranted, even if it’s just out day to day in town.
Answers may have been edited for length and clarity. Compiled by Michael W. Pannell. Contact him at email@example.com.