Valdosta Daily Times

Breaking News:

Local News

August 5, 2013

World War II veteran honors others

VALDOSTA — When one thinks of a person who would volunteer their time to go on a flight and help World War II veterans see the sights of Washington, D.C., thoughts of a young civilian or maybe a young soldier from a more recent military time may come to mind.

However, John McGowan, now an 87-year-old World War II veteran himself, opted to be a volunteer instead of an honoree on a 2007 Honor Flight trip from South Georgia.

The Honor Flight program allows World War II veterans the opportunity to fly to Washington, D.C., free of charge to visit their memorial, which is an opportunity many of them may have never received otherwise. McGowan, who is older than some of the veterans who made this journey, said he felt he could get around well enough to pay for his own trip and help some of his comrades get around.

McGowan was responsible for the care of three veterans on the trip, one of whom was confined to a wheelchair.

McGowan stated that the man in the wheelchair was twice his size, but that he was happy to wheel him all around Washington, D.C., so he could enjoy the same experiences as everyone else.

It was also on this flight in 2007 that John McGowan met Arthur Brown. Both men spent the trip getting to know each other and discovered they joined the Navy just a few months apart in 1943. Six years later, the two men continue their friendship.

They frequently have lunch together, communicate via phone, and celebrate special life events together. McGowan and his wife even took Brown on a trip to St. Marys for a WWII gathering for submariners.

“Arthur has always been so appreciative of everything I do for him, even though sometimes I feel I have more fun than he does,” chuckled McGowan.

So where does such a generous man like John McGowan come from? Well, John McGowan’s life started in Quitman. One of four children, his family moved to Valdosta when he was just 4 years old.

“I used to ride my bicycle from Valdosta to Quitman when I was a boy to visit my grandparents. That’s something you can’t even do today,” said McGowan as he reminisced about the Valdosta of many years ago.

He spent his first three years of high school delivering papers for The Valdosta Daily Times in the late 1930s. McGowan explained that “back then you had to buy a route at $1 per customer. I paid $100 for my route and had a 101 customers. I couldn’t believe what a bargain I got!”

It was after this time that he decided to join the Navy in 1943 when he was proud to be able to serve his country.

Upon leaving the Navy, he went into business with Register Clothing, which was located in Downtown Valdosta, for four years until he felt called to the ministry. However, his military service didn’t cease entirely as he chose to join the Air Force reserve as a chaplain.

During all of this, he took the time to receive his bachelor of arts degree in English and speech from what was then Valdosta State College. He recalls his graduating class being only about 500 students. He was one of the few males to graduate from Valdosta State College as it had then just changed from being Georgia State Women’s College.

For a man who has devoted a total of 32 years of his life to military service and 62 years to ministries, one might think he would be spending his time lounging around. However, he is still out making differences in lives by spreading the gospel.

McGowan and his wife also spend time taking a group of widows, all of whom had McGowan preside over their husbands’ funerals, out to lunch on a regular basis.

It is clear that no matter how many years pass, John McGowan will continue to touch the lives of everyone he meets.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • DSC_2381.jpeg Award-winning young professionals share success secrets

    The Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber’s MetroOne Young Professionals hosted a panel discussion on Tuesday at the Hilton Garden Inn to highlight successful business practices.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140726_summerlibrary002.jpg Library celebrates end of summer reading program

    With the first day of school just around the corner, students are soaking in the last few weeks of summer vacation. The end of summer also means the end of the South Georgia Regional Library’s 2014 summer reading program.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • artseason1 copy.jpg A sneak peek at some area arts organizations’ 2014-15 seasons

    Beethoven. Tennessee Williams. Non-stop art. Two versions of “The Wizard of Oz.” The 2014-15 arts season is coming.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • sabalmap.jpg Sabal Trail explains its position

    Representatives from Sabal Trail Transmission recently sat down with The Times to provide an update on the ongoing pipeline and potential economic development opportunities associated with the project.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072514-MoodyComp007.jpg Moody AFB crews race in load competition

    Moody Air Force Base hosted a weapons load competition Friday morning, a maintenance group tradition in which two 23d Maintenance Group A-10 munition load crews raced against the clock to load munitions onto an A-10C Thunderbolt II.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • moonshine bust.jpg Police close illegal drinking house

    After receiving numerous complaints, the Valdosta Police Department shut down an illegal alcohol sales operation Friday.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • election.jpg Black earns most votes in runoff

    State Rep. Ellis Black led the votes for state Senate District 8 Friday with seven of seven counties reporting certified results, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140724-LAT1.jpg Little Actors Theatre ready for summer show

    Since 2004, the Little Actors Theatre has provided a place for children ages 6 to 19 to express themselves through acting.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072414-MichelleNunn003.jpeg Michelle Nunn visits Valdosta

    The day after learning that her Republican challenger would be David Perdue, Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Michelle Nunn kicked off her Common Sense and Collaboration Tour Wednesday by meeting with business owners in Atlanta, Athens and Macon and continued her tour Thursday morning by visiting the David S. Waller Unit facility of the Boys and Girls Club of Valdosta.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • lunch.jpg Valdosta One Lunch feeds summer-hungry kids

    Hunger is a concept that many people associate with third-world countries, not their hometown. However, in Valdosta, hunger is real. To combat this hunger, a group of Valdostans have created Valdosta One Lunch, a program that distributes bagged meals to children in need.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

Do you agree with the millage rate increases?

Yes. We need to maintain services
No. Services should have been cut.
     View Results