Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

December 10, 2012

At Random: Renea Crawford works to ‘be a blessing’

VALDOSTA — Renea Crawford’s life philosophy is as simple as it is poignant: “Be a blessing, and you will receive a blessing.”

She worked hard throughout her life, committing 22 years to the U.S. Air Force and retiring as a Master Sergeant, and continues to serve her community and the needy through the American Veterans (AmVets) military charity.

Crawford recently added further credentials to her career as a community service leader—two bachelor’s degrees and two master’s degrees, which she earned on the GI Bill in four years. She said her return to school was the completion of a promise she made to her mother years ago.

“My mom and I had this conversation a couple of weeks ago,” Crawford said. “I went into the Air Force a week out of high school. When I turned 18, I went into basic, but I promised her I would go back to school. I just never said when.”

Crawford’s mother holds a Ph.D. in accounting management, and pressed her daughter to pursue higher education as an investment for her future, following in her example.

Crawford’s mother gave birth to Crawford when she was 15, and her sister when she was 16, Crawford said. After raising her daughters, she joined the job corps and eventually went back to college in Seattle.

“I was born in Georgia, but I was raised in Seattle,” Crawford said.

“I had always wanted to go back. It’s so beautiful, and there’s so much to do, but the last time I went, the cost of living was incredible! I love the South, and I’m trying to stay South.”

Crawford ’s journey began in air crew flight equipment with the USAF, where she moved from place to place most of her life, working with parachutes, ejection seats, survival equipment and other technology. When she decided to retire from Moody, her skills were difficult to translate to the civilian world in Valdosta, but other knowledge set her up to become a charity leader.

“I could have been a forest ranger or something like that, or I could use what I learned about management and supply, about budgeting,” Crawford said. “In my crew, you learn about people, and I piggy-backed off of that.”

Crawford might have sought employment elsewhere, but when she retired in 2008, her son enjoyed playing football and soccer for Lowndes High School, and she was “tired of moving him around,” she said.

“So when I retired, I went back to school,” she said. “I used my Montgomery GI Bill, which gave me three years of paid tuition, and during that time I got a dual bachelor’s degree from Park University here on base.”

She graduated in 2010, then continued her education at Webster University through correspondence courses to earn her master’s degree with funding from the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Crawford was able to complete four degrees in four years because her courses were offered in eight-week-long, accelerated terms.

Crawford graduated October 2012 with bachelor degrees in Business Management and Human Resource Management and masters degrees in Management and Leadership and Human Resource Management.

Really, her journey is just beginning.

“When I was in school, I worked a little bit, part time here and there,” Crawford said. “I had a lot of free time on my hands, so I started volunteering in the community. I’ve been volunteering for a couple of years now, the majority of my time at AmVets.”

Her service became a dedication, and now, post-graduation, after four years with the organization, Crawford is operating as the Second Vice Commander of AmVets, but it earns her “not a penny,” she said.

Crawford is searching for full-time employment, and is most passionate about becoming a schoolteacher. She is currently at work earning her teaching certificate.

“I want to find something in my field, but I would rather find it in a non-profit,” Crawford said. “I want to utilize what I learned in school, but it doesn’t have to be at the corporate level. The reason I’d like to become a teacher I’m sure has something to do with that fact that my mother is a teacher. But don’t tell her that; it would make her head swim!”

Crawford believes that, for veterans at least, community service provides a great outlet for military retirees looking for work, and she would like to help other veterans follow her path, which for Crawford has been very rewarding.

As she has tried to share her blessings with those in need, Crawford hopes others will return the favor.


Text Only
Local News
  • EOM July 2014.jpg Sgt. Jonathan Yeargin Honored as July 2014 Employee of the Month

    Valdosta Mayor John Gayle and Fire Chief Freddie Broome honored Jonathan Yeargin as the July 2014 Employee of the Month at the July 10 City Council meeting.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Clay Griner.jpeg Griner wins Lowndes commission runoff

    A long nine-week runoff election between Clay Griner and G. Norman Bennett came to an end Tuesday night with Griner beating Bennett by 1,060 votes, with approximately 70 provisional ballots left to count.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140722-Runoff_Voting003.jpg State Senate District 8 too close to call

    The race for State Senate District 8 appeared too close to call as of The Times print deadline late Tuesday night.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Senate Georgia_Stew.jpg Perdue defeats Kingston in Georgia Senate runoff

    Businessman David Perdue has defeated longtime Rep. Jack Kingston in the Republican runoff for Georgia’s U.S. Senate nomination, setting up a matchup against Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn that will help determine which party controls the Senate for the final years of the Obama administration.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • County OKs $1.6 million for water-treatment equipment

    By a divided vote, the Lowndes County Commission approved spending $1,638,000 to purchase two pieces of equipment to improve the county’s water quality as per an agreement with the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

    July 23, 2014

  • Baytree Animal Hospital LB copy.JPG Animal hospital named Business of the Week

    Baytree Animal Hospital was named Leading Business of the Week by the  Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce for July 14.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gavel-courtroom.jpg Water treatment plant discussed

    The Lowndes County Board of Commissioners discussed purchasing two pieces of equipment for the Alapaha Water Treatment Plant and the Spring Creek System for a total of $1,638,000 during its Monday work session and is expected to vote on the issue tonight.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • education.jpg Charter school petition denied

    Both the Valdosta City and Lowndes County school boards unanimously denied the joint charter petition from Scintilla Charter Academy during their respective meetings Monday evening.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • echols_alapapa.jpg WWALS gets grant from river network

    The Willacoochee, Withlacoochee, Alapaha, and Little River Systems Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS) received a $500 Alapaha Water Trail Grant from the Georgia River Network

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140718-ARJim2.jpg Teacher at home anywhere in the world

    Variety is the spice of life. South Georgia is home to a diverse group of people, each with a unique life story. One man with glorious tales of travel and selfless volunteer work is Jim Kokoruda.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

Top News

School starts again in about two weeks. What do you think?

It's still summer. School starts too soon.
Seems like the right time to return.
Abolish summer recess. Make school year-round.
     View Results