Four great men were honored Monday: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in celebration of his 85th birthday and his legacy; Dr. Eric Holland, assistant principal and boys basketball coach at Tift County High School; Paul Howard, Fulton County district attorney; and Hugh Thompson, chief justice of Georgia Supreme Court.
Several dignitaries, educators and clergymen were present at the celebration, including Mayor Jamie Cater and Vice Mayor Johnny Terrell, who both said a few words and thanked everyone for attending. The call to commemoration was read by Ambrose King Jr., event organizer. He said although King was a civil rights leader, what gave him his courage, strength, stamina and ideology was his faith in God.
“Each year, as we gather to celebrate Dr. King’s life and ministry, we’re called to rededicate ourselves to our true mission — discipleship,” King said, noting Judge Bill Reinhardt encouraged people to recommitment themselves to their community when he spoke at a past commemorative service.
To honor Holland was his Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. brother, Coach Knight.
Emotional, he said it was a privilege and honor to speak a few words about someone dear and special to him who he’s known for the past 30 years as a student, fraternity brother, professional and someone who he considers a true son. He said among his qualities, Holland represents leadership, honesty and integrity. He called him a motivator, encourager and perfectionist at whatever he does.
Knight added that Holland always sees the potential in his students and players and is willing to give of himself. He mentioned some of his successes as an educator and basketball coach, which includes 235 wins and only 55 loses. For the past 10 years, Holland has been assistant principal at TCHS. He’s a member of Mount Olive Baptist Church.
Holland, in tears, hugged Knight following his speech. Holland said what Knight said about him made him feel good, but the most important thing that he tells people is that all the wins and championships are OK, but life is not measured by that to him.