Meet Donald Singleton: master gardener, musician and activist for military veterans.
How long have you been living in Richmond Hill?
I was born and raised in Richmond Hill. I left Richmond Hill after high school to join the military. When I came back, I lived in Savannah. Ten years ago, I moved back home to Richmond Hill, where I plan to live out my days.
What do you like about living here?
I like everything about Richmond Hill and Bryan County. This is my home. My dad was born here. There are great people here.
I remember when Richmond Hill was nothing but cornfields and dirt roads. There were no subdivisions, or grocery stores, or doctor’s offices or banks. Hwy. 17 and Hwy. 144 were probably the only paved roads.
When did you join the military?
In February of 1966.
That was a turbulent time.
A bad time. In 1966, not only was there a war in Vietnam, but there was a war between the races in our country.
What branch were you in?
When I first went in, I was a paratrooper in the Army’s 101st Airborne Division. After that, I was in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg for three years. I was also in the Coast Guard Reserve for three years and the Air Force Reserve for four years.
Did you serve in Vietnam during the war?
I did. It wasn’t pretty. I saw death everyday down there.
You’ve gained the reputation of being an activist for the rights of military veterans. What inspired you to get involved in that?
I don’t veterans to be treated like the Vietnam veterans were treated when they came back to this country, as far as health care, jobs – the whole nine yards. Right now today, the VA health care system is broken. Reform is needed, and I think it needs to start at the local level.
Read more in Wednesday's Bryan County News.