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Guest column: Remembering Mr. Terry
Guest columnist

Alex Floyd

Guest columnist

It was a hot humid Friday evening. Jordan and I were sitting on a couch in the yard burning a pile of pine roots (don’t judge us, please) and Mr. Terry walked up and said we needed to ride to the store in Summerville. It was nearly 10 p.m. but I didn’t have anywhere to be so I borrowed a glug from his coffeepot and got in the truck. I don’t remember what was on the trailer or in the truck but I’ll remember the next few hours until I die. That’s when I heard the “Terry McCoy what it takes to be a Christian leader speech.”

I won’t repeat it here because it’s not mine to tell. You can go to Owens or Storehouse and hear it from Jordon or Jesse France or Matt Lanier or a dozen others if you want, just see Debbie and get some popcorn first. The meat of it is this: It’s not ours, it’s God’s. We are here to take of it, take care of each other and take care of our people. Be honest with everybody. If its worth doing, its worth doing right. It doesn’t matter if they buy a can of paint or a whole house from you, they are your customer and deserve the same level of respect.

An anthropology professor at Georgia Southern defined the term “Tribe” for me as “a group that is there for each other consistently linked not necessarily by blood but ideology.”

When my great-grandfather Floyd died of a heart-attack in 1940, Mr. Harry Owen’s father helped round up Great Grandma Floyd’s cows. My great grandfather Buckner and Mr. Harry worked together first at Bird Smith Furniture Company and then for Shuman Building Supply. My grandfather and Mr. Harry and Mrs. Elvie went to school together and when Papa built the house I live in now, cousin Paul Owens drove the delivery truck. Jordan and I were in each other’s weddings and now my wife Kristen works part-time for McCoy Home. The bond of tribe is strong.

Years went by and I started working for the City of Pembroke as Downtown Development Authority because I knew if I had Jeanne McCormick, Mary Anna Hite and Terry McCoy behind me, anything in Pembroke was possible. It turns out those principles are just as applicable in the public sector. He was a mentor and a phone call away day in and day out.

One of the hardest phone calls I ever received in my life was from Jordan. He said “If you got anything you want to say to Dad you best hurry.”

I cried all the way to Savannah like I’d never cried before. I shook his hand and I thanked him for a midnight ride to no-where South Carolina. I didn’t know what else to say but I didn’t have to. He knew.

Those principles were evident Saturday as the family and community celebrated 60 years in business. As pastors, family and friends spoke they were repeated and engrained in the hearts of all present: honesty, integrity, respect for everyone and gratitude to the One who makes all things possible, just like Mr. Terry would’ve wanted.

Congratulations to the Owens Supply family from the Floyd tribe.

Alex Floyd is a local writer and thinker with roots in Bryan County that go way back.

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