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Welcome to 2024! Another year is upon us, and we again have the renewed opportunity to make the new year not just good, but to make it great. As we put 2023 in the rear-view mirror, I am excited about 2024 and all its possibilities. Beyond the obvious impact of recovering from the COVID era, one thing lingers on. Have you noticed almost everywhere you go and everything you do customer service has declined? It is sad to see and to experience, but with that decline comes opportunity. Now is the time to distinguish yourself and your business as not just a good business, but a great business. You may feel that you have good customer service, but what is stopping it from being great customer service? How do your customers see it, do they think the service is just good, or do they think it’s great? In addition to what you may already be doing, what could be done to make the customer feel like you went the extra mile for them, and provided them with great service? If you are like me, you are always looking at the places you are doing business with, and evaluating whether you find them just good or great. Whether it is a restaurant, an auto repair shop, a hotel or grocery store, there is always something that makes it one or the other. It is always good to be greeted when you enter a business, but it is great to have them ask your name and then be treated like your business matters to them. How about your employees, do they think the business is just a good place to work, or do they think it’s a great place to work? If it is just a good place to work, what could be done to change their mind and make them feel it’s a great place to work? Sure, getting a paycheck is good, but would getting that paycheck and having them feel valued and appreciated by their employer make them feel great? All great customer service organizations start internally with how they treat their employees. Employees that feel valued by the organization they work for are more invested in their work. According to the polling and research company Gallup, companies with disengaged workers suffer from 16% lower profitability, 18% lower productivity, and 37% lower job growth. Here is a challenge, every day for the next week go out into your workplace and connect with a different employee. Ask them how they are doing and tell them you appreciate them. Doing this could result in increased performance and production. The difference between having a good business or having a great business could be something as small and subtle as how you greet your customers, or maybe how the employees are treated. It doesn’t have to be much, and sometimes the difference between good and great is only separated by the amount of effort you put into it. Stay safe my friends, and don’t just be good, when you could be great! Travco Metal Works Designs & Builds New Notch Saw Travis Christian, owner of TRAVCO METAL WORKS, once again put his talents to test and created another new machine design to fit his customer’s needs. This space and time saving notch saw was built so that the saw moves up to two feet up and down instead of left to right as the past machines have done. The cart moves two feet forward and back to bring the stone to the blade and automatically stops where it has been programmed to stop. The cart also moves three feet left and right to allow for precise positioning. This notch saw makes cutting shapes that have shoulders or notches such as the single and double heart seamless while taking up half the space of a standard saw. Travis’ customer stated that three cuts can now be done in the time it used to take to cut one. Another great feature is the safety offered by having the ability to lay the die down during the cut instead of it standing with the traditional saws. The stability of the piece adds a tremendous amount of safety to both the stone and the operator. Wilson Industrial Electric Builds 7-Foot Wire Saw WILSON INDUSTRIAL ELECTRIC States servicing the natural stone industry with machines that were built to suit each individual company’s needs. Wilson Industrial Electric, Inc. has always built the strongest machine possible, to offer durability and longevity, because they understand that this is an investment that will be used to make their customer’s business profitable. This 7-ft. wire saw is built with a strong structural frame and user-friendly controls that are simple to run and designed with safety and function in mind. The controls are built by Wilson with the latest UL Certified Mitsubishi control package and touchscreen to give their customers an edge over the competition. Johnson Machine Shop Builds Machines To Fit Their Customer’s Needs JOHNSON MACHINE SHOP core drill machines are heavy duty core drilling machines intended for high volume, year in and year out granite and stone production. These special diamond coring machines are constructed of heavy structural steel, and the frame is welded to insure maximum stability and rigidity. Complete water and hydraulic systems are built into the core drill machine and need only be connected to the source. The core drilling operations may be controlled as desired by the operator. All electrical and hydraulics are located for operators’ convenience with built in controls. The top (blue) machine is constructed with a 10-horsepower spindle motor with up to 300 RPMs. The spindle arm raises and lowers to accommodate the height of the stone with an automatic down-feed built-in. A stone cart can be used to position the stone under the 8-inch spindle before fine tuning the cut location using the forward and backward motion built into the spindle arm. The bottom (green) machine is constructed with a variable speed 15-horsepower spindle motor with up to 1700 RPMs. The cart is set on rails that allows the base to move in and out to make loading and unloading the stone easier. The spindle arm raises and lowers with the ease of just pushing a button on either the control panel or the wireless remote control. Porcelains Unlimited Updates Catalog of Available Product PORCELAINS UNLIMITED is the trusted memorial supplier of monument companies, funeral homes and cemeteries across the United States and a member of the Elberton Granite Association. They handcraft each and every porcelain and incorporate a signature company trade secret to provide the most vibrant colors for their beautiful porcelains. They recently updated their catalog with new product. The newest addition to their collection is their exquisite bronze accessories. Beautiful bronze candle holders, lights, and decor available in bronze, steel, and marble options. These accessories allow you to enhance and commemorate your loved one with a touch of timeless elegance. Porcelains Unlimited continues to bring innovative products to the industry through their extensive catalog and design knowledge. The bronze collection can be found in the most recent catalog on their website along with its very own catalog. • 866-620-4460 Miles Supply Announces Acquisition of Bicknell Supply Company in Elberton Miles Supply is proud to announce the acquisition of Bicknell Supply Company in Elberton Georgia. Bicknell Supply has a long history in the North American stone industry dating back to 1893! In 1930 they opened in Elberton, Georgia and have been a staple family business that has had a great success story. Bicknell Supply Company is a family owned and operated business that has a proven track record and their philosophy mirrors Miles Supply’s history and success. We fully intend to implement only minor changes to enhance efficiencies while keeping the family feel that Bicknell has done so well over the years. Miles Supply plans to integrate and offer in all its locations the product lines and equipment that Bicknell has carried. Miles Supply is a family owned and operated company with 6 locations in the USA and 65 employees, carrying over 8000 products for all facets of the stone industry. Miles Supply has been in business for 70 years! “Our purchase of Bicknell Supply is a very exciting time for Miles Supply. We are looking forward to joining forces and executing our growth strategy with the long-standing team at Bicknell” says Miles Supply’s President, Adam Martin. “Miles Supply will continue to offer expert technical assistance and product knowledge to the monument industry. Our increased market presence will allow us to be more effective in purchasing, thus allowing more opportunities to pass those saving on to our customers.” - Miles Supply’s Vice President Mark Crook. Two Member Firms Receive Safety Awards For Multiple Years Member firms, GOLD EAGLE QUARRIES and QUARRY INC. recently received Certificates for Safety Achievements from the United States Department of Labor and Mine Safety and Health Association (MSHA). Gold Eagle received a certificate for 2021 and 2022 for the Peerless Blue quarry. Quarry Inc. received a certificate for the Everlasting Blue quarry, Everlasting Pink quarry and the Quarries Pink quarry for the year of 2021. MSHA has been recognizing Safety Achievements for mine operators since 1978. To qualify for this exceptional award, the quarry must have not experienced a work injury that resulted in a fatality, permanent disability, days away from work, or days of restricted work activity within that year. There must have been at minimum 4,000 employee-hours during the calendar year. By taking well-strategized measures to prevent accidents, injuries, and fatalities during operations, companies can effectively safeguard the health and well-being of their employees. Gold Eagle Quarries and Quarry Inc. have done a great job at prioritizing the safety of their staff and environment. EGA is proud to have them as a part of our organization. This edition’s Member Spotlight is RIVER EDGE GRANITE COMPANY, INC. River Edge was founded in 1993 by Greg Ruff. Greg earned his degree from Emmanuel College where he majored in Business Administration before beginning his career in the granite industry and later opening his business. In February of 1994, he married his wife, Shannon, who has assisted him in the office of the company since. Shannon earned a degree in the medical field from the Athens Area Technical Institute of Athens prior to partnering with Greg to run River Edge. They now have two daughters and a son. The duo has professed throughout the years “Our business will be operated on Christian principles. The Lord has blessed us in everything that we have done. We wouldn’t be here without Him.” River Edge Granite Company joined The Elberton Granite Association in 1993, the same year they began operation, and has been a loyal and active member ever since. They recently celebrated their 30th anniversary of the company and looking forward to April when they will hit 31 years of operation. The plant is located at the intersection of Brewers Bridge Road and Tate Street Extension in Elberton, Georgia. The company owes its success to owners Greg & Shannon Ruff along with Greg’s brother, Kyle Ruff who manages plant operations. Kyle and his wife Tami have two children Kylie and Kade. Greg and Shannon are blessed with participation from their three children. Their oldest daughter, Anna Ruff, works in the art and design department ensuring that sandblasted artwork is just as the customer requests. Their youngest daughter, Ansley Ruff Hill, splits her time between her husband, Max Hill, daughter, Finley, and River Edge. She assists Shannon part-time in the office. The youngest member of the family is Gantt Ruff. Gantt has worked at his father’s side learning every aspect of the business since he was very young. When he isn’t studying or doing school work he can be found diving into whatever project he can assist with. The plant size increased from 6,400 sq. ft. when it was purchased to 19,740 sq. ft. when the building was expanded in 1994 and 1995 to make room for more equipment. In 2019 River Edge purchased an office and warehouse located directly next door, giving an addition 4,000 square footage. “This space has proven to be a great purchase for us” - stated Greg Ruff. The company markets Peerless Blue granite quarried right here in Elberton from fellow EGA member, Gold Eagle Quarry. They also market multiple other options such as Silver Cloud, India Red, American Black and Dakota Mahogany, just to name a few. Their complete list of granite and marble options can be found on the EGA website under the directory tab. River Edge manufactures a wide variety of monumental, dimensional, and interior-use options. Though the company specializes in the creation of monuments, they are well versed and capable of manufacturing counter tops, water fountains, pavers, and coping along with repair work of certain monuments. Their level of quality has proven to be top notch with their customers. And their ability to be flexible and branch out to fit their customers’ needs have proven to be remarkable. “If there is one thing we enjoy, its custom work. We love working with those jobs and we love working with people.” - Greg and Anna Ruff. River Edge Granite Company is known to jump in and team up wherever their assistance can be used. They have never been afraid to participate in joint ventures to get group projects complete or throw in a helping hand with their fellow Elberton manufacturers. This has been displayed multiple times in past Graniteer articles whether it be assisting with creating a stone, setting a stone or pitching in with the knowledge needed to help get a stone completed. River Edge began assisting the EGA with demonstrations and lessons during the annual monument builders training institute in 1995 and has been a consistent participant ever since. They have been a steadfast and indispensable with training and demonstrations. Their contributions continue to help the class in its success. River Edge also assists the EGA with rotating the monuments on the downtown display annually. The company has had their own monuments displayed there nine times since they became members. To add to the list, Greg is currently serving his fifth three-year term on the board of trustees for the Elberton Granite Association. River Edge has had many monuments appear in The Graniteer with their very first one being in 1995. They appeared on their very first cover of the magazine in summer of 2010 with a beautiful and complex stone with intricately detailed carvings. Since then, they have also appeared on the cover in fall of 2015 and fall 2017. “Each one has a remarkable story that stays in my mind.” - Greg Ruff. HE IS LIKEA. MAN WHICH BUILT A HOUSE, AND DIGGED DEEP, AND LAID THE FOUNDATION ON A ROCK; AND WHEN THE FLOOD AROSE, THE STREAM BEAT VEHEMENTLY UPON THAT HOUSE, AND COULD NOT SHAKE IT; FOR IT WAS FOUNDED UPON A ROCK. KJV LUKE 6:48 Glass Art transforms Monuments To a colorful, Detailed tribute In the recent past we looked at the different options available between laser, hand, and impact etching. Today, we would like to look at the different possibilities available with GLASS ART IMAGING. GLASS Art® is a patented process that can intricately etch any type of granite with vividly detailed long lasting images. GLASS Art® is created by melting stone into a vitrified state, then “tattooing” inert pigments within the stone itself and finally sealing the surface with a glassy sealer. The clarity of the process is breathtaking! The process has been independently tested and many real-world examples are approaching 20 years old and still appearing as vivid they did when originally created. Originally developed for Georgia gray and blue granite, it lessened the need for imported stone to incorporate pictures on granite memorials. GLASS Art® can, however, be utilized on any color of granite, offering exciting new options of personalizing memorials, signage, public art and architectural applications with long lasting colorful imaging. The variations of Glass Art available make about anything you can imagine possible. This goes from black and white to full color images on not only Georgia gray, but any other color as well. This includes mimicking bronze on stone. This option is referred to as Bronzestone®. Bronze was traditionally used for memorials without issue for many years. Unfortunately, thieves discovered it was profitable to steal bronze from cemeteries and sell it for scrap. Families were outraged and heartbroken to find their loved ones’ memorials stolen or vandalized, and cemeteries found bronze theft had become a real problem. Bronzestone® technology offers the beauty and color of bronze without the risk of it being stolen for monetary gain. Rather than being attached to the stone, Bronzestone® is tattooed into the stone with lasers. The process creates crisp, clear images and lettering that doesn’t deteriorate. Traditional bronze will eventually develop a patina, which is essentially green rust. Bronzestone® solves this problem. Bronzestone® memorials will be readable for decades longer than any traditional bronze materials and clean up easily with mild soap and water and a soft rag. This process can be combined with a traditional gray scale image or a full color image to add to its flexibility and creative expression. If you customers are demanding more personalization, let them know about Glass Art®. You can truly achieve what your customers conceive. The monuments will be admired and cherished for decades to come! EGA MUSEUM FOUNDATION GOLF TOURNAMENT ARROWHEAD POINTE GOLF COURSE SHOTGUN START AT 10:30 AM REGISTRATION, RANGE ACCESS, DONUTS & COFFEE STARTING AT 9:30 AM LUNCH WILL START CIRCULATING THROUGHOUT THE COURSE AT 12:00 ALL AMERICAN BUFFET TO FOLLOW TOURNAMENT ALONG WITH AWARDS CEREMONY! Platinum Sponsor - $1,500 • Gold Sponsor- $1,000 • Beverage Cart- $800 Silver Sponsor- $500 • Putting Contest Sponsor- $500 • Longest Drive Sponsor- $500 Hole Sponsor- $150 • Gift Bag Sponsors • Hole-In-One Challenge Sponsors Visit for more information, or contact Matthew Pruitt at 706-283-2551 or The Elberton Granite Association Museum Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)3 entity. All proceeds are 100% tax deductible and all proceeds of the Elberton Granite Association’s Annual Golf Tournament are used to benefit the renovation and upkeep of the Elberton Granite Museum. (REGISTRATION ON NEXT PAGE) 2024 SPONSORSHIP & TEAM REGISTRATION There are several ways for your organization to be part of this unique event. Contact Matthew Pruitt at 706-283-2551 or email at 2023 ELBERTON GRANITE ASSOCIATION CHRISTMAS DINNER As with each year, The Granite Association hosted their Member’s Christmas Party! The festive night was filled with great food, good friends and family. The evening began with a small happy hour where chatter and laughter could be heard from room to room. Chris Kubas, Executive Vice President of EGA, then spoke a small word thanking each member for their participation and faith in not only the EGA but the granite industry in a whole. A buffet style dinner including shrimp, ham, roast and casseroles along with breads, crackers, cheeses and deserts, was a hit. The event was held at the Elberton Country Club. It is always fun when the members can get together outside of the normal work environment and enjoy each other’s company. EGA looks forward to this event each year. Who are you doing business with? There is something to be said when one thinks how there is strength in numbers. There is also strength in Elberton, Georgia in the form of Elberton Granite Association’s loyal and capable member firms. Each member firm works hand in hand with EGA to ensure that the strength of the granite industry continues to hold strong. Every member is held to a high standard. Retail firms that patron EGA’s members also help to keep the industry thriving and growing. Doing business with EGA members helps to ensure that even through adversity, the trade does not falter as we as a team work to keep the industry growing. The granite industry as a whole, saw many changes in the last several years. But through the power of EGA’s members, it stayed the course. That is a major benefit of working with manufacturers that maintain a membership with the Association. Through their membership they receive support from not only the EGA but also the other EGA members. Family truly does take care of family. EGA offers each of the businesses that maintain membership with options for training, certifications, health testing, OSHA and MSHA assistance along with assistance with hiring new employees. They also have access to prospects like a workers compensation program and the benefit of being featured and listed in the quarterly magazine The Graniteer, just to name a few. The type of help and support that EGA offers its members allows them to focus on making sure that the quality and craftsmanship of their monuments are top notch. EGA travels to several conventions throughout the year to represent their member firms and maintain business relations with the industry workforce. You can get a list of EGA members at these conventions or just look toward the center of every Graniteer magazine for our member directory. Yes, there is definitely strength in the EGA family. When things get “rocky” our members dig in their heels and shovel through whatever the issue is...together. 2023 / 2024 Downtown Display OUTDOOR DISPLAY SHOWCASES ELBERTON’S FINEST TALENT Each year an array of monumental designs located in the heart of Elberton, Georgia offers a glimpse into the outstanding craftsmanship available with Elberton Granite Association’s remarkable membership. Not only do these companies offer excellent quality with their craftsmanship capabilities, but they also offer the very best granite available. Various colors quarried from all over the world can be obtained right here in Elberton, Georgia but the very heart of it all is the granite that is quarried right in our own back yard and throughout the United States. Downtown Display. The EGA members hire and train the very best stone cutters and craftsmen and women to create the very best monuments available. The downtown display offers a place to spotlight these monuments. BURTON MONUMENT COMPANY – JET BLACK GRANITE, GEORGIA GRAY GRANITE CENTURY-HARMONY GRANITE COMPANY – AMERICAN BLACK GRANITE CHILDS & CHILDS GRANITE COMPANY – GEORGIA GRAY GRANITE DIXIE GRANITE COMPANY – DIXIE BLUE GRANITE SOUTHERN GRANITE COMPANY – AMERICAN BLACK GRANITE RIVER EDGE GRANITE COMPANY – BLUE PEARL GRANITE WALKER GRANITE COMPANY – ELBERTON GRAY GRANITE, AMERICAN BLACK GRANITE Nestled in the woods just behind the Bulldog Haven bell standing inside Oconee Hill Cemetery in Athens, Georgia, rests a work of art crafted and designed by EGA member-firms, KEYSTONE MEMORIALS and DESIGN MART. The cemetery is located just behind Sanford Stadium. This stately monument began in the minds of UGA Alumni from each firm in honor of legendary former University of Georgia football coaching legend, Vince Dooley. Keystone Memorials and Design Mart have collaborated on multiple occasions for projects honoring their alma mater. This includes recently departed, Tom Oglesby and sons George and Ross of Keystone and Joe Fernandez and son Mike of Design Mart, all UGA alumni. The team of men put their heads together once more to create a monument to honor Vince Dooley’s memory. Scores of sketches, from contemporary to traditional were narrowed down to dozens. During the design process, Mike of Design Mart presented options to George and Ross of Keystone who consulted with the family on the ideas. Questions of finishes, artwork aspects, and size were all discussed and tweaked and drawings were changed and refined until the family rested on a final concept. The family decided on a traditional design in keeping with the many other monuments in the cemetery. This design was the end result letting it speak completely of who this great man, Coach Dooley, truly was and what he cherished most in his life. American Black granite was chosen for this honoring memorial. The monument stands just short of 4.5 feet tall from ground to top and consists of four pieces including the bevel marker in front of the memorial. The top cap is all steeled with an ridge top roof and a series of checks and ogees that lead to the tablet portion of the monument. The tablet is all steeled as well aside from the polished family name “Dooley” that sits within a double recessed panel” Mrs. Dooley was drawn to the subtlety of steeled finish and did not want any polish on the monument aside from the family name, which creates a beautiful natural contrast. Two faux columns embellish each side of the recessed panel on front and back sides. The family chose four images to display atop each column. This included a Bible, the UGA logo, the UGA arch and a flower to represent he and his wife’s love of gardening. Ross Oglesby worked closely with the family and came to include a raised cross that is carved within another recessed panel between each faux column on front and back. The base of this monument features a gradual drop wash and a 2” steeled margin before finishing with rock pitch on each edge. In front of the monument sits a bevel marker with a steeled top and 2” steeled margin. Rock pitch completes each side of the bevel. The family chose American Black because Coach Dooley chose that color for most projects on campus when he was athletic director, such as the UGA Olympian Monument at Stegeman Coliseum and the namesake feature in Dooley Plaza. Keystone Memorials and Design Mart are responsible for many of the granite projects that can be found on the UGA campus including memorial walls, Alumni memorials, signs, and statues along with bases for bronze statues. Keystone and Design Mart are an excellent team when they are called to be. “It was a great pleasure to work with Keystone on yet another UGA-related project - a lasting tribute to a fine man and a great coach!” - Joe Fernandez, Design Mart This spectacular colonnade style monument was crafted by DIXIE GRANITE COMPANY for Winfield Monument Company in Winfield, Alabama. This monument stands proud at 8-foot, 2-inches tall. It is made of Enterprise Blue granite with a steel finish on each piece. The entablature of this memorial consists of the top-cap with a roof top pitch, a cornice adorned with a cyma recta ogee and a series of checks, and a frieze sandblasted with the Webb family name. The square, fluted columns stand 5-foot, 6-inches tall supporting the weight of the entablature. The sub base is topped with a check that leads into a gracefully smooth scotia. The monument is grounded atop a solid base with straight ends. A beautiful turned steel finish vase completes this outstanding monument. KEYSTONE MEMORIALS fabricated these matching monuments from Topaz Blue granite for The Johns-Carabelli Company located in Brook Park, Ohio. The two monuments feature beautiful carved and tooled cross designs mimicking the curve of the serp top. The front and back of the monument are honed with a steeled recessed border. The two bases are hone finished with an elegant ogee. REYNOLDS MARBLE & GRANITE COMPANY created this beautiful sand finished memorial for Maple Hill Monument Company in Huntsville, Alabama. Georgia Cherokee Marble was used for all three pieces of this memorial. It is a coarse-grain marble with waves of white clouds and veins quarried near Tate in Pickens County, Georgia. Reynolds shaped the monument with the unique top and straight ends before carving the raised wreath within the sunken panel. The panel features a gradual grade giving the face of the monument a soft appeal. The sub base is made with a check along the top margin followed by a beautiful 3-inch ogee on all four sides. The tablet and sub base sit atop the base that is sand finished with a flat top and straight ends. JENSON ETCHING continues year after year and stone after stone showing their unbelievable talent and abilities. Both etchings for this memorial was done for Clearview Memorials located in Berlin, Pennsylvania by Jenson’s talented staff. One etching consists of a collage of photos with great detail spreading across a clouded sky. The second etching is a highly detailed tree branch with a sun shining behind. The depth of detail in both etchings are phenomenal! Great job Jenson Etching team! GEORGIA MAUSOLEUMS, INC. was delegated to craft this large-scale Stephens family monument along with the coping and ledgers. Georgia Gray granite was used to create each piece of this monument. Consisting of four large pieces, this monument stands out with distinction. The all polished cap is made with an apex roof above the cornice adorned with a gradual ogee and scotia. The second piece bears the family name in raised letters inside a recessed panel. Above the family name is a band of raised carved acanthus leaves wrapping round each side. The edges are polished with a recessed panel on each side. The sub base is all polished and topped with an ogee along the top that leads to a check and half round member. The polished base features a gradual drop wash. Six polished ledgers sit in front of the monument with a check leading to a beautiful ogee giving the ledgers a classy sophistication. This monument can be found in the Historic Snellville Cemetery in Snellville, Georgia. This stunning monument was crafted by WELCH’S GRANITE COMPANY from Jet Black granite. The exquisite detailing of the shape carved design signifies that much care and attention to detail was given to the creation of this elegant monument. The shape of this memorial gives a sophisticated air to the traditional serp top. The sides are shaped with a gentle scotia ending with a shoulder before resting atop the base. The base is polished on the top and each side is finished with a rock pitch. RIVER EDGE GRANITE put a stylish twist on this classic style Blue Pearl memorial. This monument offers style and class with a gothic top that blends down to rounded shoulders and straight edges. The front and back are polished with rock pitching along the edges and top. The base has a 2” polished margin and then follows through with rock pitch edges. At the foot of this plot sits a bench with an all polished seat. The pedestal mimics the shape of the monument’s rounded shoulders with a polished front and back and rock pitched sides. The base has a 2” polished margin before finishing with rock pitch on each side. This monument can be found in Wolffork Baptist Church Cemetery in Rabun County, Georgia. KEYSTONE MEMORIALS crafted yet another specular memorial for Johnson Monuments in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. The monument is made from American Black granite and weighs approximately 12,455 pounds total. The three tablets are polished on the front and back with rock pitch edges. Each wing is cut with a half roof with a 12-inch drop angling down from the center tablet. Each tablet has straight ends. The center base is crafted with a 4-inch polished margin before transitioning to rock pitch while the two outside bases have a polished top with rock pitch on all sides. The new memorial is dedicated to those in the community who have served in any branch of the United States Armed Forces as well as law enforcement and EMS services. The memorial is located in the southwest corner of Pfifner Pioneer Park in Portage County. The monument represents the area’s law enforcement and fire departments, along with nine benefactors honoring those who have served their country in the military. The monument was unveiled and dedicated on November 20, 2023. Positioned on a privately owned hillside called Secession Hill which is located in Abbeville, South Carolina are a few Peerless Blue granite works of art crafted by RIVER EDGE GRANITE COMPANY. Each monument serves a purpose of memorializing a piece of history. The oversized pedestal slant serves to hold an existing boulder. The pedestal was crafted with steel finish on the front, top and back and a rock pitch on both sides to tie the appearance of the monument together. The base continues the steel finish on the top and mimics the rock pitch on all four sides, tying all of the pieces together. The set of monuments below are placed directly to the right once one turns into Succession Hill Park. The spire was moved to the park from the courthouse after a fire. River Edge Granite fabricated the base and two sub bases for the spire to sit on after it was transported to Elberton for dowel holes to be installed. The base and sub bases are each finished with a steel finish that transitions nicely from the aged and fire struck spire offering a impressive center piece for the two monuments on either side. The two tablets feature a polished front and back with a three and a quarter inch rock pitch border on all sides. The edges and top of the tablets are steel finish. The bases of the tablets are all steel finish and have a gradual drop wash on each. “I found just the right group of folks for this job. That family was great to work with and got the job done.” - Robert Hayes, owner of Secession Hill Kentucky Monument Builders Association, Tennessee Monument Builders Association, Monument Builders of the Carolinas, MBOC, TNMBA, KMBA Nashville, Tennessee Richard & Pan Schultz from Madison, TN with Charlotte & Billy Fox along with Kent Curnel of Henry & Henry Mitch & Rhonda Williams with L & M Granite Company; Sandy & Stan Maness from Greenfield, TN; Connie and Tony Mills of L & M Granite Company; standing in front of Stan is Indie next to Emily, baby Olive and Mike Wade, along with Verna Todd and Andy Watson, all from Covington, TN Andy Futrell of Louisville, KY with Michael Hughes of Bicknell Supply Company Stacey Drake with Granite Sales & Supply, Nathan Gaulden of Rock Hill, SC and James Walters of Matthews Granite Luke, Rose, Marty and Rhett Walker of Walker Granite Company stand with Donna, Steve and Michael Anderson of Somerville, TN; Bob Bratton of Dickson, TN stands in the back next to Earnest Hillman of Memphis, TN. Holding her child is Shannon & Mitchell Calhoun of Dobson, NC; Joe Bratton of Dickson, TN; and Andy, Autumn, Daniel and Ryleigh Raper with Vickie & Anthony Rowland all of Bethel Springs, TN On Monday, October 16, 2023, LTC Darwyn E. Kelley, Ret., ARNG, 84, of Deep Creek Road, Dewy Rose, GA was met at the gates of heaven by his devoted wife Barbara who peacefully received her reward a year earlier. Mr. Kelley was born on November 27, 1938, in Elberton, GA to J. William (Bill) Kelley and Belle Booth Kelley. He is survived by his daughters: Teresa Kelley of Myrtle Beach, SC and Robin Kelley of Hull, GA; son, Tim Kelley (Sharon Whitfield) of Dewy Rose, GA; grandchildren: Jaime Whitehead Clardy (Bryan), Nikki Whitehead Trant (Ben), Lacey Phillips Blackwell (Ryan), Cheyenne Kelley, and Shaye Kelley; and great-grandchildren: Cadence Reynolds, Brayden Clardy, Raegan Reynolds, Cooper Clardy, Birdie-Grace Blackwell, and Cohan Trant. In addition to his parents and wife Barbara Rice Kelley, he is preceded in death by an infant daughter, Melody Delaine Kelley. He proudly served in the Army Reserve National Guard until 1991. After 35 years of service and answering the call to be a recruiter, he retired as LTC Field Artillery USAR with many honors, including the Georgia National Guard Commendation Medal. In addition to his faithful military service, he was also a retired business owner of Granite City Machine Company, a former member of the Elberton Granite Association. For recreation, he enjoyed hunting deer and birds, and had a passion for horses. He was also an avid fan of all sports who never missed an opportunity to play golf with his buddies, watch Atlanta Braves baseball or watch Georgia Bulldogs football. Darwyn loved his family immensely and always said he had the most beautiful grandchildren and great grandchildren. He was a gentle, kind man but most importantly, he had a strong faith and belief in his salvation. The wonderful memories shared with him will forever be carried in the hearts and minds of everyone. Mr. William Roland “Billy” Rice, 81, of Clairmont Avenue, Elberton, husband of 46 years to the late Patrica Lee Johnson Rice, passed away on Monday, November 6, 2023, at the Callie and John Rainey Hospice House in Anderson. A lifelong resident of Elbert County, Billy was born on January 27, 1942, the fifth of seven children of Ralph Carlis Rice, Sr. and Annie Ruth Brown Rice. He started work at the Elberton Coca Cola plant as a delivery man and this led to a lifelong career in trucking. He used the foundation that was set for him to found and operate W.R. Rice Trucking Company, LLC for many years where he was a proud member of the Elberton Granite Association. Billy was a member of Fortsonia Baptist Church. A hardworking man, he was never too busy to enjoy a game of golf or to spend the afternoon waiting for the fish to bite. Billy was an avid college football fan who especially enjoyed cheering for the Georgia Bulldogs. Besides spending time with his family, one of his favorite pastimes was watching western television shows with his beloved puppy in his lap. Surviving are his sons and their wives: Philip and Rhonda Rice of Bowman and Scott and Rhonda Gunter of Elberton. Papa also leaves behind his grandchildren: Cadey Rice, Cody Gunter, and Clint and Ande Gunter; and great-grandchildren: Townsend Gunter and Birdie Rae Gunter. In addition to his wife and parents, he is preceded in death by his siblings: Ralph Rice, Jean Seymour, Joyce Chastain, Beth Anderson, Alice Dye, and Kenny Rice. Mr. Wayne Thomas Bridges, 81, of Elberton, husband of 34 years to Deborah Bishop Bridges, passed away on Sunday, November 19, 2023, at Heardmont Health Care Center. Wayne was born in Elberton on October 8, 1942, son of the late W.T. Bridges and Zelma Lee “Nig” Smith Fry. He was a veteran having proudly served in the United States Army National Guard and the retired owner/operator of Elberton Granite Turning Works, a former member-firm of the Elberton Granite Association. Wayne was an avid NASCAR fan who enjoyed collecting cars. He knew and loved everybody, and always had a smile on his face. His sense of humor was sure to leave everyone with a smile on their face. Wayne was a longtime member of Celebration Outreach Center. Surviving, in addition to his wife Debby, are his step-son, Ken Paul; granddaughter, Amanda Savage; great-grandchildren: Carter Wayne Savage, Briar Savage, and Daibree Farrar; special friend that he loved as a daughter, Annette Riggs; brothers: Rev. Wade Bridges, Ricky Fry, Gary Fry, and Roger Bridges; and a host of nieces, nephews, and other relatives. Besides his parents, he is preceded in death by his son, James Michael “Mike” Bridges; step-father, Jim Fry; step-mother, Margie Bridges; and siblings: Sherry Nash, Jane Bridges, Bobby Bridges, and Donald Bridges. George Thomas “Tom” Oglesby, Jr. entered into rest in the comfort of his Elberton, Georgia residence on Monday, November 27, 2023, at 5:30 a.m., the time in which he usually left for work. He was 78. Born on Halloween 1945, Tom completed the George T. and Josephine Oglesby family, joining two older sisters, Ethel and Marcia. Having lived most of his life in Elberton, he graduated from Elbert County High School with the class of 1963. Tom was proud to have been Captain of the 1962 Region Champion Blue Devil Football team. He furthered his education at his beloved University of Georgia, graduating in 1967 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. Tom returned home in 1967 to join the family business, Keystone Granite. Just as his father before him, he dedicated his life to the betterment of Keystone, which is currently operated by the third generation of the Oglesby family, and the granite industry. He served as a Division President of the Monument Builders of North America and served as president of the Elberton Granite Association eight times. He served on the board of trustees for the Elberton Granite Association a total of twenty-eight times. That is the most years of service that anybody has served to this day on the EGA board of trustees. Tom also served on the Elbert Memorial Hospital Authority Board. He was a dedicated supporter of University of Georgia Athletics. An avid football fan, there are very few UGA football games that Tom missed. Those closest to Tom knew not to plan anything during football Saturdays if you wanted him to attend! He was an avid farmer who spend many hours on the farm tending to his cattle. Tom Oglesby’s legacy will continue to impact the granite industry, the University of Georgia, and beyond for many generations. He will be remembered for giving almost everyone he knew a nickname - sometimes a compliment and sometimes not but always out of love. Surviving are his wife of 24 years, Elaine Seymour Oglesby; children: George Thomas Oglesby, III and his wife Tina of Elberton, Laura Elizabeth O. Hernandez and her husband Jesse of Elberton, Ross Arnold Oglesby and his wife Amy of Watkinsville, Kevin Rice and his wife Allison of Elberton, and Melanie Albertson of Hartwell; sister, Ethel Horton of St. Simons Island; grandchildren: Gray Oglesby and his wife Caylor, Maribeth Hernandez, Molly Oglesby, Marjorie Hernandez, Brock Oglesby, Justin Rice and his wife Karly, Austin Albertson, Marissa Hernandez, Lily Oglesby, and Zeb Oglesby; great-grandchildren: Nyla, Lucy Jo, and Magnolia; special companion, Sadie; and a host of nieces, nephews, and other relatives. He is preceded in death by his parents, George Thomas Oglesby, Sr. and Josephine Fortson Oglesby; and sister, Marcia Oglesby Esch. Tom will be greatly missed by all who knew him in the granite industry. His vision for what this industry could be was always a bright beacon guiding him to motivate others forward in their capabilities. His strong leadership will never be forgotten.
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