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July 11, 2014

River bridge forever honors Parham

MILLEDGEVILLE — Well-known public servant and Baldwin County resident Bobby E. Parham received another honor Thursday when the river bridge on East Hancock Street and Ga. 24 was dedicated in his name.

Elected officials and community members gathered under the bridge at the Oconee River Greenway to christen the structure as the Bobby Parham Bridge.

The Georgia House recognized Parham during a recent visit back to the Capitol. State Rep. Rusty Kidd (I-Milledgeville) commended Parham with a resolution dedicating the bridge during the 2014 Legislative Session.

Parham has long been recognized by the citizens of this state for the vital role he played in leadership and his personal commitment to the welfare of Georgia citizens, according to the resolution.

Former state representative and current Georgia Department of Transportation State Transportation Board Chairman Jay Shaw served with Parham in both capacities.

“Bobby was the go-to guy for anything with transportation and motor vehicles,” Shaw said. “Everybody at the Capitol and on the DOT board loved him. Bobby could get things done.”

Parham knew that transportation was economic development, especially for rural Georgia, according to Shaw.

Baldwin County Sheriff Bill Massee has 27 years logged at his position and experienced numerous trips to Atlanta for lobbying on behalf of county government.

“For years, I can't tell you how much, not only what Bobby Parham meant to Baldwin County but to the Georgia Sheriff's Association,” Massee said. “We literally used his office in the Capitol as the headquarters for the association. I don't think I've ever had anybody be any more supportive or helpful to law enforcement in the state as Bobby Parham.”

The sheriff said Parham helped the community in good and bad times trying to fight state job losses.

Both County Commissioner Emily C. Davis and Milledgeville Mayor Richard Bentley presented Parham with honorary proclamations as well Thursday.

“I've never heard a bad word said about Bobby Parham,” Bentley said.

Kidd filled Parham's state legislative seat and got to know him through state lobbying in the 1970s.

The current legislator said the respected figure always had a direct line to the governor's office benefiting Baldwin County for decades.

“I haven't done it yet, but I'm still trying to fill his shoes,” Kidd said. “There are very few people that can say they served their community for 50 years. We'll remember Bobby and thank him every time we cross this bridge.”

Parham graduated from Georgia Military College before completing schooling at the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy in 1963.

He founded Medical Arts Pharmacy in Milledgeville the next year.

The local figure served as a Baldwin County Commissioner from 1969-1974 before election to the Georgia House of Representatives from 1975 to 2009.

The experienced politician served on the House Committees on Appropriations, Rules and Health & Ecology, as well as chairperson for the Transportation Committee.

Both state chambers passed more than 90 percent of the legislation Parham introduced.

After the state representative seat, Parham served on the State Transportation Board of the Department of Transportation until April of 2013.

The member of Northside Baptist Church also was a founder and board member of First National Bank, now Suntrust Bank, in Milledgeville.

He is still the only Georgian to receive the Hubert H. Humphrey Award, established in 1978 to recognize American Pharmacists Association members who have made major contributions in government at the local, state or national level.

Parham was instrumental in obtaining state funds for the restoration of the Old Governor's Mansion, as well as GMC and Georgia College projects.

The Oconee River Greenway Authority also thanked Parham for his longtime support and assistance toward a 1 million dollar grant from 2011 Federal Transportation Enhancement Funds for Phase III expansion.

Along with the bridge, the Central State Hospital kitchen and a GMC hall bear his name.

 

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