Albany senior honored for his service - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany senior honored for his service

February 24, 2004

Albany - A man who spent most of his life helping people around the world and here in Georgia, is honored for his kindness. George Kirkland, Junior was recently named the Distinguished Senior Georgian for 2004 by the Council on Aging.

92 year-old Kirkland found out about the honor last week. "It was a surprise. I appreciate it very much. It's quite an honor, I know," said Kirkland.

The Georgia Council on Aging choose Kirkland in large part because of his more than 50 years of service to the American Red Cross. In 1942 Kirkland, then 30 years-old, went to England with the Red Cross to help the military. "We went on the Queen Elizabeth to England," said Kirkland.

Kirkland was transferred to India, then China, and became the Red Cross Ambassador to East Asia. "As an administrator you have to make checks, see if everybody's doing there job, contact the military to see if they had any problems with anybody."

After three years he was finally granted leave and jumped on a plane to the states. "The pilot came over and said 'The war's over in Europe.'" He recalls a Sergeant pulling out a bottle of Scotch. "He said 'Pass it around.'"

But after his visit, he went back to China where he got a letter from his fraternity brother Spencer Walden. "He wrote me and said let's go into the real-estate business," said Kirkland. Then came a call from his mother. His father was in a coma.

"When I got here, I touched his bed and he came back. The doctor said 'If you ever leave, he'll die.' So I had a decision to make." He decided to stay in Albany and opened Walden and Kirkland Realtors in 1947.

"We've developed 14 subdivisions, one industrial park, one shopping center, and an apartment complex."

The successful businessman and former president of both the Georgia Board of Realtors and the Chamber of Commerce, had never married.

"I never meet right girl. But, when I did I knew that was it." In 1969 at 59 years-old, Kirkland married Carol Forrester.

"I turned out to be a father, and grandfather, and a great-grandfather." And at 92, he still donates his time to charities, which he credits for his long life and happiness.

"Me and the Lord work together. I've had so many different experiences, eating so many foods, slept on some many odd bunks.," said Kirkland.

He gave his life to helping others around the world, around the country, and around the block which makes him a truly Distinguished Senior of Georgia.

Kirkland will be recognized by state lawmakers during Senior Week at the Capital on March 4th.

Posted at 3:20PM by kathryn.murchison@walb.com