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Staff photo by Erin O. Smith / Hoyt Williams Sr. poses for a portrait while holding a photo of himself and a photo of his wife and himself Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017 at his home in Trion, Ga. Williams served in the Army for about three years, beginning in February 1943.

Chattooga County, Georgia, will celebrate one of its bravest and best-known citizens Friday for the service he gave to his country.

On Friday, the community Hoyt Williams has called home his entire life will honor him with a medal celebration in Summerville at 2 p.m. at the Chattooga County Memorial Home.

Williams, 96, was sent a military draft letter in February 1943 to fight in World War II. He had recently graduated from high school, become married and prepared for the next stage of his life in Trion, a small community built around a cotton mill.

Since he was a boy, he had worked at his father's grocery store, Hoyt's Supermarket, on the edges of Trion. Asked recently how he felt about getting drafted, Williams was subdued, all these decades later.

The Army assigned Williams to work as an engineer supply technician. After his induction in Atlanta, he shipped off to Europe and was stationed in England, France, Belgium and Germany for about 2 1/2 years. He worked in a supply house, receiving the goods that higher-ups felt were necessary to win World War II.

In turn, he gave the supplies to the right people. He hooked them up with bulldozers and cranes, as well as supplies to draw maps. He compared the supply house to his father's grocery store, except with customers looking for big machines instead of bread.

After the war, Williams returned to Trion, to his father's grocery store.

His dad retired in 1948 and Williams took over the store, running it and other local businesses with his wife, Hazel, for 38 years. Williams also served on the county's water authority, the Trion Board of Education and the town council. He served as mayor for one term.

When his time in local politics ended, he wanted to keep working. He walked into the local Walmart and applied. He's been there ever since, helping people get the stuff they need to do the jobs they need.

Georgia's Adjutant General Thomas Carden will present Williams with his medals, including the World War II Victory Medal and an honorable service lapel button, among others.

Contact Patrick Filbin at pfilbin@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6476. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickFilbin.

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