COVINGTON - The late Jack Hays Morgan Sr. and his son, Davis, who both changed Newton County with their visions for progress, were honored at Tuesday night's Board of Commissioners meeting.
Many members of the Morgan family were on hand to witness the dedication of a portion of U.S. Highway 278 to the two men.
A sign reading "Jack and Davis Morgan Memorial Highway" was unveiled by State Sen. John Douglas, R-Social Circle, and State Rep. Doug Holt, R-Social Circle, who introduced legislation in the General Assembly honoring the Morgans.
The signs were already in place Wednesday. The stretch of highway dedicated to the Morgans runs between Martin Luther King Drive and Ga. Highway 142, in front of the Morgan family farm.
Douglas called the Morgans "one of the leading families of the modern era."
"We've been very fortunate, over the last many years, to have them involved in county government, civics and the business community as well," he said.
Jack Morgan was elected to the county commission in 1969.
"It was a turbulent time, a difficult time to be in a leadership role," Douglas said. "Jack did it with class."
During his two terms as chairman, he oversaw the paving of 142 miles of county roads and the start of the county's first ambulance service and landfill.
He also served in the Georgia House of Representatives and was appointed to the Georgia Rural Development Authority by former Gov. Joe Frank Harris.
He died in March at the age of 89.
Davis Morgan also served two terms as chairman of the Board of Commissioners, from 1993 to 2000.
During that time, he oversaw tremendous growth in the county and spearheaded many projects, including Bear Creek Reservoir, Turner Lake Park, the mental and physical health centers and Gaither Plantation.
Morgan died in 2004 at the age of 49. His widow, Kathy Morgan, is in her first term as chairman of the Board of Commissioners.
"Certainly, Newton County owes them both a great debt of gratitude for their public service ... no doubt all our lives are better for their efforts," Holt said.
"This is an honor that we would never have imagined - nor they," said Jack Morgan's daughter, Barbara. "We could not be more grateful to Sen. Douglas and Rep. Holt, who conceived of this memorial, and treasure the kind words that went into the resolutions and the words spoken at the dedication ceremony."
Crystal Tatum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.