Veteran honored with Jefferson Award for continued service to country
FOX 31 continues to honor our local heroes with the Jefferson Awards.
The Jefferson Award is the nation's longest standing and most prestigious organization dedicated to celebrating public service.
Charlie Rose is January’s recipient. He spent many of his 24 years in the Air Force working on planes.
“I have never counted the different types of airplanes I’ve been on, but every airplane that went to Korea during the conflict, I’ve worked on them,” he said. “Every one of them — fighters, helicopters, you name it. Same thing with Vietnam.”
The job took him all around the world, and he has a few favorite spots, like Australia, New Zealand and Thailand.
These days, he still travels in service of the county, but it’s a little different now: He takes veterans to and from their programs and appointments in Dublin. Charlie has made the trip every Wednesday for the past five years, and the only time he has missed the drive is when he visits back home in Washington.
“I put anywhere from 1200 to 1500 miles a month on the van,” he said. “I go from Albany, Americus, Hawkinsville, Cochran and Dublin. The next week, I go Albany, Cordele, Hawkinsville and up.”
Charlie wakes up at 4:30 a.m. and sometimes doesn’t get home until 5 p.m., but he’s not complaining.
“I enjoy my driving. I really do,” he said.
He’s even mastered his van like he mastered planes all those years ago.
“I got it down to a point where my passengers, when I go around the corner, they’re not sitting there, going like this because the guys on the edge of the seat, they’d be falling on the floor, with some of those curves up there. But I got them where I straighten that curve out,” he said.
Charlie also makes trips to MCLB Albany and is part of a two-man team that works the buildings and expansive grounds at American Legion Post 30 in Albany.
“If something breaks in here, either Gary will fix it or I’ll fix it, and just staying with that mechanical type of thing,” he said.
Charlie gives back to these groups because he wants to stay connected.
“The Air Force took care of us,” he said. “Like I say, I miss it. Old retired warhorse.”
And he still feels some of that comradeship these days.
“I met a lot of people, and there’s some that, if we had to go to war, I’d want them on either side of me,” he said.
He’s not sure if the driving program has an age limit, but Charlie is in it for the long haul.
“Just keep chugging on.”