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Bill to name state park after late senator to be introduced in House
Jack Hill
Sen. Jack Hill (1945-2020) - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

   ATLANTA – State Rep. Bill Werkheiser (R-Glennville), chairman of the House Industry & Labor Committee, announced Friday that he will introduce legislation to name a state park after the late state Senator Jack Hill of Reidsville.

         Hill was chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He represented Bulloch, Candler, Effingham and Evans counties, as well as portions of Emanuel and Tattnall counties. Hill was first elected to the Senate in 1990.

            “As the time approached to appropriately honor Senator Hill, there was no debate as to what to do,” said Werkheiser. “Those who knew him came to the same conclusion to name the Gordonia-Alatamaha State Park in Reidsville after the late senator. Senator Hill has been a close friend, mentor and an incredible statesman not only to this area, but the entire state. His wisdom and leadership will be greatly missed. The naming of this park will be a reminder for generations of his contributions to this great state.”

            Gordonia-Alatamaha State Park is a 662 acre state park located in Reidsville. The park has a lake, camping facilities, cottages and an 18-hole golf course. It is managed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR). 

            House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge), Majority Leader Jon Burns (R-Newington) and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Terry England (R-Auburn) all voiced their support for the legislation and their profound respect for Hill and his legacy.

            “Senator Jack Hill was a man of unquestionable integrity and a model public servant,” said Ralston. “It is fitting that we would name this park in memory of a man who devoted his life to being a faithful steward of this state and its resources. I appreciate Chairman Werkheiser sponsoring this legislation and for continuing to serve the citizens that Jack cared for so deeply.”

         Burns, whose district Hill also represented, said, “Senator Hill and his wife, Ruth Ann, loved to walk and spend time in this beautiful park in Reidsville. Jack knew this piece of heaven on earth was one of God’s garden spots. He would be very pleased and honored by adding his name to the park.”

            England worked closely with Hill over the last decade on the state’s budgets.

            “Naming this state park for Senator Jack Hill is an incredibly fitting tribute to a man who loved all our state parks, but especially this one,” said England. “I cannot remember the number of times that I would call Chairman Hill and he would tell me, ‘I just got back from walking the park’ or ‘I just took a sandwich out to eat at the park’ and ‘Ruth Ann and I just rode through the park to get away for a little bit.’ He loved this park and his stewardship on its behalf is evident over every square inch of it.”

            DNR Commissioner Mark Williams enjoyed a longtime friendship with Hill. 

            Williams said, “Chairman Hill was a selfless champion for the state of Georgia and its timeless natural and historical resources for nearly three decades. It is hard to find a greater legacy of someone who prioritized the past, current and future successes of the Department of Natural Resources. We are proud to cement the legacy of the good chairman from Reidsville by naming his hometown state park in his honor.”