October 18, 2018

The Heard Citizen’s Most Inspirational Person of 2017

(Franklin, GA) — Each January, the Heard Citizen attempts to pinpoint the most inspiring local person in the news from the prior calendar year.

In 2015 that person was the late Ms. Lilly Scott, and in 2016 that person was Mr. Brett Smith.

Now we recognize Mr. Edward Potts as Heard County’s Most Inspirational Person of 2017.

Edward appeared in our news feed in 2017 for a couple of very different reasons, but each instance showed just what a beloved and recognizable figure he is in the Heard County Community.

He first made news in August by not only being named an inaugural member of the brand new Heard County Athletics Hall of Fame, but being asked to cut the very ribbon to open it.

The local icon received a warm reception from all of those in attendance and was an easy selection for the Hall of Fame based on his many years of dedicated service to the Heard County School system along with his impact on multiple generations of students, faculty, and other school employees.

Edward again made our headlines in October, but this time for a very different reason when he was involved in an early morning crash on his personal golf cart as he headed to work.

Edward was banged up and suffered a large laceration on his head but luckily escaped further harm. Unfortunately, his older golf cart was not so lucky and it was determined it would need to be replaced.

In the next few days, the love this community has for Edward became even more evident as many local citizens and businesses quickly raised enough money to purchase a new golf cart for Edward, and not just any golf cart — but a state of the art model complete with Brave decorations.

Mr. Edward Potts at the Inaugural Heard County Athletics Hall of Fame Induction on August 18 (Photo: Rodney East)

In each of these very different circumstances during 2017, the local community spoke loud and clear in saying “We LOVE our Edward Potts!!!”

Edward entered into the work program at Heard High while attending the school in the 1970’s and has now been employed there for over 40 years, serving in numerous roles including athletics manager.

His sister, Toni Potts Blanchard, described many of the challenges that Edward has faced during his life and how he has overcome them during her Hall of Fame speech in his honor at Heard High on August 18.

“Edward was born with cerebral palsy and the day he was born our parents were told by doctors that he wouldn’t live through the night. Our heavenly father said otherwise. Look at him now. He’s 58 years old,” said Blanchard that day.

“Although his condition caused him to have physical limitations such as not being able to walk until the age of five, not being able to have the full use of his thumbs, and having a speech impediment, Edward never once used his physical inabilities as an excuse. He went on to use those skinny little legs to run in many races and he was able to use his hands to work at the recreation department where he manually kept score,” added Blanchard. “He’s also able to use his hands to navigate day after day through the many keys on his key ring to open the doors of the school daily and even after hours and weekends for some of you here today.”

“His speech has never hindered him from communicating with others and even telling others when to leave him alone. Living with cerebral palsy, Edward was and is still able to do almost everything that he wants to do. As a matter of fact, he doesn’t want you to show him any special treatment. He’s very independent,” said Blanchard.

His sister’s comments reflect why Edward is and always has been such a beloved member of the community.

Many others talk not just about the challenges he has overcome, but the kindness and selflessness he displays on a daily basis. Edward graduated from HHS in 1978 and one of his classmates, Tim Massa, talks about his kindness even as a teenager.

“I will always remember how much trouble we football players would get into if we lost our mouthpieces. It was a big deal if we lost our mouthpiece and we would have to run ‘the bank’ several times — it was just brutal,” says Massa, a former football player. “But Edward would always watch out for us by keeping a hidden stash of extra mouthpieces that only he knew about. He saved many of us from extra time on that grueling bank and we were all appreciative.”

Any effort to recount all of those that have become close friends with Edward over the years would be futile, but the names mentioned by his sister during the ceremony included people from all walks of life such as principals, board members, coaches, faculty members, and community leaders.

Another example of Edward’s giving nature was showcased after his own golf cart fundraiser had ended. The donations for Edward ended up totaling even more than was needed for his cart so he chose to give that leftover money to a separate fundraiser for a current Heard County athlete, Caden Raines — who at the time was facing his own medical crisis.

Edward has difficulty using his hands, yet he has worked a job for over 40 years requiring use of those hands often. Edward has speech problems, yet he has worked with and around the most people of anyone in the county’s history and never struggled to communicate.

As you can see the choice of Edward Potts for Most Inspiring Person of the Year was an easy one.

Not only has he overcome physical challenges when many others would have given up, but he has been a priceless example to five different decades of young people here in Heard County on how to be a champion at life and for that we should all be grateful.

Perhaps the late Heard High Principal John Paramore put it best in the late 1980’s when someone said to him: “Edward is lucky to have a man like you to run with him and spend time with him every day.” Paramore simply responded, “No, I’m clearly the lucky one that Edward chooses to spend his time with me.”

Thank you Edward Potts for what you have already done and for all you continue to do for the community of Heard County.

Comments

  1. Charles jett says:

    The Legend of Edward Potts continues. Having known Edward since 1977 i will say that no one is more deserving of these acolades than Edward. God put this man here for a reason and i think every person in Heard County has a story of how Edward has impacted their life. As for me i will never forget the times spent with Edward on many road trips to football, basketball, baseball and track meets. All of us in Heard County has had our lifes enriched just by knowing Edward. Charles Jett!

  2. Melody Jones Wilson says:

    Wow I have so enjoyed reading this article about Edward Potts. Congratulations on being named Heard’s Most Inspirational Citizen, quite the honor and seems quite deserved! Edward and I were classmates and graduated together In the class of 1978. I remember everyone loved him and his smile was contagious! Rumor is we may be having a 40 year class reunion this year. Hope to see you there!

  3. Well Deserved ! So proud of you. You are a Bright & Shining Lite to our children at school & everywhere you go. Ed & I were classmates in High School. You NEVER heard a bad word about him. Congratulations Edward……
    Tesia (Nutt) McCormick

    • The Chemistry Teacher says:

      When I read this article, a song by Sam Cooke came to mind immediately.

      It’s been a long time, a long time coming
      But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will.

  4. Stacie (Toney) Denham says:

    I am here representing for the class of 1993. I always loved seeing Mr. Pott’s day to day back then in school. I always knew he was something special. He was a good Man to many.

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