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Letter: Those of us who worked our way up from humble means prove it’s possible

The letter “Real solution to poverty is personal responsibility” by Gene Cobb in The Times on Oct. 17 is totally correct and I agree 100 percent. 

I started my life in a one-room log house with mud and straw walls, a sod roof and a dirt floor on a section of my grandfather’s land in the badlands near Grassy Butte, North Dakota. I attended public school in Killdeer, N.D. When I was 12, I worked for farmers and ranchers shocking fields of wheat for $1 an acre. In the winter, I worked for a rancher feeding his cattle and carry for the livestock for $50 a month plus room and board.

When I started high school, I played basketball and with encouragement from my coach began dreaming of a basketball scholarship. A disagreement between my dad and the coach ended that dream. I quit school. At the age of 17, I found myself in Japan and Korea. While in the military in Japan, I worked for and got my high school GED and started some college courses.

I came to Georgia in 1959, stationed at Fort Benning and Camp Merrill Ranger school in Dahlonega. After my discharge from the Army, I got a job at a poultry plant in Gainesville and worked and attended night classes at our local junior college. I started working with the USDA as a poultry products grader, advanced through the ranks to become a supervisor accepting positions and night shifts no one else wanted. I became a supervisor and was responsible for the supervision of poultry graders, shell egg graders and egg products inspection in four Southern states and Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and the U.S. Virgin Islands until my retirement in 1995. It took a personal effort to go from a one room cabin in North Dakota with dirt floors to being a supervisor for the USDA.

A friend has basically the same experience. He got up early, milked cows, delivered milk and eggs door to door, bought and sold fruit door to door in the summer and also worked in a poultry plant. He needed money for school. He continued his education, got his degree and worked in education for many years. Those years in education in Hall County influenced many young people. There are jobs and positions available out there for those willing to put forth the effort and are willing to work.

George Roshau


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