The Greatest Atlanta Mayor you’ve probably never heard of

A few years ago I was looking for a few profiles of military service members to use as examples of the sacrifices military people make. As I dug through old pictures of the Bell Bomber Plant in Marietta, I found a posed picture of several dapper looking gentlemen, hats all propped at the proper jaunty angle. Little did I know how great the story of one particular man in the picture really was. 

Credit- New Georgia Encyclopedia
President Franklin Roosevelt, Atlanta Mayor Roy LeCraw and other leaders at the groundbreaking of the Bell Bomber Plant in Marietta (Circa Feb. 1942)

One of the men in the picture was the Mayor Of Atlanta, Roy LeCraw. As I researched Mayor LeCraw further, I saw that he had actually defeated a very well known Atlanta Mayor, William B. Hartsfield, in the Mayoral election held in November 1941. 

The story seemed even more intriguing when I saw the length of Mayor LeCraw’s time in elected office. Mayor Roy LeCraw resigned in May of 1942 after being sworn in earlier that year. As it turns out, he resigned from elected office so he could fulfill a call to go to war.

Mayor Roy LeCraw was also known, in Georgia National Guard circles, as Major Roy LeCraw. 

He was not new to military service and the possibilities of deployment. He was also not new to public service and running for elected office. Regardless, as he campaigned against incumbent Hartsfield throughout the summer of 1941, he surely could not have fathomed the dilemma his challenger victory would soon create.

Shortly after defeating Hartsfield, as we now know, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, on the day that lives in infamy. In an instant, LeCraw’s two separate worlds collided as the Country was drawn into WWII. 

It’s only speculation on my part, but I’m sure the days between Early December 1941 and May 25, 1942 were challenging ones for LeCraw, to say the least.

Ongoing Mayoral issues of the day aside, I’m sure LeCraw knew what the resolution to his conflict of service roles would be. His call to military service would come, and there would only be one answer for a man of honor. 

History now tells us the rest of the story. 

Mayor Hartsfield ended up serving longer than anyone as Atlanta’s Mayor, serving over a quarter of a century in office. He led Atlanta through challenging times of desegregation. He is probably best known for having the world’s busiest airport named after him and also for coining the phrase, “Atlanta- The City too busy to hate”.

As for LeCraw- you might not be as familiar with that part of history. Major LeCraw’s military service took him to the front lines of battle throughout Europe during World War II. His service in Europe earned him a Bronze Star. He returned to the States, at War’s end, to try and fail at regaining his former Mayoral position. Ironically, he lost an election bid to Hartsfield in a resounding defeat. Not to be denied, he later ran for a State Senate seat and won, serving one term. 

Lecraw returned to military service in Korea several years later where he earned a second Bronze Star. After serving in Korea in the military, LeCraw and his wife Julia later returned as missionaries. The LeCraws had 5 sons, all of whom graduated from The North Avenue Trade School (also known as Georgia Tech).

In dedication and memoriam to Mayor LeCraw’s service to his city and state, a gas lamp was placed at 2970 Peachtree Rd, in the heart of Buckhead. The Buckhead business community placed it there and you can find the lamp, still burning brightly with two flames, to this very day.

Roy LeCraw’s life of service was, unquestionably, a response to a higher calling. He was rewarded with a fruitful blessing of family and fiscal reward. Over the years, we may have forgotten the name, but surely we can’t forget the indelible mark the LeCraw family made for service… to God and Country. 

In closing – if you’d like to hear an incredible 20 minute testimony, in Roy LeCraw’s own words… you can find a link below. I think he’ll bless you with his wisdom, just like he’s done for me in many, many ways.

COL. Roy Lecraw

Roy LeCraw, in his own words, on Vimeo

Our backyard view of Eclipse 2017

I set up my GoPro and filmed some of the eclipse today. Unfortunately my battery died about 10 minutes after the totality. 

Regardless, I got enough footage to show how dark it got here in northeast Georgia. ​

I also slowed down the video during the totality, in hopes of being able to show how dark it actually got here. 

This was absolutely amazing. It was an incredibly memorable family day! I wish we could have a total eclipse three or four times a year!

C.S. Lewis’ thoughts on what fuels us

One of the great blessings of the modern day, in my opinion, is the fact that movies about Christianity have become en vogue.

I love taking my family… and anyone else who will go, to see one of the many movies about being a Christ follower, becoming a believer or the struggles Christians face. It’s such a pleasant change from the standard Hollywood efforts that contain too many “F words”, bad jokes and downright goofy story lines.

There’s quite a list of Christian movies, in case you’re not familiar, from makers like the Kendrick Brothers and Sherwood Pictures.

While I don’t pretend to be a movie critic, the Sherwood Pictures movies tend to be a little quirky, have lots of great actors and, at times, a few fill-ins who seem to be movie rookies. That’s usually because they are.

Sherwood Films is based in Albany, GA and has used sites and actors to make movies across the Southeastern US. Regardless of the occasional non-Hollywood critiques, the message in each of the films comes through, crystal clear. There’s lots more about the Kendrick Brothers efforts here.

Another one of the amazing productions is CS Lewis’ “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.” It’s actually a Walt Disney Film and is an amazing production of CS Lewis’ installment in the Chronicles of Narnia series of 7 books. Maybe Disney will continue making the other 6 movies in the near future. Just a thought.

So I give you all of that background to get to this- if you’re not familiar with one of CS Lewis’ other efforts, “Mere Christianity“, you should be. It’s an amazing and incredibly thought provoking read… but probably isn’t the kind of book that will be struck for movie production anytime soon.

The reality is that Mere Christianity was actually a series of Lewis’ radio broadcasts from London during the 2nd World War. Only after the broadcasts were complete, and requests for the “script” of the audio kept streaming in, did anyone think about making a book out of the dialogue.

And oh what a book it is.

Quite frankly, I credit Mere Christianity, and my wife Amy, for bringing me to Christ. I won’t jump into my Testimony now, but that’s the truth. To that end, if you want to analyze the technical side of Christianity, with a book written by an atheist who had set out to disprove Christianity itself, then this is your read.

One of the great analogies that Lewis walks through is the idea that humans, in the world, must run on God, just like cars runs on “petrol”. In his words,

“God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on petrol, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there.”

There’s lots more to the analogy than that, and it only gets more enlightening as you read on…

Lewis adds-

“What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could “be like gods”—could set up on their own as if they had created themselves—be their own masters—invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”

…And that, my friends, is where we find ourselves today. We take the words, written by an atheist-turned-Christian writer, from over a half century ago… and we find that nothing could be more true in the present day. People, on too many occasions, don’t realize what the real human fuel actually is.

But the fuel is out there! If you feel like your tank is a little low today, God is right there, ready to not just fill your tank back up, but to keep it full. All you have to do is pray over it and ask, just like we’re told in Matthew 7:7-

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

May God bless you and yours, today and every day! He’s blessed me… and I certainly don’t deserve it.

We dropped our oldest child off at college today…

img_5332-119 years and 21 days ago, Our son Blake came into our lives. Today he started college. Whether you’ve had that experience or not, it’s a big step.

Here’s my take:

I cried a little the day before Blake graduated from high school. Today didn’t hit me as a cry day. It seems like there’s just too many amazing opportunities and too much excitement. It’ll definitely be adjustment time for all of us as this new normal sets in. For now, though, it’s nothing but grand life opportunities ahead.

I’ve wondered about whether he is ready for life. There’s still a lot of growing and learning left to do. I believe he’s ready for this step, though. I saw a glimpse of God telling me “he’s going to be alright” during a recent whitewater kayaking trip a few weeks ago.

When it comes to true whitewater, we’re both relative newbies. We decided to take our boats out late in the afternoon and make a run. It didn’t take long for me to roll my boat and have to get out in the middle of the river. It’s an eye opening experience to be in that position, trying to keep up with a kayak, a paddle, keep your head above water, all while working as hard as you can to get out of the current.

When I finally recovered… I looked around for Blake, who is an infinitely better paddler than I am.

I glanced down the river and finally saw him, about 100 yards away, in about the same condition as I had been. It hit me at that moment that there was literally nothing I could do to help him… he was on his own… with only our previous training and a life vest I bought him to help.

I pulled my boat out of the water… ran to the car and drove down river to try and catch him. I found him, only a few minutes later, pulling his kayak up from the river, looking like a wet rat, but smiling ear to ear. As we gathered up our gear and assessed bumps as bruises, it struck me, again, that Blake is going to be just fine.

We’ve done about all we can for him at this point. His Mom and I couldn’t be any more proud of the young man he’s become. All parents say that… none mean it more than we do.

We believe we’ve given him life preservers of all shapes and sizes… and we think he’s ready for most of the whitewater rapids that are downriver from here. He’ll probably hit a roller every now and then but that’s just life. He’ll be able to get to the shore and dry off if he needs to.

And that’s what we do for kids. We owe it to them to give them our best. I certainly got more than I deserved from my parents when I was trying to figure out this thing called life… and now we’ve pushed our first out, off the shore, and into the current.

It’s a push of Faith but we know God’s in control.

His room at home will be quiet for a while, and that’ll take some getting used to… but oh how sweet Thanksgiving will be this year!

We’ll have a college student home to visit! And off we go… to the next chapter.

A comment on our lifeboat…

So it’s times like these that people in the public arena can really make a name for themselves… one way or the other. Say too much and earn an ugly moniker that may never get outgrown. Don’t say enough and miss the opportunity to “be a leader.” In the end, they’re all just words that evaporate daily like the morning dew in late August.

It’s for both of those reasons that I’ll try to stay above the specifics of recent events, tragic and unfathomable as they are.

In the larger sense I think we need to consider the impact of events like those in recent days ultimately have on this lifeboat we call the United States of America.

First- the facts:

Total square miles in the USA? 3.8 million.

Total population in the USA? 323 Million… and growing.

As a matter of fact, the Census Bureau maintains a pretty cool clock of births, deaths and immigrations into the US Right Here. I have no idea how accurate it is, and I have a feeling they don’t, either, since the baseline is the census data last gathered almost 8 years ago.

Regardless- some of their assertions are:

One birth every 8 seconds

One death every 12 seconds

One international migrant (net) every 33 seconds

Net gain of one person every 12 seconds

So… our population is growing. No surprise, right? The point? Our geography isn’t changing. We’re all in this together… living in some portion of the inhabitable 3.8 million square miles of the US. As we grow and become more diverse (key point alert) we must become more respectful of diverging opinions. Must. It’s not complicated. If we don’t, we’ll… well let’s just leave it at “must”. It’s a mathematical fact… and I’m not much of a fan of math.

So… to tie those thoughts together, we need to realize, and admit, that we all have bias. It’s a result of our maturity process, or lack thereof in some cases, and the environment(s) we have been exposed to. None of our experiences have been the same and not many would want to go back and change anything, even if we could.

Add to this thought that most people are proud of who they have become. We believe strongly in our positions, probably never more so than here in the 21st Century where we do our best to prove it, sometimes through the amazing tool of social media. The result of these times and technology tools is the potential for a serious divergence of opinion on a nationwide scale. Overnight.

So what was it about the lifeboat thing? Bottom line is that we must exist together and somehow get past the things we perceive to be ugly and vile. Offended? Disagree? Hang on, I’ll explain.

The reality is that what you perceive to be unnerving, others may view as palatable. The things that “shake your inner being” may be open and acceptable to someone else. Truth.

No matter the issue, and I’m doing my best to not get specific, someone will inevitably view it as acceptable while someone else will disagree. Is that engaging in dis-unity or creating a lack of acceptance? Only if we let it and, believe it or not, some people and even industries thrive on that dis-unity for some very selfish and short-sighted reasons.

Unity, acceptance, diversity and all of the other buzz words that get tossed around must be used for everyone, that is, if they’re going to be used for anyone.

Why is that important? Because these United States are mine AND yours. If you think it’s ok to scream “F the Police” as a form of protest, then you and I are going to disagree.

I’m not a fan of that. No one in the circles I roll with (and my circle usually turns in earlier than we used to, btw) will, either. Am I going to light a torch or brandish some form of a weapon as a result of my disagreement with you? Nope. Will someone? Apparently. Then what? More protests?


Do we decide to agree to disagree, in the name of true respect, unity and acceptance?

If we do the latter, in short order, and respect the public discourse we can then get back to building infrastructure, molding our next generation, loving our kids, being good role models for them, reducing the national debt, solving world hunger, supporting good government, finding those who should be in elected office and generally just making our world a better place.

As for me and mine, I’m for building a better United States, leaving it better than I found it, helping it to become truly more accepting and just getting over the rest of it, all in the best interest of the Common Good

Here’s the deal, though, you have to do the same. It can’t cut just one way.

Lord knows we have bigger issues to resolve than finding another online or public comment to get mad about and light a torch or grab a can of spray paint.

If we don’t focus on the bigger issues, learn from our past, and ultimately move on, this lifeboat may start sinking, or worse, capsize.

And that’s One Man’s Opinion.

Yes… this was me… but I was just doing my job (and maybe having a little fun, too)…

The truth and reality is that I had no idea Jeff Haden was a thing. Turns out he writes about some neat stuff! 

Maybe you should follow his posts on Inc.Com

To that end, he had a good trip home not too long ago:

A little story about a Delta pilot doing what Delta pilots do…

By way of explanation… Jeff felt the need to “diss” (not a big fan of that word, but it fits) Delta a little. 

Reality is that when we’re at work, doing work things, the Company is actually very protective of the team. Jeff could have gotten my name on the day of the flight… and I’m not really hard to find after that… but since that didn’t happen… as they say, it just gets complicated. That’s the world we live in!

In the flying business, as well as business in general, here in the Information Age, you never know when the next “Insta-Post” may go virally negative, so protection of potentially sensitive info is the result. Regardless, it wasn’t long ago that little exchanges like the one Jeff wrote about were commonplace. As a matter of fact, I think they still are pretty regular… but we’ve all just gotten a little “too busy” to catch them when they happen. 

So… thanks for the visit and kind words, Jeff. All the best to you and yours. Hope to see you out on the road again soon.

My first Blog Post

So… they call it a “Blog.” Ok. I’ll try it. 

I guess the bottom line is that I think a lot. I read more than I used to… and that leads to thinking a little more. I have to do something with all of that thinking! So a blog it is!

Given that fact… it’s interesting that the day I decide to start a Blog (is it “B”log or “b”log?) is the day I woke up in St. Louis, staying in a hotel that’s one block from the Gateway Arch to the West.

You probably know that the arch in St. Louis is very, very close to the point where Lewis (different spelling, no relation) and Clark launched their Corps of Discovery Expedition to the West. Seems rather apropos to begin a new blog from the base of this monument. 

Want to know more about the arch and tired of my blog already? Understood- more history here: 

Gateway Arch 

…But I hope you’ll come back!

For the rest of you… thanks for reading. I don’t claim to know it all. I’ve seen some great and magnificent things. I’ve also seen a little less-than-magnificent, too. I’ll do my best to focus on the former more so than the latter as I ponder life, politics, other people’s missives and this grand experiment called the United States of America.

So… off we go… on a Blog mission of Discovery. See you soon. 

Btw- have some fun today, would you! God gave today to you as a gift! Everybody likes a gift… and He gives you one all the time! Enjoy!