Air Force veteran spends time volunteering
Raleigh C. (Dawg) Player was born on January 2, 1940, in Valdosta, Georgia to Dorothy M. and Lessie D. Player. Raleigh, the youngest and hardest working of three sons, dropped out of school in the 10th grade to help with the daily chores of tending to the family hardships. This was not unusual at the time, but significant in the telling of his story. So eventually, without the knowledge of his parents and the desire to serve his country, Raleigh joined the Air Force 25 March 1957, at the age of 17.
Raleigh, like so many young men of that time, thought the Air Force was the way to go to advance their future, and it did. “Dawg” had twenty years, nine months and three days in service and retired as a Communications Center Supervisor with the rank of Staff Sergeant.
Dawg’s 20 year career as a Communication Systems Specialist (teletype operator) sent him to a variety of countries and many duty stations while leaving his family behind for months at a time. But oh! how great it was when they traveled and joined him. Japan and Okinawa was the most enjoyable because all four of his children and wife were there with him. After retiring from the Air Force Raleigh worked for NCC (formally known as Canton Wholesale Co), and Mayer Electric until he retired at age 63.
Raleigh married Estelle Bell of Thomaston, Georgia, on 24 May 1959, and together they had four children (James, Gregory, William and Lafonda), and have 11 grandchildren and four great grandchildren. After his wife passed on, 29 May 2008, Raleigh was without direction and traveled between Pensacola, Florida, and Jasper Georgia until he decided to settle down at the AFRH in Gulfport, Mississippi, on May 27, 2011. Once he was placed on the waiting list to move in, he went back to work for a while at WalMart in Jasper.
Raleigh is very involved with his new home. He volunteers at the security desk; drives other veterans to Medical Centers; and other areas as needed. He is a member of the RAC (Resident Advisory Council), and is always available to help anyone who wants it. He also enjoys golfing, bowling, billiards and traveling.
To the youth of today Raleigh would like to leave this message, “Work hard and the fruits of your labor will be rewarded.