Honoring the Life and Dedicated Service of Colonel James L. Hill, Sr.by Representative Jeff Miller
Posted on 2013-01-18
in the house of representatives
Friday, January 18, 2013
Mr. MILLER of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the
life of Northwest Florida's beloved Colonel James L. Hill, Sr. Colonel
Hill was a native Northwest Floridian who served his nation with honor
and distinction, while also working tirelessly as an educator and
leader in his community.
Colonel Hill was born in the small town of Lakewood in Walton County, Florida on February 1, 1925. Colonel Hill attended public schools in Walton County, before graduating from Tivoli High School in DeFuniak Springs, Florida. After his high school career, Colonel Hill began his studies at Florida A&M University.
Colonel Hill put his studies on hold, however, to answer the call of duty during World War II. Colonel Hill entered the United States Army as a Private, serving bravely in the European Theater. After the war ended, Colonel Hill returned to his studies at Florida A&M University; however, he decided to remain in the Army Reserve to continue serving his nation.
After graduating from Florida A&M, Colonel Hill married his college sweetheart, Jounice, and together they accepted positions at Carver Junior High School in Florala, Alabama. Colonel Hill was working as the Principal of Carver Junior High, when he was recalled to active duty during the Korean War. Colonel Hill was ready to answer his nation's call, and he again served with honor and distinction with the 45th Combat Infantry.
Colonel Hill finished his tour in Korea and returned to Northwest Florida to continue his career in education. He took a position as the Principal of Drew Elementary School in Baker, Florida. His successful tenure at Drew was the beginning of an exemplary career that saw Colonel Hill serve as a principal at four different schools in Okaloosa County, Florida including 26 years at Florosa Elementary School.
While serving in the Army Reserve and as a school principal, Colonel Hill also continued his education receiving both a master's and doctorate degree in education. Colonel Hill also excelled in his reserve service, and in 1975, after completing Command and General Staff College, he was promoted to the rank of Colonel. Colonel Hill continued to serve in the Army Reserve until his retirement in 1981. In 1994, Colonel Hill retired from the Okaloosa County School District after having worked as a teacher and principal for nearly 40 years, and his excellent service to the State of Florida was recognized with a gubernatorial proclamation from Governor Lawton Chiles.
Outside of his outstanding leadership as an educator and a member of our Armed Forces, Colonel Hill was also a true leader in the Northwest Florida community. Colonel Hill served as President of the Community Action Program in Fort Walton Beach, as well as Vice President of the Fort Walton Beach Civic League. He was also a longtime member of the Okaloosa County NAACP, and in 2009 he was recognized as the Okaloosa County Branch NAACP Centennial Celebration Legacy Honoree. Colonel Hill's outstanding achievements and legacy were also recorded for posterity in his autobiography Sawmill, A Family Affair, which won the Palm Beach County African Diaspora Award.
To some, Colonel James Hill will be remembered as a patriot, who answered the call of duty on numerous occasions with honor, distinction and bravery. To others, he will be remembered as a committed educator and a leader in civic society. To his family, Colonel Hill will always be remembered as a loving husband, devoted father, and proud grandfather. His contributions to our nation and his community will not be forgotten.
Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the United States Congress, it gives me great pride to honor the life and service of Colonel James L. Hill, Sr. My wife Vicki joins me in extending our most sincere condolences to Colonel Hill's wife, Jounice, his children, grandchildren and the entire Hill family.