Hometown Hero--Margaret Davis Fennell Judy - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

11/30/07

Hometown Hero--Margaret Davis Fennell Judy

Margaret Davis Fennell Judy Margaret Davis Fennell Judy
Judy had a full-time job working on the Richmond Hill Ford Plantation as the switchboard operator and secretary. Judy had a full-time job working on the Richmond Hill Ford Plantation as the switchboard operator and secretary.

RICHMOND HILL, GA--This weekend is the annual Hometown Holiday Celebration in Richmond Hill, with all kinds of festivities and local performances planned. But what's unique about the parade this year is the grand marshal.

Margaret Davis Fennell Judy, 82, is no doubt a part of Richmond Hill history. In 1944, she was one of the first students to graduate from Richmond Hill High School, but it wasn't that diploma that changed her life. It was the day she met automotive legend Henry Ford.

"I was in chapel program, by chance Mr. Ford and Mr. Gregory were sitting in the balcony and I happened to be on the program that morning," said Judy.

Judy said that day, Ford asked her if she wanted to go to college. She told Ford that she didn't have money for school. That afternoon, she got an offer she couldn't refuse.

"If you want to go to business school, Mr. Ford will send you to business school. I was shocked," said Judy.

Seven months later Judy had a full-time job working on the Richmond Hill Ford Plantation as the switchboard operator and secretary. "I was the secretary to the secretary of Mr. Henry Ford," said Judy.

Judy calls Ford an extraordinary man who transformed the small town of what was then known as Ways Station into the Richmond Hill of today. "I think everyone was so grateful for the opportunity when Mr. Ford came here," she said. "There was a lot of sickness, malaria, typhoid, hook worms. He eradicated all that and saw that a clinic was built, homes were built."

In fact, Judy lives in one of the homes right now. "Mr. Ford did so much for us making this Ford country for us and it has grown by leaps and bounds."

And in the big parade, Judy will ride in--what else?--a Ford Mustang. "I feel so honored to be the grand marshal of our great city of Richmond Hill," said Judy.

And we're delighted to honor Margaret Judy as well, as a WTOC Hometown Hero.

Reported by: Brooke Kelley, bkelley@wtoc.com

If you'd like to nominate a Hometown Hero, you can drop us a line at the station: PO Box 8086, Savannah, GA 31412, or email  us.

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