A Tribute to Former Georgia Governor Zell Miller
As we notified you in Friday's Newsfront, former Georgia Governor and longtime advocate for Georgia's seniors Zell Miller passed away last week. With Governor Miller's memorial services being held today and tomorrow, GHCA is grateful to former GHCA President & CEO Fred A. Watson for sharing the following tribute:
Former Governor and longtime advocate for Georgia's seniors passed away recently at his home with family. He suffered from Parkinson's disease and his health had been deteriorating for several months. Gov. Miller was a friend to GHCA and one of the finest and most dedicated servants we have experienced in our history. He was a supporter of the Association and mentor to many of us in the long term and post-acute care profession. He was a firm leader and a good-humored man with a deep compassion for the elderly, the disabled and children in need.
Gov. Miller served as a Georgia State Senator between 1961 and 1964, the Lt. Governor between 1975 and 1991, the Governor between 1991 and 1999, and was appointed by his successor Gov. Roy Barnes to the U.S. Senate where he served between 2000 and 2005. Over his years of service and since that time, there has been no other political figure that has influenced our profession as strongly as Gov. Miller. Throughout his time in office, he and his wife Shirley would join the Association for our yearly Summer Convention to install the new GHCA officers and Board members. Former members and past Chairmen Troy and Rachel Athon, Brick Nelson, Gene Bishop, Jim Westbury, Neil Pruitt, Sr., Olan Jones, Frank Shaw, myself and others were honored to serve, work with and become friends with Gov. Miller. At times when the economy was declining, Gov. Miller would always prioritize the care of seniors and the disabled citizens of our State and worked to ensure adequate funding was being provided for Georgia's skilled nursing centers and their residents.
The State of Georgia has lost a true statesman and a servant of the people and GHCA has lost a true friend. I ask that you please join me in praying that God bless Gov. Miller as well as his family, friends and colleagues during this difficult time.
Fred A. Watson