Charlie Thomas has been cutting grass, weed-eating, spreading straw and pulling weeds at GC for eight years.
“I mostly cut grass and edge,” said Thomas, whose two uncles also work at GC landscaping. “Bennie and Roger Thomas are the ones that got me into doing this.”
Thomas, who is 64 years old, said he enjoys that the job is very active and keeps him moving.
“It keeps me in shape, that’s for sure,” he said.
Thomas said he believes exercise is very important, especially when getting older.
“When I first got here, it was kinda rough on me because I was used to being inside,” Thomas said. He had worked for Rheem Air Conditioning for 10 years before coming to GC.
Born and raised in Hancock county, Thomas was the sixth of 11 children, with seven sisters and three brothers. Growing up, Thomas was close to his brothers and sisters, which hasn’t changed today.
“We still hanging,” Thomas said. “We ain’t got no animosity. You know, some kids growing up don’t get along; we all get along.”
Thomas attended school at Hancock Central High, where he was a part of the softball and baseball programs, playing second base. He and his brothers also often played sports together after school.
“Me and my brother would used to compete playing basketball, one on one,” Thomas explained.
When he was younger, his entire family loved going down to the creek to fish for perch and bass. Born in the 1950s, Thomas grew up on his family’s farm, working alongside his father.
“Daddy was a sharecropper,” Thomas said. “It was rough. I had to pick cotton, pull corn, feed the hog and feed the pigs. We had chickens, but they went out into the woods and got their own food. We didn’t feed them.”
His dad and family worked on the farm as sharecroppers until Thomas was about 12-years-old, when life changed for the better.
“Mamma and Daddy got a job in the 1960s, and we moved off them folks’ property when Mamma and Daddy bought their own house,” Thomas explained. “When I got out of high school, I got me a car, you know, kinda on the hot side, and wanted to start fixing up old vehicles.”
Today, Thomas has other hobbies. 15 years ago, he bought a pool table and has since fallen in love with the game.
He practices in his spare time, something he didn’t get to do much when he was young. He enjoys shooting pool by himself after work and with his friends, who often get together and have competitions among themselves on the weekends.
Thomas also has a passion for cooking in his free time. Lately, he’s been polishing the perfect biscuit recipe.
“I’ve been getting it down pat for the last six months, and I cook them about once a week,” Thomas said. “When I first started, they would come out too greasy, but now I got a good tasting biscuit.”
Thomas can often be seen working hard at taking care of the grounds, and his and his co-workers’ beautiful landscaping does not go unnoticed.
GC grounds supervisor Chris Frame said that Thomas is a quiet, dependable worker.
His co-worker Torrie Hudson agrees.
“I think Charlie is consistent and very good at compromising,” Hudson said. “He is a good teacher and mentor, and he’s just a good guy overall.”
Thomas said he is proud of the GC students around him every day because he believes education is very important.
He is currently encouraging his three grandchildren to go on to college and get a degree.
“I encourage anybody to finish high school and continue with their education,” he said.