While working with the post has provided additional opportunities to give back to the community, Cockrill said his role as an elementary school teacher has been extremely rewarding.
“Being an elementary teacher is by far the best personal and professional achievement. I have said more than once that teaching is the hardest job I ever loved,” Cockrill said. “Through social media I am able to track many of my former students. It makes my teaching career worthwhile when I see how they are succeeding with their lives.”
Occupation/title: Retired elementary school teacher
Family: Wife Annette, also a retired teacher
Education: Certificate in Mechanical Technology, AA Business Administration from Clayton Junior College now Clayton State University; BBA Management from Georgia State University; Post Baccalaureate Certification in Early Childhood Education from Kennesaw State University and MSEd from Jacksonville State University
City of Residence: Cartersville
Can you explain your military background and your role as commander for American Legion Carl Boyd Post 42?
A: Enlisted in the Navy in July 1967 and took basic training in San Diego. After basic training I was stationed at Port Hueneme California, assigned to NMCB 11, the finest Seabee battalion on the west coast. I deployed to Vietnam with NMCB 11 and was based at Quang Tri. I was an Engineering Aide and my main function was that of a surveyor.
After my deployment to Vietnam, I received orders to the Antarctic Support Activity, Detachment ALFA. To the layman that meant I was selected to winter over in the Antarctic. I spent my year at McMurdo Station. After being there for 360 days I came back to the states and was separated from active duty. I also spent two years in the reserves with NMCB 14.
My role as Commander for America Legion Carl Boyd Post 42 is that of providing leadership and the execution of the programs that the post undertakes. Also to provide a positive public image in all of our endeavors and let the public know what the American Legion is all about.
Can you provide some background on the local chapter? For example, when did the post form, what is its historical significance in Bartow County and how many members does the post support?
A: Carl Boyd Post 42 was chartered in 1919 and has been an active post since that time. The post has a long history of leading the community with patriotic observances. We hold annual Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Flag Day observances on the post ground. Probably the least attended observance is the Flag Day observance. Each year we provide the proper retirement of more than 1,000 American flags. At the Memorial Day observance we recognize the veterans who passed away that year with a roll call of names and ringing of the bell. Other involvement with the community includes honoring deceased veterans with a proper military burial. Each month our Honor Guard participates in an average of three funerals. This takes place rain or shine, hot or cold. Our Honor Guard is also highly visible each year at the annual Fourth of July parade.
Another activity that the public does not know about is our Veterans Visitation Program. Each week a small group of members visit the veterans who reside in the local nursing homes and assisted living facilities. At the present time there are nearly 70 residing in one of the eight facilities. In some cases our visitation team is the only visitors they have. We don’t want those men and women to go unnoticed.
Other programs we carry out at the post are the awarding of the Carl Boyd Post 42 Scholarship to two deserving high school seniors. We conduct the American Legion High School Oratorical Program. The winner of the local contest advances to the next level and competes for additional scholarship money. The winner from Post 42 advanced to the national contest last year. Our post also supports and sponsors Boy Scout Troop 25, and we support the Young Marines with a place to meet.
The current membership of Post 42 is 514 members and we are looking for more. The current generation is missing from the American Legion roll, and we want them to join our fine organization and reap the benefits of continuing to serve others.
What are some of the current goals of the post and what is the post doing to meet these goals?
A: The main goal of Post 42 is to continue to serve the veterans and youth of our community. We have a core of hardworking members who make it happen.
Where is your favorite place to be in Bartow County?
A: It has to be the downtown area. I really like the old architecture and the quaintness it transmits.
Do you have a personal philosophy?
A: My philosophy has to be “live each day as if it is your last” and live my faith to the best of my ability.
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
A: Most people would be surprised to know that I have been to the Antarctic and watched an Antarctic sunset and sunrise. Those events happen about five months apart. Some people would also be surprised to know that I was a starving artist for a short period of my life.