Thomson resident Juanita Wheeler is almost a living history book when it comes to Fort Gordon.
Mrs. Wheeler, who is retiring after 43 years of government service, will be honored Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. in the Gordon Club, Wheeler Room, surrounded by family, friends and co-workers.
"She's the backbone of the commissary," said colleague Kimberly Bias. "She will surely be missed."
Mrs. Wheeler, the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Jabus Cummings of Thomson, has resided here for 64 years.
She has been married to Moses Wheeler for 45 years and they have three sons: Randy D. Wheeler of Stone Mt.; Glenn B. Wheeler and Danny Verdun Wheeler of Thomson; four grandchildren Rasheeda, Chris, Rashad and Mikell; two daughters-in-law, Ethel Wheeler, Stone Mt., and Pamela Wheeler, Thomson.
Mrs. Wheeler started her career at Fort Gordon at the Quartermaster Laundry in May, 1961, as a laundry marker. While serving in this position she received several "Special Acts" and "Superior Rating" awards.
In 1974, she received a promotion and went to Dwight David Eisenhower Hospital to work in supply. In 1978, after another promotion, she transferred to the Clothing and Sales store as a fabric worker (tailoring). After a year, she was promoted to a clothes fitter where she helped soldiers entering basic training with their uniforms. In 1980, Pan Am received the contract and Mrs. Wheeler chose to stay with civil service and was transferred to the Fort Gordon commissary as a supply clerk, and shortly after was promoted to accounting tech, and again as supervisor over the accounting techs. Her last promotion was that of lead management support clerk, the position which she will now leave vacant.
"I've seen a lot of changes," said Mrs. Wheeler, who remembers when inventory took "all day and half the night."
"You had to do everything by hand."
Technology, which enables inventory to be accomplished now in just a few hours, has caused the most change to the workplace, she said.
Mrs. Wheeler's plans for retirement include traveling and spending more time with her family. She also likes the fact that she will not have to rush in returning home from her son's football games. Danny Verdun Wheeler is a linebacker at the University of Georgia. Friends say if you need to contact Mrs. Wheeler during football season, you can find her on the sidelines at every UGA game cheering on jersey number 42.
While not visiting family and supporting the football team, she hopes to enjoy pastimes such as gardening, sewing, crocheting and staying involved with her church, First Mount Carmel Baptist of Winfield.
While not traveling or working on crafts at home, Mrs. Wheeler wants to volunteer at local hospitals and nursing homes.
"I see a need for that," said Mrs. Wheeler who saw first hand how busy hospitals can be when her husband spent some time in one recently.
Friends interested in attending the retirement dinner should call 706-951-2452.