WARRENTON, Ga. - When Milledge Samuels, Jr., first picked up a microphone in the press box of a football game at Warren County High School, he had no idea that he'd still be announcing games more than three decades later.
But that's exactly what Mr. Samuels has been doing ever since. This year marks his 37th season in the booth.
And after all of these years, Mr. Samuels still enjoys himself as much as he ever did. This past Friday night during the game between the WCHS Screaming Devils and Lincoln County Red Devils at Albert J. Massey Field, Mr. Samuels completed another season.
"I've enjoyed myself quite a lot over the years," said Mr. Samuels, who serves as the director of the Zoning, Streets, Sanitation and Recreation departments for the City of Warrenton. "I've gotten to see a lot of good high school football games and some very talented players."
During the past three years, Mr. Samuels, who lives in Thomson, has gotten to see the Screaming Devils make it into the Class A State Football Playoffs.
A fourth straight playoff year awaits the team this Friday as they journey to Norcross to take on Wesleyan in the first-round.
Mr. Samuels began his volunteer announcing job at Legion Field. Once the new Albert J. Massey Field was completed last year, he traded in an old press box for a new one and modern equipment, too.
"This is a beautiful field," said Mr. Samuels. "We couldn't have a nicer facility. This is something that the kids have needed for many, many years. We're all very proud of it."
The 62-year-old Mr. Samuels, who has worked for the City of Warrenton for 15 years, has seen hundreds of players at Warren County High School come up through the city's recreation program.
"We've had a lot of talented young boys come through our recreation program since I've been here," said Mr. Samuels during a recent interview with The McDuffie Mirror. "Some of the talent has been incredible."
When he first began in the old press box, he recalled having reel to reel music, which created "great" halftime entertainment for fans at the old Legion Field.
"Everybody just loved the music," said Mr. Samuels. "It really had a lot to the ballgames."
At the time, Mr. Samuels said his intent was merely to lend the others in the booth a hand. "There was never any intent of this lasting as long as it has lasted," he said.
Since taking over as the public address announcer for football games at Warren County High School, Mr. Samuels has missed only four games. One such game occurred last season when he suffered a heart ailment.
When it comes time for Friday night football at WCHS, "I put everything else on the back burner," said Mr. Samuels. "I've just got to be there, around those kids. It's a great joy. I've always enjoyed giving back and being active."
Mr. Samuels, a former management official at Uniroyal and who served in the U.S. Army before joining the National Guard and becoming an insurance agent, shared his personal philosophy: "My mission here is to help my fellowman along his journey and if I do that, then my living would not have been in vain."
He is a devoted Christian, serving as a deacon and singing in the choir at First Mount Carmel Baptist Church in Winfield. Mr. Samuels is married to Marilyn Elaine Samuels, a social worker at WCHS. The couple has a son, Karl Milledge Samuels, a first sergeant serving in the U.S. Army and who is presently stationed in Iraq. The couple also had another son, Breom Jackson Samuels, a 2002 graduate of Thomson High School, who died several years ago.