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Progressive city has small-town feel
Don Emmons Picture
Mayor Don Emmons - photo by Courier file photo
Midway Mayor Donald Robert Emmons is currently serving his first term as the leader of a city in one of Georgia’s most historic areas. As a native of Washington, he is a long way from home, but Emmons said he’s excited about his assignment.
When he came to Liberty County as the general manager of the Fort Stewart Army and Air Force Exchange System in 1988, Emmons didn’t know he would one day be managing a city. Before getting into politics, Emmons spent 35 years in various businesses with the AAFES. He has been assigned to missions in Portugal, Southeast Asia, the Philippines, Germany and Greece. He also spent time in Minnesota, Alabama, Indiana, Virginia, Oregon and Seattle, Wash.
Emmons retired in 1992, but wanted to devote some time to a new venture. “I was honored to serve as a councilperson for four years for the city of Midway prior to being elected as mayor. I am in my fourth year as mayor and I am planning to run again,” he said.
Midway bills itself as the gateway city of Liberty County. “It is a progressive little city that has not lost its real sense of community,” Emmons said. As mayor, he is proud of this Southern city that is steeped in history and southern hospitality.
“You can see we are rich in history, but I wish to add our best point, that is, we are a true city of Southern hospitality. Our charming city is a city rich in history, dating back as far as the 1700s. Our museum, church and cemetery have brought national recognition, with designations on the National Register of Historic Places. Midway is a must see for the history buffs,” Emmons said.
Midway once was home to two signers of the Declaration of Independence, Button Gwinnett and Lyman Hall. The two have schools in Liberty County named after them.
Emmons has some lofty goals for Midway. “We plan to expand our wastewater services, in hopes someday to eliminate septic tanks within the city. We are working with many plans to improve the quality of life and improve services for our citizens. Putting new services in and around our interstate exit and our gateway corridor is vital for the growth of the city.”
Plans are also under way to develop improvements for the Butler Avenue area. “ We want to highlight our town center with landscaping, lamp post lighting, improved signing and new entry ways.  More immediate goals include having enough police officers to cover the city 24 hours daily, along with improving our fire department,” Emmons said.
Emmons said he enjoys people and loves his job. “It is great feeling to know that you are in position that you can actually help people instead of just talking about it.”  
In his spare time, Emmons loves to work in his yard. “I do a little fishing and play a little golf,” he said.
He and his wife Jeanne have five children and four grandchildren. Jeanne is a retired Department of Defense employee.
“I love the little town atmosphere. The people are so friendly,” Emmons said. “Midway is a neighborhood town. It is small enough to know your neighbors and people still say ‘hello’ and ‘good morning.’  Midway is fast becoming the place to live in Liberty County. It’s truly is one of Georgia’s best-kept secrets.”
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