The following is the third of a four-part series on local African-Americans who are making positive contributions to their community. Part 4 will be published in Sunday's Viewpoints page.
Delving into history books and other sources reveals the extraordinary achievements of black Americans.
Research discovers that Madame C.J. Walker created hair products especially designed to enhance the hair of black women. Harriet Tubman was conductor of the Underground Railroad and led more than 100 slaves to freedom. Thurgood Marshall was the first black Supreme Court justice. Dr. Mary McCleod Bethune, the founder of the school that today is known as Bethune-Cookman University, became an important leader in higher education in Florida.
We relish and are proud of their achievements and the impact they have had on the American people.
The development of events and opportunities that impact a society begins when individuals commence their journey through life touching the lives of people in their society. In Bulloch County, there are several individuals in the community who have begun to have their impact on society. They are not only significant achievers because of their "firstness," but because of the importance of their contributions.
The phrase "to serve and protect," although concise, aptly describes Cmdr. J.R. Holloway.
John Raymond Holloway — or "J.R.," as he is known to family, friends and colleagues in the law enforcement community — served the citizens of Statesboro for several decades. He began his career in law enforcement in 1980 as a patrol officer. In this position, he traversed the city streets of Statesboro, directed traffic, made traffic stops and patrolled neighborhoods and businesses. During this time, he received several citations from the Statesboro Police Department for apprehending criminals without the assistance of other officers.
Because of his prowess and his seemingly intuitive ability to apprehend suspects, he was promoted to the Detective Division in 1985. Some of his major responsibilities were: maintaining case files, investigating suspicious criminal activity and inquiring into personal property crimes and illegal drug activity. Subsequent to this appointment, he was promoted to detective sergeant in 1986. Later that same year, he became lieutenant of the Uniform Division. His responsibilities expanded to instructing fellow officers on appropriate protocol for interacting effectively with citizens and other local and state agencies. Several other duties included supervising all department duties related to traffic violations. Investigating criminal activities continued to be an integral part of his responsibilities.
During his tenure with the SPD, Holloway received numerous promotions. In April 1998, he was promoted to lieutenant of the Detective Division. In July 1999, he was promoted to detective captain. And in February 2002, he became major of the Uniform Division. During his years of service, Holloway received many honors, including Police Officer of the Year, Lawman of the Year and Supervisor of the Year. These promotions, honors, proven leadership ability and training allowed J.R. to achieve the highest leadership position in the Statesboro Police Department.
The city of Statesboro recognized his extraordinary leadership in law enforcement, and he became police commander of the department in 2010. Thus, he became the first black law enforcement officer to attain this status. After 31 years of distinguished service, the Honorable Cmdr. J.R. Holloway retired from the SPD as its leader in 2011.
While serving in various positions as a law enforcement officer, J.R. simultaneously served the community in other activities. He served as a member of the board of directors for the Boys & Girls Club of Bulloch County. In this position, he provided input into programs and activities that impacted the lives of many boys and girls in the community. J.R.'s compassion for his fellow man is demonstrated by his work with Ogeechee Area Hospice, where he was a member of the board of directors. As a member of Body of Christ Assembly in Brooklet, Holloway serves as a minister, deacon and Sunday school teacher.
Although he served in many capacities and achieving numerous ranks in the SPD, J.R. will always remembered as the first black police commander in Statesboro.
Dr. Charles W. Bonds is a former Bulloch County school board member and retired Georgia Southern University professor.