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Road to be named for Anderson
Highway 46 from 301 to Ga. 67 will be labeled 'E. Raybon Anderson Highway'
Raybon Anderson
Shown in this photo from 2018, Raybon Anderson was inducted into the Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame on April 29. (SCOTT BRYANT/Herald file)

State Sen. Billy Hickman is among those inviting the public to a ceremony at 10 a.m. Monday, July 10 for the naming of State Route 46 between U.S. Highway 301 and State Route 67 as the E. Raybon Anderson Highway.

For safety reasons the dedication ceremony won’t be held on the shoulder of Highway 46, but at the Waters family farmhouse, 2423 Jim Waters Road. The house is less than a quarter mile from Highway 46.

However, the Georgia Department of Transportation is expected to erect signs bearing the new, honorary name on the Georgia 46 right of way at both ends of the segment – near the U.S. 301 intersection and the Georgia 67 intersection – and keep them covered until a third sign is unveiled and presented to Anderson.

This, and the DOT’s maintenance of the signs, will fulfill Georgia Senate Resolution 94 of 2023, which Hickman, R-4th District, Statesboro, introduced as lead sponsor. It was co-sponsored by Sen. Max Burns, R-23rd District, Sylvania; Sen. Randy Robertson, R-29th District, Cataula; Sen. Steve Gooch, R-51st District, Dahlonega; and Sen. Ben Watson, R-1st District, Savannah, and as usual for such resolutions, the Senate approved it and the House adopted it by unanimous consent.

“Raybon has been a tremendous asset and mentor to Bulloch County, and to so many people not only in Bulloch County but across the state that we just felt like it was only fitting,” Hickman, a longtime friend of Anderson’s, said this week. “His family farm is right close to Highway 46 down in that area, so we felt like it was another way to honor him for his longtime service to Bulloch County and all of Georgia.”

Raybon Anderson served as a district commissioner on the Bulloch County Board of Commissioners from 1991 to 1994, and then was elected countywide as the commissioners’ chairman, serving another a four-year term. During his tenure, the county hired its first county manager and local voters approved the county’s first Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.

He also served as chairman of the Bulloch County Hospital Authority and as a director of First Bulloch Bank & Trust and “with honor and distinction on the Statesboro-Bulloch County Development Authority and the Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce,” the resolution states.

Not actually mentioned in the two-page resolution whose text emphasizes local service roles, Anderson also served a number of years on the Georgia Department of Transportation Board, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Board and the Georgia Agribusiness Council.

After growing up on a farm in the Nevils community, Anderson in early adulthood took a job with the U.S.  Department of Agriculture, through which he met people from all over the state while working primarily with farmers from Bulloch County and surrounding areas.

Then he founded Bulloch Fertilizer Inc. in 1963, and more than 40 years later, he and his son Mike opened Anderson’s General Store, in 2005.

Just this May, Raybon Anderson was inducted into the Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame. Since that occurred after Senate Resolution 94 was passed, the resolution doesn’t mention it.

But it does mention some previous honors, including that Anderson was named Statesboro Herald Humanitarian of the Year at the Deen Day Smith Service to Mankind Awards in 2008 and Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce Business Leader of the Year in 1995.

Highway segments are usually named for people posthumously, Hickman acknowledges. But Anderson will be able to ride past signs with his name on them.

“Raybon had been such a strong advocate for Bulloch County and all of Georgia that we wanted to get this done in his lifetime so he can enjoy it,” said Hickman.

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