Family: Wife, Zalynia, and three children, John 17, Tyson, 15, and Morgan, 11. I also have an older daughter, Tiffany Rooks Matthews. She is married to her husband, Quinton, and they have two boys, Jordan and Jaden.
Years in Golden Isles: I was born in the Golden Isles, and I have lived here all my life.
School: I attended Risley and C. B. Greer as an
elementary student, Jane Macon for junior high and Brunswick High for high school. After graduating from high school, I received a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education from Savannah State University in 1979, and a master’s degree in education from Armstrong State Atlantic University in 1985.
Occupation: Retired health and physical education teacher and coach for 35 years in the Glynn County School System. Currently, I am a part-time campus monitor at Glynn Academy High School.
Tell us about your favorite things to do in your free time: In my free time, I enjoy competing and socializing with my tennis buddies, going on long walks with my dog, Beau, and reading books that take me on a journey that pulls on all my emotions. In fact, I am reading an old classic now: “The Prince of Tides,” by Pat Conroy (loving it).
A local person you admire: I have liked and admired many people throughout my lifetime, but there is no one that I admire more than my 90-year-old mother, Virginia Evelyn Rooks. Although her health is not what it used to be, you can still enjoy her sweet disposition and wonderful character that she still displays after all the years. As far back as I can remember, she was firm, but very loving, always giving and not taking, encouraging all and forgiving everyone, hardworking and determined, never giving up, taking one day at a time, and above all, at peace with her life. You see, my mother taught me and my siblings to greet people with a smile and to always say thank you. She would say, “You know, it doesn’t hurt to be nice to others and it doesn’t cost a thing.” She is the ultimate Christian who said to “Pray for those who mistreat you and to always treat people the way you would like to be treated.” When neighbors, friends and family members were in need, she always found a way to share what little she had with them. I asked her why she was so nice to people who were not deserving, and she said, “If any of my children were in need, I would hope that someone would sacrifice and help them.” And when someone in the neighborhood passed, she would be the one walking around to all the neighbors collecting funds for the family. She seemed to always say the right thing when I wanted to say just the opposite. Even now that she is old, she smiles and tells me that she loves me and my family. She also tells others the same thing. I think she knows something that we all should know, and that is, love conquers all when we are willing to share it with others.
What is your favorite part about being a local? The Golden Isles is my home and the relationships I have built over the years with so many people have been rewarding. I cannot think of a time when I did not enjoy the people or the surroundings here. After traveling and visiting large and small towns, I can say that, “there is no place like home in the Golden Isles.”
What was your favorite thing about coaching tennis? My favorite thing about coaching tennis was the relationships I developed with my players, the parents and the coaches throughout Georgia. In addition to that, it was taking pride in a tennis program that I was able to build over 25 years. Our program maintained its dominance and respect throughout the region and state. I began coaching tennis in 1992, and did not win my first regional championship until 1999. After that time, both boys and girls won almost every year, collecting 24 championships through 2017, when I officially retired from coaching tennis.
Favorite landmark in the Golden Isles: The causeway drive to and from St. Simons Island. Viewing the tides, marshes and waterways is an amazing site, especially when the sun is rising and setting.
Describe your perfect Saturday in the Golden Isles: My perfect Saturday is sleeping in late after hanging out with family and friends the night before, slowly rising and having a cup of coffee with my wife, who likes for me to have coffee with her, and then having lunch at Southern Soul Barbecue just before settling in for a hyped up Georgia/Florida football game.
What is the one thing every visitor must do before leaving the area? To get the full effect of this area, visitors should, if possible, tour the revitalized downtown and historic district of Brunswick, spend at least one day each on St. Simons and Jekyll islands. And of course, they should eat out at one or all of these restaurants: Reid’s Apothecary, downtown Brunswick, Halyards, Crab Trap, and Crabdaddy’s, all on St. Simons Island. The history and beauty of this area is so enriching, and the food is delightful.