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Local couple remembers time served in military with former Secretary of State Colin Powell

“He had so much integrity, you couldn’t help but respect the man.”
Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 10:31 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - The news of General Colin Powell’s passing is being felt all across the world, and of course here in the Chattahoochee Valley, where Powell and his family spent some time years ago. One Harris County family says they will remember the former secretary of state for his character and his integrity.

General Colin Powell, the first Black U.S. secretary of state and Joint Chiefs of Staff is a trailblazer in American history. During his military career, Powell served overseas in multiple tours, leading him to meet locals - Retired Command Sergeant Major Jimmy Richards and his wife Rosie, in 1989. The couple now lives in Ellerslie.

“I met General Powell the first time over in Germany when he had the 7th corp, and I was a first sergeant and the only reason I met him then was because I was on the color guard for some ceremony because he was coming back to the States,” said Jimmy Richards. “He was a very personable person and once he knew you he would always remember your name, where you been at, all that. He was a great guy, he was a great leader.”

“He had so much integrity, you couldn’t help but respect the man,” said Rosie Richards. “After my husband was promoted to the post command sergeant major at Fort Stewart... then they moved us over across post at what they call General’s Row. And General would come down and we’d entertain him in our home.”

Jimmy explained to News Leader 9, he and General Powell shared laughs, remembering a day when the general was in civilian clothes around other soldiers.

“The guy turned around and saw General Powell and he didn’t recognize him at first and then he said, oh you’re the General, and then he said ok,” said Jimmy.

Rosie told News Leader 9, she hopes Powell’s legacy leaves an impact on today’s generation of young people.

“I just hope and pray that our young, especially young black men will emulate him,” said Rosie.

The couple told News Leader 9, the news of Powell’s passing felt like losing a family member, not just because of the time they spent with him over the years, but because of the impact he had on so many lives.

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