Story: From Soldier for Uncle Sam to Soldier for God

Anthony Hughes (2019)

RIVERDALE, GEORGIA: Anthony E. Hughes, age 54, when asked to define the word hope, thought for a moment. Then he told The Murphy Gazette, “Many people look at hope differently. To me hope is similar to faith.”

Anthony said, “When we look at Scripture, Hebrews 11:1 defines faith “as the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen.”

He continued, “Therefore, hope is expecting something good to come forth out of every situation no matter what it might look like.”

In reflecting on his life, Anthony said, “While growing up, my parents taught me to treat everyone the way I wanted to be treated unless they gave me cause to treat them differently. Other than my home training, the only other thing that would make me able to help those in spiritual, emotion, or physical need is the calling God has place on my life.”

“As a young man growing up, I fought with different spirits, but didn’t realize that was what I was fighting. I was raised in the church, but like most young teenagers, I was a little bitter and thought I was grown,” he said.

Anthony stated, “While in the military, I saw a fellow comrade die and be revived. Not understanding the significant of the situation, I just looked at it as he was lucky. I think it was in 1998 when the Lord touched me and transformed my thought process.”

His perception on life changed further. “ I met a angel and didn’t realize it until I started back to studying God’s Word. On this particular day, I was having a conversation with a lady, who was a stranger to me. We talked for about ten minutes. Somewhere, we got on the subject of religion, and she asked what was I doing for the Lord.”

He paused, “I stated ‘I’m not doing what I am supposed to be doing.’ and started laughing. We went on talking and she asked me, ‘do you clean your fish before you catch it or do you catch it before you clean it?’”

“I stated ‘I catch it then clean it.’She stated, ‘The Lord does the same thing.’ To make this story short, six months later, I was thirsty for the word of God, and started to come back to my first love. I had a medical issue, and no doctor could tell me what was wrong. I called on the only doctor I know that never lost a patient. and my life changed forever.”

Anthony laughed, “This is a subject I can talk about all day.”

The son of the late Charles Edward and Lilla Jane (Mathis) Hughes, Anthony has one sister and three brothers, Shenna, Charles, Kenneth and Telly, and has two sons, Michael and Christopher.

After graduating from Bleckley County High School in 1983, Anthony enlisted into the United States Marine Corp and served from for three years until he was honorably discharged under medical conditions. As a Marine, Anthony was a field radio operator, where he said, “I performed the duties of dispatching and relaying messages to other units, battalions, regiments, and sometimes to Marine headquarters(HQ) in Washington, D.C.”

He added, “During my first enlistment, I went to Basic Training at Parris Island, and after basic training I was stationed to California for advance training as a field radio operator. After completing that training, I was stationed with the 4th FAD, a reserve unit out of NAS Atlanta, which was in Marietta.”

“I received orders in July of 1984 to Fleet Marine Corp 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Regiment, HQ Company, Communications Platoon. In May of 1986, I received orders to Okinawa,, Japan where I was stationed with 12 Marine Regiment, HQ Company,” Anthony continued.

“While stationed with 12th Marines, I was detached to play sports, specifically football. After football season, I became the Company Police Sergeant, where I was in charge of making sure the barracks were properly maintained and cleaned.”

Anthony reenlisted in May of 1987 and received orders to 2nd Force Service Support Group 8th Communication Battalion Camp Lejeune,, North Carolina. He was stationed with 8th Communication until his discharge in 1989.

He chose to return to his hometown of Cochran. “ I returned back to Cochran in 1989 on leave awaiting my discharge, and found employment with Gilman Paper Products in Eastman as a finisher in the bag department until 1990.”

After leaving Gilman, Anthony started a career in law enforcement with the Bleckley County Sheriff’s Office as a dispatcher/jailer. “I answered the phone as a 911 operator and dispatched law enforcement officers to calls for help, and there were times I had to contact other agencies for assistance.” His duties as jailer included attending to the inmates, ensuring meals were served, medications given and such. Six months after he started his employment, Anthony received a promotion as a deputy, and attended the law enforcement academy.

As a deputy, he worked as a criminal, drug and accident investigator. From 1994 to 2017, Anthony worked as a radio operator, and later as executive security police corporal at the Georgia Department of Public Safety headquarters complex in Atlanta. “While I was there, I provided protection for the complex, employees, visitors and anyone else who came to the complex until my retirement in 2017.”

He became a licensed and ordained minister in 1999 on June 6 and October 3 respectfully. “So, now my everyday is spent enjoying the glory and riches that God has entrusted me with while teaching, preaching, serving and reaching His people.”

Anthony commented, “There is no power in me that I possess that I can give to others to help them other than the word of God.”

“I would be like Peter and James and tell them silver and gold I have not, but the word of God will bring you through anything if you have faith in Him. Therefore, with that being said, I would share the word, love and passion of Jesus,” he said.

For Anthony, letting people “know that the battle they are facing is not theirs, but the Lord’s. Any battle they are facing is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

He said, “I would instruct them to stop putting all their trust and faith in human, and start trusting God wholeheartedly. God has everything you need, and more, to survive in this life and even after.”

An avid sports person, Anthony stated, “I love playing sports, but arthritis won’t let me enjoy it like I used too. I still enjoy the outdoors, therefore, when I get a chance I grab my fishing pole and find a spot. Out of all my hobbies and interests, spreading the Gospel is my favorite thing to do.”

When asked what makes him stay positive, he said, “There are several things that makes me stay positive, but the one thing that is of any importance is knowing that no matter hand life deals me, God will never leave nor will He forsake me.”

Anthony concluded, “In this life we live, we will face adversaries. But, if you walk with the Creator, life will be more understanding.”

And the good news can’t get any better than that, can it?


Author: rlhwrites

Curator of prose and such.

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