Mr. Hoyt is the highlight of any Wal-Mart trip. He is always eager to take the time to share his stories with anyone that is willing to take the time to listen. If you don’t have time to stop and chat he understands, and waves and says “hello friend” when you rush past him. On this particular day he was telling me that my son could use a few extra pounds, “biscuits and gravy is what will put on the weight.” Biscuits and gravy sparks the story of the day, his first job, as a paper route boy for the “Times”. While he doesn’t recall his exact age at the time he began his first job, he knows as soon as he was able to work he went to work as a paper route boy around age 14 or 15. He would wake up at 4am and head out to deliver papers in his section of Trion. The Times route was the hot ticket in the mid 1950s, “they had way more subscribers than The Consititution.” At 6:30am when he had finished his deliveries his Mom would have biscuits and gravy waiting for him. “She cooked with streaked meat, she didn’t really like fatback.” Biscuits and gravy led to him asking me, “they put my War picture up on the wall back there, y’all want to see it?” Of course Cole and I wanted to see his picture. We followed the 92 year-old spring chicken through Wal-Mart from the front of the store to the back, which is a walk. He took us to a bulletin board an employee from Wal-Mart had created to honor the military veterans who worked at Wal-Mart. Mr. Hoyt was beaming standing beside his picture, my son commented, “he looks exactly the same”, and he was right.
Hoyt Williams was born in Trion on November 9th 1923. He graduated Trion High School in 1942, and joined the Army to serve in WWII. As an Army engineer, he arrived in Normandy DDay+18. He was present in France, Belgium and finished his European mission in Germany. His Company saw plenty of action during the Battle of the Bulge. When he returned to the States, he wasn’t quite ready for civilian life yet and he caught the next troop train to Seattle en route for the Philippines, where he remained until Japan surrendered in September of 1945. After returning home from the war, for good, Mr. Hoyt took over his Father’s supermarket in Trion in 1948. Mr. Hoyt also continued his service to the community by being a member of the original water board for the Chattooga County District, helping all of the County have access to water. Mr. Hoyt served on the Trion School Board 2 terms as chairman, the Trion City Council for 16 years before being elected Mayor of Trion. He has worked full-time for Wal-Mart for almost three decades. Yes, the chat did detain my shopping trip which was to be a right in and right out operation, but it was the highlight of my week.