It wasnt just Howard Reeves walking a police beat that kept Augusta a safer place. His involvement in the lives of hundreds of teenagers through his efforts as a baseball, football and basketball coach made a huge impact.
He saved many a teenager from going to jail, said Freddie Lott, chief of the Augusta Police Department from 1986 to 1991. The police department consolidated with the Richmond County Sheriffs Department in the mid-1990s.
Mr. Reeves, also known as Sarge, died Monday at his residence after an extended illness.
Mr. Lott started on the police force in 1964 when there was no specialized training. He remembers his first night on the job.
They put me on my first night to walk with Howard, he said.
Mr. Reeves had already been on the force for six years. They covered Reynolds, Broad, Greene and Ellis streets of downtown Augusta from Fifth to 13th Streets, checking doors and watching people.
Over the years, their paths would cross numerous times. Mr. Reeves spent 38 years on the police force. When Mr. Lott served as police chief, Mr. Reeves worked in community relations, spending time speaking to civic, school and church groups.
He was real nice. The community of Augusta liked him; young children liked him, he said.
And he loved his community. He spent more than 25 years coaching for the Richmond County Recreation Department.
Gary Kendrick was on several teams during the early and mid-1970s. When he was in college, he assisted Mr. Reeves. What impressed Mr. Kendrick most was the concern Mr. Reeves showed for his players off the field.
The interest he took in each one of us individually. I wasnt the only one. There were a lot of kids who werent as advantaged as I was. They came from low-income homes with no father figure. He treated them like one of his own, Mr. Kendrick said. He made a lot of us better people.
Mr. Kendricks parents worked during the day when practices were held. He said Mr. Reeves would pick up him and other youngsters for practice and take them home later.
After games, hed take the whole team to Dairy Queen behind Daniel Village for a hamburger. Hed get Six Flags and Braves tickets. He was a lot of fun to be with, Mr. Kendrick said. He was a big kid. We had a blast.
Funeral services for Mr. Reeves will be at 1 p.m. Thursday at Grace Fellowship of Augusta, 1735 Sibley Rd.
Survivors include his wife, Evelyn; a daughter, Patti Barnard and her husband, Dan, Augusta; a son, Bill, who is a captain with the Richmond County Sheriffs Department, and his wife, Lara; three sisters, Inez Edwards, Hephzibah., Jenelle Black, Bluffton, S.C., and Dale Carver, Charlotte, N.C; and five grandchildren, Joseph Daniel Barnard III, Harrison Reeves Barnard, Lynlee Marie Barnard, William Remmington Reeves and Emory Victoria Reeves.