“Oh, I had been thinking of having a combined Harrisburg-Frog Hollow reunion for at least 10 years,” said McNair, a native of the Harrisburg community west of downtown. “But I never acted on it. I just thought and thought about it but I never did anything.”
Finally, in 2010, she made her dream a reality. In hopes of reuniting old friends, as well as raising money for war veterans, McNair organized the Harrisburg-Frog Hollow reunion, which had its fourth annual celebration Saturday at the American Legion Post on Milledge Road.
“It’s hard to describe how much this night means,” said Donna Dunn, president of the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary Unit 63. “Not only is it great to see old friends, but more importantly, it’s great to raise money for our veterans. We all have a duty to help veterans, and this is the least we can do to repay them for their service.”
According to Frog Hollow native James S. Dorrill, the idea of a combined reunion between former residents of Harrisburg and Frog Hollow would have been laughable.
“I grew up in Frog Hollow and we weren’t allowed in Harrisburg,” said Dorrill, who authored the book The History of Frog Hollow.
“We were like two tribes. To get into the other territory, you better have a good connection. And I mean a really good connection. Trust me, I’m speaking from experience.”
Those days of animosity have long-since ended, as has much of Frog Hollow. The neighborhood, which resembled Harrisburg in size and housing, was torn down to build the University Hospital campus about half a century ago.
“Eventually, we all got so old that we just didn’t care anymore,” McNair said. “Plus, a lot of us married each other.”
About 250 people attended the inaugural Harrisburg-Frog Hollow reunion, McNair said. Four years later, the number has nearly doubled.
“It just keeps getting bigger and bigger,” she said. “The money this reunion raises goes to a great cause. Obviously, there’s no way to fully repay our veterans, but every little bit matters.”
At this year’s event, Roy Rogers and Jan Holley were honored as the Frog Hollowian and Harrisburgian of the Year, respectively.
“This is definitely an honor,” Rogers said. “I was born in Frog Hollow in 1941 and lived there until I went to the Navy in 1961. I served two years in the Navy, then came back and worked for the Augusta Fire Department for 31 years.”
Added Holley: “I had no clue I was getting this award, but it’s an honor. Growing up, everyone from Harrisburg worked full time, or at least part time, at the mill – and I promise, there was no easy job at that place. It taught us to have a great work ethic and I couldn’t be more proud to say I’m from Harrisburg.”