Augusta suffers a distinct loss in the death on Saturday, at age 84, of Eugene M. Long.
Always a staunch defender of the military's position in this country's well-being, he was a highly-decorated Army captain who was in the thick of combat on Utah beach at the 1944 D-Day invasion of Normandy. For his bravery and courage under fire, he received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star, as well as France's Croix de Guerre.
But the story and service of Gene Long extends beyond his distinguished military career. An Augustan since 1946, he was an owner, chief executive officer and president of the Georgia Carolina Brick and Tile Co. That company was sold to Merry Co. in 1975, where he served as executive vice president until his 1982 retirement.
Mr. Long's community service included extensive volunteer work for the Boy Scouts, yeoman work on behalf of the old Committee of 100, the presidency of the Augusta Kiwanis Club and service as an Augusta-Richmond County Museum board member.
An outspoken member of the National Rifle Association and longtime defender of the Second Amendment, Gene Long was so beloved by members of Augusta's Pinetucky Gun Club that it dedicated a pistol range in his honor.
His many friends in military, business and civic circles will mourn the departure of a true patriot who recognized and fulfilled the obligations of citizenship and leadership.