Officials representing Georgia Agricultural Education presented Dr. Ira Hicks, an FVSU retired professor of agricultural education, with a cabin named in his honor at Camp John Hope on May 22.
Camp John Hope is a 226-acre facility in Fort Valley serving Georgia youths for more than 90 years. The camp primarily exists for use by the Future Farmers of America (FFA) and Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) students. The site also serves as a retreat and conference center used by church groups, civic organizations and other entities.
“We thought that it was so very fitting that he be honored with a cabin with his name on it to continue the legacy that he has left here at Camp John Hope for many years to come,” said Casey Shumate, camp manager.
Hicks, whose service to agriculture spans decades, said having a cabin named in his honor is a memorable event that caught him by complete surprise. Reflecting on his younger days, he said he first visited the camp while in high school in 1944 to compete in a vocational agriculture quiz competition.
The FVSU alumni attended then Fort Valley State College the following year (1945) and enrolled in the university’s first four-year agriculture class. In January of 1946, Hicks and other students helped move some surplus barracks from Fort Benning to Camp John Hope, which he said was a major upgrade in living quarters.
Hicks said the camp has improved tremendously from the heavily forested area he visited in 1944. “Everything is different, and so much has improved over whatever we thought that it could or would ever be,” Hicks said. “We never dreamed it would be anything like this.”