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Big Ben Atkins, Communities Pulling Together In Times of Tragedy and 'Workplace Harassment’

Ron Williams

Ron Williams

OPINION

BY RON WILLIAMS

Last week, my online story about the passing of regional musical icon Big Ben Atkins, entitled ‘Big Ben Atkins Joins Rock-n-Roll Heaven Band’, received a comment from Gay Wilbourne that needs to repeated here. Gay wrote: “My Tribute To Big Ben Atkins”
Ben, you were an icon and an idol to me and to all who followed you! As a young teen, I had to hear the stories about your songs and music, and of course about the fights that broke out at the Southernaire.  I had a Christian upbringing and I was in my forties before I got the opportunity to hear you and your side kick Don Hudson . You sang Happy Birthday to me! I felt so special. A budding relationship came between three of us from that night on. Many Waffle House breakfast followed. You would get one of my pork chops. Dearest Ben , you could have them both if you were just here! You were always soft spoken with that husky voice. No one could sing like you. I hope you are singing in that Heavenly Band In The Sky singing to us all “Come On Over”
RIP
Ben was laid to rest in Vernon this past Saturday. An accompanying photo shows Ben singing at The Southernaire in the mid to late 60’s.

Communities Rally in Lowndes County and in Oklahoma!
In times of tragedy, no one rallies to help out like the citizens of Mississippi and Oklahoma! The tragic ATV accident at the Lux in recent days, locally, and the massive tornado that slammed the Oklahoma City area are perfect examples. Locally, hundreds have given their time and resources to help find the bodies of the two young Brown boys who tragically drowned in the Lux. Though the final result was not a happy one, local heroes emerged from the tragedy. The same can be said for the people in the Oklahoma City area. The courage and resolve of both of these communities are reason to believe that kindness and goodwill can still win out over bad and evil.

Workplace Harassment
Many of you reading this will instantly understand this story. It takes place everyday all over this country. While there are several different forms of workplace harassment, the ultimate goal is all too often to harass a person into quitting a particular job, a job many have given a near-lifetime too. I know of a particular person who has more than 30 years in at her job. Suddenly, as she reaches her mid-50’s, harassment involving personal comments, changing of duties and other such activities have become commonplace in the past few months. It’s a tactic many companies (and those in civil service) often use to cause such frustration that the individual will usually end up retiring early…or just quit.
I’ll closely monitor the situation and report back to you as the story continues to unfold.
In the meantime, if you are experiencing any such harassment, I encourage you to speak out. Like most harassment, it all too often goes unreported.

The views and opinions expressed in Ron Williams’ columns are the author’s and are not those of The Columbus Packet or Packet Media, LLC.
Ron Williams can be reached by email at Ronsings2you@aol.com.

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1 comment

  1. Gay Wilbourne

    Ron Williams, I would like to take this opportunity to say Thank You for reprinting my Tribute To Big Ben Atkins.
    I just saw the reprint . Although it has been several years since the loss of our friend and hometown icon, he lives on in our hearts and memories. Don Hudson, Tom Clemmons and I are three that miss him terribly. As a Christian, I hope , one day to meet Ben at “The Gate,” and to hear him say, ” Come On Over !!” Gone but never forgotten
    Big Ben Atkins ….RIP

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