Peggy Miles: In service to Appling County for 50 years

The old adage that if you want something done and done well, ask a busy person to do it might very well be true, and if it is, you might call Peggy Miles, General Manager of South Georgia Broadcasters for the last fifty and one-half years if you need an important job done and done right. I’m convinced that she’s the lady behind-the-scenes that keeps the city and county running like a well-oiled machine. Her thumb is on the pulse of many organizations in this county.

Peggy grew up on a farm in Bacon County with her parents, brother, and sister.

“I had a perfect childhood,” she said, “and did all the things that kids enjoy doing on the farm. I couldn’t have asked for any better. I graduated from Bacon County High School in 1964, then went to Massey Business College in Jacksonville, Florida, and graduated from there in 1968. I just went straight through. Back home, I went to work for Butler Chevrolet in Alma and worked there until I married. Then I moved to Baxley. It’s home now. I’ve been here a long time.”

Peggy married Oswell Miles, who died with cancer in 2002. They had no children. Last summer in July, she celebrated more than fifty years as General Manager of the radio station. When she moved to Baxley as a young bride, she was looking for a job; Big WUFE had an opening. She started as the secretary/bookkeeper and kept that position until Al Graham asked her to become manager. She agreed and her career had its official start.

“Things have changed an awful lot in fifty years,” Peggy said. “When I started, we just had the little AM station, Big WUFE 1260, which we still have. It’s now on the same tower with 96.7. It signed on at 6 a.m. and off at 6 p.m. A lot of people listen to 96.7 for local news every day. Back then Big WUFE had a split format, playing country in the mornings, gospel in the middle of the day, and rock in the afternoons for the younger crowd. Now it plays music from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. WBYZ covers about a third of the state. Most folks know it well.”

Farnell O’Quinn built Big WUFE and got it on the air. When he left, Al Graham took over, asked her to be manager, and got FM started with WBYZ in 1982. People ask her all the time why she doesn’t retire, but she assures them that she has no intention whatsoever of doing so as long as the good Lord gives her good health, mentally and physically, and the strength to keep going.

“Why on earth would I retire?” Peggy asked. “My husband’s gone, and I have no children. What would I do with myself? I enjoy working and plan to keep on keeping on as long as I can. I especially like working with organizations that help less-fortunate people in the community. That’s why I continue to serve on so many boards. Some of them are rather time-consuming at times, but that’s okay with me. I don’t mind a bit. I like to stay busy.”

Peggy helped organize United Way in Appling County and is still on the board. She serves as treasurer and spends hours working on that project when the campaign is going on. She is chairman of the 24/7 House and served on the Chamber of Commerce Board for 42 years. She just came off that one. She is vice president of the Tourism Board and has been on the hospital authority for twenty years now. She is currently chairman and sometimes works long hours on that one too. She is an active board member for the Appling County Food Bank and serves it as treasurer, as well as serving on the advisory board for the county extension service. She’s chairman of the board of the Heritage Center and serves on the board of the Coalition for a Healthy Appling County (CHAC). That particular organization started through a grant from the state about five years ago. She is President of the Appling Healthcare Foundation Board, serves on the Gala Committee for the Chamber, and is on the festival board of directors. Some board meetings are long, but Peggy doesn’t complain about it. It’s all in a day’s work for her.

Peggy attends Woodlawn Baptist Church, where she is the WMU director, the senior adult director, the church hostess, a member of the church council, secretary of her Sunday school class, a member of the benevolence committee and the personnel committee, and the assistant treasury. When she accepts a job, whatever it is, she gives it her best, be it church or community organizations. That’s the kind of person she is.

Very little time exists in her busy schedule for hobbies, but she loves working in her yard. All potted plants are precious to her, but she especially loves geraniums.

“I’m sure I inherited my love for flowers from my mother,” Peggy said. “Like me, she loved flowers and grew them in profusion. So do I. I like to see them thrive under my care. I also like to read, but most of what I read is spiritual. Charles Stanley’s books are favorites of mine, but I enjoy James Merritt as well. I watch very little television, but I do enjoy good documentaries, and there are some good ones on sometimes if you watch for them.”

Peggy Miles feels blessed to be a part of the Appling County Community because it is close knit and caring. People look out for each other. If you need something, someone is always waiting to help you out, no matter the problem.

“The county has an awful lot of good people in it,” Peggy said.

She’s so right, and she’s definitely one of those good people.