Grandfather among local torchbearers

By Kathy Jefcoats

On June 18, Harold Carter, 80, adds Olympic torchbearer to a resume that includes service in World War II and surviving cancer.

The McDonough resident and retired printer was nominated by his four grandchildren and chosen as one of three torchbearers from Henry County.

Carter and Tina Havard, also of McDonough, and Matthew Moseley of Locust Grove will participate in carrying the torch through the Atlanta portion of its journey to the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, from its beginning in Sydney, Australia.

"I guess my grandchildren are as fond of me as I am of them," said Carter. "I was not aware they were doing it until I got a letter from the Olympic committee that I'd been chosen."

The nomination letter mentions the fact that Carter has been married for 55 years, has two children and four grandchildren.

"He is a truly phenomenal person," the nomination states, who served more than three years in World War II in Greenland and the Philippines. Carter also wrote a book about his adventures.

Carter is a lymphoma survivor for 14 years, rides a bike, enjoys a good golf game, gardens, is active in his church and regales his grandchildren with stories of his life.

"He is an amazing person who lives every day to the fullest," they told the nominating committee, who will carry the torch with pride and enthusiasm.

Havard was nominated by her husband of 15 years, Joseph, who is proud of her dedication to saving dogs. Havard, 38, works for Delta Technologies and "mothers" Willie, 10, a bassett-beagle mix, and Buster, 8, a Labrador retriever-greyhound mix.

"He nominated me because I spend so much time rescuing animals," said Havard, some 700 to 1,000 hours a year for the past sixto seven years. "I am proud to be carrying the torch to bring attention to the animals. We've got to spay or neuter these dogs."

Havard has started walking in the afternoons to get into shape for the 400-meter relay when she will carry the torch from one runner to the next. Participants are asked to indicate whether they will walk, run or wheelchair. Carter proudly nixed riding the distance.

"I think I can walk 400 meters," he said.

The committee will be sending uniforms but participants will wear their own shoes. Carter said they've been told to not use hairspray.

"I don't think that will be a problem for me," he said.

Torchbearers will get the route schedule and uniforms about a week before the event.

Moseley could not be reached for comment.