Family and friends of former Tattnall County Sheriff Quinton Rush gathered at the Glennville City limits on Hwy 144 South to designate the road from Glennville to Tison as the Quinton Rush Highway.
The ceremony began at 10 a.m. on Thursday, October 6, 2022, and former State Patrol Colonel and current State Representative Bill Hitchins from Effingham County served as Master of Ceremonies. Other dignitaries included State Representative Bill Werkheiser, State Senator Blake Tillery, Glennville Mayor Bernie Weaver, Tattnall County Commission Chairman Jackie Trim, Sheriff’s Association Director Terry Norris, and Sheriff Craig Nobles of Long County. Several local members of the Georgia State Patrol were present.
Quinton and Colonel Hitchins went to Georgia State Patrol Trooper School together and several good stories were rehashed. In particular, they talked about their boxing matches whereby Bill recalled feeling the wind from Quinton’s haymakers and Quinton remembering that Bill almost broke his nose with little short, quick jabs. Another interesting memory involved the fact that Bill and Quinton spent time guarding the Lester Maddox signs in Long County that warned motorists about the speed trap in Ludowici in the 1970s.
“Quinton worked for me for a while on the Georgia State Patrol when I was a Lieutenant and he was a Post Sergeant,” Bill said. “He said what he believed, and he was always truthful. I have always said, and I still believe the best thing he ever did was marry Evonne.”
Quinton began his career in law enforcement in 1968 with the Georgia State Patrol, and he retired as a lieutenant in 1966. In a real sense, he was a homebody who loved southeast Georgia, and he stated that he never took a promotion test for anywhere but Hinesville or Reidsville.
“If I couldn’t sleep in my bed, I wasn’t interested,” he said.
Ted Millar, Quinton’s roommate in Trooper School, said he had a lot of Quinton Rush stories, but it would take a while to tell them. Ted and Quinton use canes to compensate for stiff knees and hips while walking, and they thought it might be interesting to have a footrace afterwards. Someone allowed they might not move very fast, but they’d have fun doing it.
Senator Blake Tillery remembered working in the Bush campaign when President Bush came to the Hanner Field House at Georgia Southern in 2006. At that time, Blake was in charge of making sure certain individuals got tickets, and the Secret Service was adamant that the tickets could only go to the individuals listed. Quinton approached and asked if he had an extra ticket, and Blake was a trifle nervous. If he came up short, the Secret service would be chewing on his backside.
“But that was Sheriff Rush, so I gave him a ticket, and no agents chastised me later. I know he and his grandson enjoyed seeing President Bush in person,” he said.
Those who knew him described him as old school law enforcement. Terry Norris said he was loyal to and a protector and defender of the people in Tattnall County. Terry remembered that he had a hankering for Vidalia onions once and called Quinton to get “a few.” He recalled that Quinton put a pickup load of 40-pound bags in his Tahoe.
“I knew I couldn’t use that many, so I got on the phone and called people and gave away onions all the way home and told them it was compliments of Sheriff Quinton Rush of Tattnall County. I’m sure it was really good publicity for Tattnall County onion farmers,’ he said.
State Representative Bill Werkheiser thanked Sheriff Rush for his service to the Georgia State Patrol for 30 years and as Sheriff of Tattnall County for 20 years.
“We appreciate what you have done and what you do,” he said.
Quinton Rush was elected Tattnall County Sheriff five times, and in 2016 he was selected as Georgia Sheriff of the Year by his peers. With 159 counties in Georgia, that is no small accomplishment.
Quinton’s family was present for the ceremony, including his wife, Evonne; daughter, Cindy Rush Thompson (Joe); son Steve Rush (Carla); and grandchildren: Evan Smith, Caleb Rush, and Ansley Rush Rodriguez (Sam).
Perhaps the day was best summed up by longtime friend Reverend Jerry Knight, who grew up with Quinton.
“What a day,” he said. “I knew Quinton Rush as a boy when we were growing up. He was a little older than me, and I remember seeing him selling watermelons and firewood alongside the road on Hwy 144. Now that road is named after him. Only in America.”