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Colleton Prep’s living legacy, Mr. Joe

The greatest gift is a portion of thyself.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Clearly, you can still be walking on this earth to leave a legacy. In the case of Mr. Joe Willie Carroll, that translates into running out with the War Hawk football team, storming the sidelines at basketball games while chanting “you can’t do that” or rattling the fence during a baseball game. In fact, when it comes to giving the most important gift or legacy we can give, which is a piece of ourselves…he is winning the ballgame.

A fixture at Colleton Prep athletic events since the late 70s, Joe Willie Carroll, is a man of many words. If you’ve ever met him, you’ll agree. A man of such character and presence, that you just know, without a shadow of a doubt, has impacted many lives with his purposeful stories. His twinkling, yet mischievous, eyes, have seen a lot and he is quick to share his very opinionated thoughts on, well, just about anything. If you can spare a moment, or more, there is magic and much to be learned in the connection and handing down of those stories.

Who is Mr. Joe? The 78-year-old, retired farmer from Smoaks is married t

“There are many men who make their impression on mankind by doing great, powerful things, such as designing cars or life-saving medication. However, my dad has made his impression with his quiet, strong faith.” –Tammy Carroll Hall Photo by Cindy Crosby

o Edna Carroll. They have two daughters Tammy Hall and Debbie Dickerson, who have provided them with their greatest pride and joy…their beloved grandchildren: Trey Hall (married and working in Summerville), Garrett Hall (senior at Clemson), Landon Dickerson (University of Chattanooga) and 15-year-old Kaden Dickerson.

He is almost always found outside and keeps himself busy with mowing, planting flowers, or tending to his vegetable garden, most of which he gives away or delivers to people in need. “He is always active, like the energizer bunny,” admitted his daughter, Tammy. “If it is raining and he can’t get outside, then he cleans the house. Literally, he will wipe down walls, mop, dust, or do just about anything to stay active and busy.”

Mr. Joe admits he is most passionate about his faith and his love of Jesus. When he leaves church on Sundays, he visits the sick and shut-in, leaving them church bulletins and telling them about the morning sermon. “If I had to describe him, I think I would call him a humble servant,” acknowledged Tammy. “He is such a giving, loving person and his heart is so big and filled with compassion for others. He often calls and asks me to pray for someone he met at Walmart, a young person at CPA who seems to be having a problem, or someone he heard about who is struggling financially.

He does so much around the community in a quiet, unassuming manner. He never expects praise or recognition; it is just who he is.”

If you ask Mr. Joe about his health, you’ll hear a glowing report. After a scare with melanoma in 2005, he has been the picture of health. His only other scare was a tumble down the bleachers at Dorchester Academy during a basketball game, which earned him a fractured pelvis and “hero status” among the students; it allowed him to watch the rest of the season, from the sidelines, in a wheelchair. In fact, just this season, a glance into the stands during basketball season found the entire student section holding up placards with Mr. Joe’s face plastered on them. A fitting honor, surely.

Without a doubt, Joe Carroll’s support of Colleton Prep and the athletic program is unwavering and dates back nearly 30 years. He loves the athletes who wear the War Hawk uniform and will go over and beyond to help them in any way possible, from offering advice, listening to their problems, or even having a “chat” with a coach. Having Mr. Joe on your side is a good plan if you’re in a pickle. He gets attached to the players, and even the coaches, which makes transition difficult for him. For example, Colleton Prep’s head football coaching position has changed each year for the past three years, with number four slated to begin spring practice soon. He is hopeful that this one will be around for a long while.

Mr. Joe takes to planting flowers when he has things on his mind. In fact, he already has his next project planned. As spring was ushered in last week, it is something about this season that gives pause to the reflection and renewal of life. So, take the time to listen to a few of Mr. Joe’s stories. After all, spring is over much too quickly.

Cindy Crosby (513 Posts)