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    Women that Inspire: The story of Grandma Thornton

    Women that Inspire: The story of Grandma Thornton

    Courtesy Photo | Courtesy photos from Grandma Margaret Mapp Thornton's life, provided by the Mapp family.... read more read more



    Story by Richard Bumgardner 

    USACE Transatlantic Expeditionary District

    In honor of Women’s History Month, we share an inspirational story from one of our Transatlantic Expeditionary District employees, Jimmy Mapp.

    As Jimmy Mapp was growing up in a small Georgian town, little did he realize how influential the many strong women in his life would be, none more important than his grandmother, Margaret Mapp Thornton.

    Today, Mapp is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers logistics management specialist, voluntarily deployed to Kuwait to support the mission with the Transatlantic Division’s Expeditionary District. Here he provides supply and logistical support to Expeditionary District military and civilian engineers, along with program and project managers, who directly contribute to the construction oversight and management of U.S. Central Command, and host nation military projects.

    Mapp has been a Department of Army civilian since 2005, and an Army Corps of Engineers employee since 2012. He previously worked at the Army Corps of Engineers Logistics Activity, in Millington, Tenn. When not deployed, he works logistics at the South Atlantic Division in Atlanta, Ga.

    Reflecting on Women’s History Month, Mapp knew he wanted to tell the world of his grandmother’s story, a story that has inspired him his entire life.

    Ms. Margaret Mapp Thornton was born in the 1930’s in Siloam, Ga., a small town that for decades never had more than 350 people on its census. That quiet small-town vibe is still present today in Siloam, which continues to be a pitstop off the I-20 interstate highway running through the center of Georgia between Atlanta and Augusta.

    She wouldn’t let those humble beginnings define where she would take her life, and as she raised her family, she continued to advance her career and give to her community.

    “My Grandmother received a basic education in a colored school,” Mapp said. “She raised three children and did housework and worked as a nurse aid as well. In 1970 she changed gears and started working at Hubert English Elementary school as a secretary.”

    Within a year Ms. Thornton would transfer those administrative skills to interview with Georgia’s Division of Family and Children Services. In 1971 she became the first African American woman to work for DFCS in Greensboro, the county seat of Greene County.

    Greensboro is also where Mapp was born but would quickly move away from as a military dependent. Mapp’s father, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Willie Mapp, had a typical military career with lots of change dynamics from deployments, training for deployments, and moving the family around the world.

    Jimmy would spend quite a few of his formative summers growing up in that small corner of Georgia with his grandparents, especially his grandmother who took care of the home, who also worked to help bring in income.

    “I call her the General as we are a military family, but she has always been that stable backbone for us, all my life,” Mapp said.

    For more than 25 years Ms. Thornton would drive the back roads of central Georgia, with its canopies of long-leaf pine and live oaks, moss hanging from their branches, as she made house calls to senior citizens and children, a job made even more difficult by unmarked dirt roads and a lack of GPS and cellphones.

    “She is just an amazing person that makes life for her family a treat,” said Mapp.

    In 1996, already in her 60’s, she retired from DFCS, but that didn’t stop her as she continued to work, first with the Greene County battered women’s shelter and then worked as a bailiff in the Greensboro Sheriff’s Department.

    “From a woman with very humble beginnings, and not much education, she has made a great life for herself and her family,” Mapp said. “I look up to her because she is strong-willed, very wise, and has a can-do attitude and spirit. She inspires me to always stay positive and never sweat the small stuff.”

    That advice has served Mapp well working military logistics while deployed to Afghanistan in 2018 for Operation Enduring Freedom, and now supporting the Expeditionary District in Kuwait for Operation Inherent Resolve.

    Mission accomplishments aside, it’s knowing that there are homecomings ahead that make a deployment bearable.

    “A memory I will always carry with me is when I came home from deployment and my grandmother was in church, sitting in the choir,” Mapp said. “She was so surprised when she saw me, and her smile was big and bright. To see her smile like that made me so happy.”

    A guiding light and pillar of her family, Ms. Thornton, known as Miss Sis in her community, would end up raising three children, and being the “general” to seven grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren.

    “She was instrumental in my growth as a young man,” Mapp said. “My grandmother influenced me to never quit, and to know there were obstacles for me to climb but nothing was out of my reach, if I wanted something to go after it, finish it!

    I think we can all agree that Ms. Thornton inspires all of us, and we thank the Mapp family of Greene County, Ga., for their family story.



    Date Taken: 03.25.2022
    Date Posted: 03.26.2022 10:08
    Story ID: 417242
    Location: CAMP ARIFJAN, KW 
    Hometown: GREENSBORO, GA, US

    Web Views: 212
    Downloads: 0