Charles “Pete” Wood is a man of few words, but his accomplishments speak for him, those and his wife Lillie who even after 52 years of marriage beams with pride when she talks about his involvement in the community.
“Pete loves a challenge,” said Lillie Wood. “He loves the challenge of being involved in organizations. That’s the truth.”
August 2012 will mark Wood’s 50th year on the Cobb County Hospital Authority, a job he took in 1962 when the only hospital in the county was Kennestone in Marietta. Wood said he remembers a time when there were no doctors in Smyrna either. The doctor who delivered Wood in his family’s home on Fleming Street had to drive in from Marietta. So when Wood received a call from his friend Herbert McCollum, he had no problems accepting his offer to serve on the hospital authority.
“I got a call one day and he said, ‘Pete, how would you like to be on the Hospital Authority of Cobb County to build a new hospital in south Cobb?’” Wood said. “And I said ‘I’d love to have the opportunity.’ And he said, ‘Well you got it.’ So that’s how I started.’”
A banker by trade, Wood used his financial know-how to help finance Cobb Hospital, now Wellstar Cobb Hospital in Austell, which opened in 1968. He continued to serve on the board even after construction was complete and 45 years later he received a prestigious honor from the Georgia Hospital Authority.
In February Wood was awarded the Distinguished Service Award for his half a century commitment to health care in Cobb County, and he can’t help grinning when asked about it.
“I was stunned—totally,” he said. “I didn’t know it. I was taken aback because it is a very prestigious award.”
The Georgia Hospital Authority sent a limousine to take Wood and his family to the award ceremony at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead.
“It was great,” he said. “That’s not my area of travel. My sister and her husband rode with us. They said, ‘We’ll send somebody to pick you up. It seats four people.’ So my sister and her husband went with us. They brought us to the place. It was well done and nobody could complain about the quality of the service from start to finish. It was well planned and well done; it was just a great day.”
Wood’s wife Lillie is proud of her husband’s accomplishments. When asked how he found the energy over the years to work as a banker, serve in the Army Reserves, City Council and on the hospital board, she said he just couldn’t help it.
“Work was very important,” she said. “Pete and I often laugh and say that we came up in the best of times and the worst of times because there were no free rides. You either worked or you didn’t have it and that’s the bottom line. There was no way to have any thing without work.”
Though he’s been retired from the banking industry for more than 20 years, he hasn’t slowed down yet. Wood represented Ward 7 on the Smyrna City Council for five terms until he decided not to seek re-election in 2011. Additionally, he retired from Army Reserve as a Colonel after more than 30 years of service.
Wood and his wife still live in Smyrna where he's active in the Veterans Memorial Association of Smyrna, Smyrna Business Association and .