The Transylvania Times -

By Maddison Holt
Written For The Times 

Captain Herb: Hero To Some, A Friend To All – Brevard NC


In honor of his community involvement and invaluable service to motorists in the Atlanta area, a memorial bridge and the I-85/Georgia 400 intersection were recently named in Emory's honor. Pictured above at the ceremony honoring Emory are his wife, Karen Emory, and his mother, Joyce Emory. (Courtesy photos)

Captain Herb Emory, born in Brevard on April 2, 1953, is remembered by many for his various accomplishments within the radio industry and contributions to his community. His last contribution was in saving the lives of others outside his Atlanta home while losing his own.

Emory developed a passion for radio when he was young. While living in Brevard as a boy, he began working at WPNF, Brevard's local radio station at the time.

According to the Douglas County Sentinel, "He had started sweeping the floors and emptying the trash at Wonderful Pisgah National Forest (WPNF) when he was in sixth grade."

After graduating high school, he moved to Atlanta in 1971, according to radio station WSB's website, to attend the Atlanta School of Broadcasting and National School of Broadcasting. He was then employed by WSB, where his first job was gathering traffic and weather information.

The Douglas County Sentinel stated that, "twenty years later, Emory would find himself in the WSB Skycopter Lounge."

Emory monitored Atlanta traffic from the sky in a helicopter he referred to as "the best office in town." He worked weekday rush-hour shifts in the mornings and afternoons. Many recall him as being particularly skilled at directing motorists away from any particular congested interstates.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's website, a Roswell woman named Kay, talked about how much she trusted Emory and his traffic reports.

"If the Captain said don't go somewhere, we didn't go in that direction," she told Howard from AJC.

Due to his job as a traffic reporter, he developed a strong relationship with the Georgia Highway Patrol and Georgia Department of Transportation. His position also helped him gain strong connections with many EMTs, fire department, and the local police.

His radio shows were not restricted just to traffic reports. Emory had a strong love for NASCAR and he began his own syndicated racing show, along with other NASCAR programs.

Because of his strong radio presence, he won several awards to honor his work. In 2008, he was inducted into the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame and received the Inaugural Excellence in Motorsports Journalism Award in 2012, and those are just a few of the awards Emory received throughout his lifetime.

The awards, however, are not what define Emory. While they showcase his work-related accomplishments, the most important thing to Emory was being a good person. Emory was well known for his compassion and empathy.

Even after he suffered a personal tragedy of losing his son, Emory's resilience helped him bounce back as a public servant. After Emory's friend Paul Latalien's 18-year-old son died in 2013, Emory called him every week to check in on him.

According to the Atlanta Constitution-Journal, Letalien recalled Emory saying to him, "You and I are in a club nobody wants to belong to. We've got to support each other."

Emory held an annual Toys 4 Tots drive in his community to ensure that thousands of children would have Christmas presents because Emory had a strong compassion for people and children. The Douglas County Sentinel said that Emory often helped get wheelchairs for those in need. He also loved animals and served on the Animal Control Advisory Board.

Emory was adored by the public and worked as grand marshal of several parades. He and his wife, Karen, frequently appeared in the Fourth of July parade. Emory was always willing to participate in government and civic events. In total, he made 83 personal appearances for various organizations in 2013.

Captain Herb Emory

A violent wreck that caused a woman's SUV to overturn occurred near Emory's Atlanta home on April 12, 2014. He called 911 and proceeded to pull two young children out of the vehicle. The SUV had started leaking gas and the situation was worsening every minute. Emory managed to calm down the two children before he suffered heart attack. He was taken to the WellStar Douglas Hospital where he died later that day at the age of 61.

Because he excelled as a traffic reporter and deeply touched everyone who knew him, Emory was recently honored this summer when the GA 400/I-85 overpass was renamed in his honor.

Douglas County Coro-ner Randy Daniel told the Douglas County Sentinel, "There was not a finer man anywhere than Captain Herb. There wasn't a thing in the world that he wouldn't do to help anyone. That was just the way he was."


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