The all-volunteer Friends of the Kit Jones Steering Committee is made up of an amazing team of passionate individuals (and also former Captains & crew) who want to see history preserved and this coastal Georgia treasure saved!
Steering Committee Members - Friends of the Kit Jones
Maxine Upson Woolsey – Oxford, MS Our “Mississippi Caretaker of the Kit”. Maxine was married to former Captain of the Kit Jones, James R. (Bob) Woolsey. She crewed on the Kit and assisted him in many Geology and Engineering projects (usually Marine related) in the US and overseas. Hearing stories about, and being on the Kit during sampling, drilling, coring, seismic, and robotic operations gave her first-hand insight to activities onboard. Being aboard during maintenance gave insight as to things requiring attention below deck.
She was educated at the University of Georgia and holds a BS Degree in Biology/Education.
Maxine has worked for the USDA Stored Products Insects Laboratory, Savannah, GA; as Office Manager for Baker Yachts - the first exclusive sailboat marina in Savannah, GA; the Oxford Mississippi Public School System, as well as the School Board in Oxford, MS. ‘Having a very practical mind and being good at working through challenges in life as well as engineering prepared me for the adventures encountered while being married to a world renowned Geologist/Engineer. Living with Bob and being an integral part of his life during the Kit Jones era prepared me for becoming the caretaker of her during the time of preparation for transport from Biloxi, MS to Darien, GA. The Kit Jones has endured so many amazing iterations and served so
many people and projects throughout her life. I look forward to what the future brings.’
Dorothy O’Niell – Athens, GA Dorothy worked alongside her husband Walter O'Niell as Kit Jones crew and scientific staff between 1986-1992 while employed by the Mississippi Mineral Resources Institute, University of Mississippi. Dorothy has spent several years working to garner support for the rescue and restoration of the Kit and is our ‘resident historian’ for the vessel. Her education includes an AB in accounting from Duke University and an MS in Geology from the University of Mississippi. Moving in 1992 to work at the University of Georgia, she worked as a grants writer and research coordinator for the Center for Applied Isotope Studies until retiring in 2017.
Aimee G. Gaddis - Townsend, GA Aimee is our local McIntosh Biologist/Historian and Sapelo expert. She recently retired from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources /Coastal Resource Division (DNR/ CRD) to serve as an Environmental Studies teacher. Previously she was the Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve (SINERR) Stewardship Coordinator, 2002-2016, Marine Technician III, aboard the R/V Anna, Ecological Marine Survey Team, and also worked for the UGA Marine Extension Service, as Research Technician III, 1999-2002
Her education includes; B.A. Liberal Arts - Georgia College, Milledgeville, GA, Graduate coursework in Biology, GA College & State University, Milledgeville, GA, Graduate course work in Education, Armstrong Atlantic University, Savannah, GA
Her expertise includes: Comprehensive knowledge of Sapelo Island’s upland & aquatic habitat, ecological dynamics and cultural / historical resources, and has been published in numerous periodicals and technical papers; Boat Georgia Safety Certified, U.S. Coast Guard and GA DNR, adept with numerous GIS Software and Hardware, DNR Garmin software, as well as Microsoft Operating Systems & software.
Aimee is experienced in trailing, launching and operating vessels <25’, knowledgeable of Coastal Georgia’s inland waterways and USCG navigational aids, and is also PADI Open Water Diver Certified
Davis & Laurie Poole - Darien, GA Davis and Laurie have been a ‘tag team’ for 30+ years, and active in McIntosh County for many of those! Davis’ grandfather was the barber in Darien through the 1970’s, who, in 1960, established a ‘fish camp’ on ‘little Rock Island’ across from Doboy Island. The family has been returning to the island and McIntosh ever since.
Davis is President of Sales & Marketing with M.C. Appliance, Woodstock, GA & Chicago, IL, and previously worked for Home Depot, Atlanta, GA for 23 years. He is a highly skilled, collaborative leader who excels in motivating teams to achieve aggressive goals and objectives. He executed more than 12,000 projects to successful close; representing an investment of over $1B in capital spend. Davis is an excellent communicator with an extensive track record of construction project management; a creative, analytical ‘out of the box’ thinker developing new and better processes for business. Proven track record of saving millions through consolidation of resources and scalable solutions.
Laurie has been a professional photographer for more than two decades and owns A Passing Glance Photography, specializing in food, portraiture and commercial photography.
Both were educated at the Florida Institute of Technology, Jensen Beach, FL; Davis for Oceanographic Technology, and Environmental Science with a focus on Aquaculture, Laurie for Photographic Technology. They have a strong sense of giving back, and have volunteered with the non-profit, McIntosh Rod & Gun Club in Darien, GA since 2006. Founded in 1960, it serves the maritime community as stewards of the waterfront at Blue & Hall Marina. Together, Davis & Laurie rallied volunteers and organized fundraisers to help re-build the location after a tornado devastated the facility in 2008. They administrated through reconstruction process, and grand Re-Opening Event, and continue to improve and expand the facility today. He has worked diligently with the DNR and local authorities to procure over $500K of funding and materials to rebuild and improve Blue & Hall Marina. Together they have helped increase club membership from 125 to 400+. She also volunteers with the non-profit, Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, and also the GA Aquarium since 2013.
Buddy Sullivan - Richmond Hill, GA Noted Author & Historian Buddy is a native of Savannah and McIntosh County, Georgia, with generational roots in Charleston, S.C. going back to the 1700s. Sullivan spent his youth and adolescence "messing about" boats and bateaux amid the salt marshes, tidal mudflats, creeks, rivers and sounds of the Georgia coast, an exposure that played a major role in his lifelong interest in local and regional history. A graduate of LaGrange College, Sullivan spent 16 years as a professional sports writer for several daily newspapers in Georgia and Florida, covering primarily Southeastern Conference college football with his main "beat" being the University of Georgia Bulldogs from 1968-1984 during the Coach Vince Dooley heyday years. Later, as editor of his hometown Darien News for nine years (1984-1993) he began his historical research and writing in earnest with Early Days on the Georgia Tidewater being his first major work, the first edition of which was published in 1990, followed by five subsequent, updated and expanded, editions.
Sullivan served as Director of the Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve from 1993 to 2013. He served on the Board of Curators of the Georgia Historical Society from 1996 to 2007 and has been president of the Lower Altamaha Historical Society (Darien) and the Richmond Hill Historical Society. Sullivan is currently serving as the Senior Historian of the Coastal GA Historical Society, St.; Simons Island, president of the Lower Altamaha Historical Society, and he is a member of the GA Historical Society, the United States Naval Institute and the Savannah Council of the Navy League of the United States.
Among his awards and honors Sullivan was awarded the Governor's Medal in the Humanities by the Georgia Humanities Council (2005), the Lilla M. Hawes Award for the outstanding book on Georgia history (2001) from the Georgia Historical Society, the National History Award Medal from the Daughters of the American Revolution (2000) and the Sarah Nichols Pinckney Volunteer of the Year Award from the Georgia Historical Society (2010).