Vidalia man keeps busy after retirement

Published 12:16 am Monday, May 12, 2008

VIDALIA — When the Dart landed on DeWitt Wyatt’s John Dale Drive home Thursday, he was taking a break from his “retirement.”

Though the self-described “laid back” Wyatt retired from International Paper after 30 years, he still keeps pretty busy with the five rental properties and the trucking business he owns.

“Between those properties and the trucking business, my time is pretty much taken up,” Wyatt said. “But with the trucking business, you’re pretty much in it for the guys who are working for you.”

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Wyatt learned much of the repair work skills he needs for his two businesses from his years at IP, where he was a general mechanic — welding, pipefitting, he did it all.

“If they wanted us to make a shaft, we put it in the lath and made it,” he said.

But his hands-on training goes back even further than that, both in time and in space.

“I was drafted on Dec. 7, 1969,” Wyatt said. “They took me, trained me in avionics and sent me on my way to Vietnam.”

While serving in Vietnam, Wyatt was part of a special 19-man platoon that didn’t see the kind of action many of the men there saw.

“It was fun and scary at times, but we weren’t out in the field like some of those guys,” Wyatt said. “Sometimes we worked out of an air-conditioned van.”

Married to Dr. Helen J. Wyatt, these days when he can get a break Wyatt likes to go fishing.

“I like to keep it slow when I can,” he said.