Distinguished Older Georgian


Jerry "Pops" Barnes

Distinguished Older Georgian 2020

Jerry "Pops" Barnes, a pioneer in the state’s senior care industry, is named the 2020 Distinguished Older Georgian.

Jerry Barnes, affectionately known as ‘Pops’ has been a very active member of CO-AGE for years!

Mr. Barnes, is being presented as the Distinguished Older Georgian, by the Georgia Council on Aging for his exemplary work in many areas of the community including initiating the concept of ‘Active Communities in Holistic Health Interventions’ which stresses that as a community we can close the gap on health disparities by helping each other stress the three levels of disease prevention namely health education, timely screening and timely follow-up.

A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Pops and his siblings were reared by their grandmother, Ms. Mary J. White, and credits her for the values instilled in them of love, hard work, honesty, integrity and treating everyone as they wanted to be treated. Pops said that one of his grandmother’s favorite sayings was, ‘Right is right and right don’t wrong nobody’; in other words, always do the right thing and treat everyone the right way. Pops lovingly says that his grandmother is the most selfless and the most altruistic person he’s ever known and she’s the one singular person that has had the most profound effect on his life.

Pops was nominated by Ms. Katie Howard, Area Agency on Aging Director of the River Valley Regional Commission in Columbus, Georgia. Pops retired from the United States Army after 20 years as a Master Sergeant E-8 as well as initiated the concept, wrote the resolution and founded the annual Veterans Day Parade in Columbus held annually every second Saturday in November.

As a registered nurse, Pops volunteered on the Columbus Regional Mobile Health Van and was one of the first nurses assigned to the Columbus Red Cross Shelter Relief Operations and has operated shelters during the flooding in Harris County in 2003, Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and was one of the first nurses to operate a shelter during Hurricane Katrina.


Because of his concern about the rising rate of diabetes in Columbus, Pops came up with and initiated free blood sugar testing at fire stations for all the citizens of Columbus, something that has never been done in any other city.

In 2010, Pops won re-election to the Columbus City Council District 1. He is married to his lovely wife Jannie Barnes, and they have eight children, ten grandchildren and one great grandchild. Because of his level of commitment and involvement in the community, Pops is known as “The Hardest Working Elected Official.”

Congratulations Mr. Jerry "Pops" Barnes - Distinguished Older Georgian 2020!