“Defined by faith”
By Siena Elliott, Savannah Bullard and Mariah Thompson
Working within the four walls of his American Piping and Mill Supply warehouse is 58-year-old Andy Wilson, who has spent his life as a serviceman to his family, community and faith.
“I love Southern heritage and I love the fact that I’m Southern. But I feel like a drop of water in an ocean sometimes,” said Wilson.
Wilson believes that he lives in an era of evolution. And despite the good and bad that accompanies the overall image of the South, he does his part by exercising his service through his family, work and church.
“I can personally be courteous, I can personally care for other people, I can do little things like that but in a bigger picture, I don’t really know. But I do know that when Christ is brought into the equation, we truly become one,” said Wilson.
Born and raised in Mississippi, Wilson moved to Macon, Georgia as an adult. He has owned his company since 1994. Wilson and his wife Beth have seven children — three of them still at home.
“I love my wife; I absolutely adore her,” Wilson said. “And now I’m an old man raising three little girls again, and I can’t tell you how much fun it is. As far as putting lightness into my heart, it’s those three little girls.”
He is bothered by the blatant racism that still stains Southern streets. Wilson understands that culture is always evolving, but the anticipation for such social change is painful.
“This constant butting heads of black and white racism … I hate it. That really has been a frustrating part of the last few years for me, watching the racism play out in this town,” Wilson said.
He said his faith is what defines him. Wilson says he finds advice and comfort in the Bible and faces any decision by “taking Biblical scripture into light.”
“I’m not a big fan of religion; I’m a big fan of Christ and Christianity,” Wilson said. “A personal relationship with Christ is the most important thing in my life, period. Everything I do has to do with faith in Christ.”
Wilson has spread those ideals to other parts of the world — more specifically, Haiti. Wilson works with God of Compassion Ministries Inc. — also known as Feed the Mountain — and oversees two schools and four churches in Haiti. Since 2001 he and his wife have brought medical, educational and spiritual support to Haitians in Montagne Carree and Baradères.
“We make sure that about 300–500 kids are fed each day and have a good education,” Wilson said. “We preach the gospel — it’s very important to us to give [the Haitians] a Christian background, but also an education.”
Wilson’s philosophies are evident through his work, where he is incredibly open about his faith. He foresees passing the torch to another passionate believer when retirement comes knocking on the door. But for now Wilson says he will always be a simple Southern man who has a heart for his community and an even bigger heart for God, regardless of what unfolds in the battle for social justice.
“I would like for people to say in 10 years is that we have overcome this tremendous racial divide and yet kept the culture of the South,” Wilson said. “What I want is that racial divide to show that yeah the South has really worked through that, but it has kept the culture of loving and caring for each other.”