Born and raised in Longs, Herb Bellamy was a member of the last class to graduate from Chestnut High School in 1970, one year before integration came to Horry County schools.
“I was hoping through my high school years that I would be able to go to an integrated school before I graduated, but the timing didn’t work out,” Bellamy said.
After graduation, Bellamy enlisted in the U.S. Army. He went to basic training, then, on to infantry training at Ft. Benning and jump school training at Ft. Bragg before being assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division.
“I volunteered for airborne training because I wanted to do something different while I was in the service,” Bellamy said.
Bellamy said he made approximately 25 training jumps during his enlistment, but was never called on to make an active jump into potentially hostile territory.
He said the time at the door just before jumping out of the airplane was the most tense for him.
“I always got butterflies in my stomach as I got to the door, but once I was in the air it was fun,” he said. “Watching the ground come up fast when you got close also took some getting used to because you could never pinpoint exactly when you were going to touch down.”
After completing his enlistment, Bellamy returned to the Longs area. He soon went to work at Horry Telephone Cooperative as an installer.
“I had a wife and child and needed a job,” Bellamy said. “I went to HTC to apply and they hired me the next week.”
Bellamy spent a total of 35 years with HTC installing phones and, later, cable as well as responding to maintenance calls.
“It was a great career,” he said. “When I got out of the service I wanted a job that would be long term and provide good benefits.”
Bellamy said he worked throughout the HTC area of the county in a time of rapid expansion for the company.
“I worked for the company during a time when it was expanding considerably,” Bellamy said. “The first 15 years was mostly just telephone installation and repair. Then we moved into cable television and we had a bunch of new installations all over again.”
Retired since December 2007, Bellamy said he now spends his spare time riding with the Carolina Knight Riders Motorcycle Club.
“I joined about 12 years ago and have been to rallies throughout the Southeast,” Bellamy said. “The club has a great group of members and we really enjoy getting out and riding whenever we can.”