The Surprising Similarities Between G Turner Howard III and Forrest Gump

Many of us have seen the movie Forrest Gump, but few have actually lived a life as diverse as the fictional character’s. Gump was known for his broad range of life experiences, from attending college in Alabama to fighting in Vietnam to becoming an award-winning athlete.

When I sit down to think about it, I realize that my life has actually been quite “Gump-like.”

All-American in Alabama

As a young boy, I began boarding at the McCallie School in Chattanooga, where I was eventually recruited by Bear Bryant to kickstart his tennis program at Alabama. I attended Tulane University on a tennis scholarship as planned, before making All-American and being inducted into their Sports Hall of Fame.

In retrospect, this was an exciting time in my life. With so many possibilities ahead, I was figuring out who I was and what made me happy for the first time.

Serving Our Country

From there, I joined the U.S. Army, where I proudly served as Lieutenant stateside and in Vietnam. Grateful to return home, I closed that chapter of my life and opened a new one with a goal in mind.

I came home to East Tennessee with the desire to make life better for my community and loved ones. So, I went back to school, where I earned my Masters and Doctoral degrees and established myself as a Presbyterian Minister for nearly 20 years.

Natural-Born Athlete

During the 60s and 70s, I played professional tennis, ranking in the top 20 of U.S. men’s singles and competing as a member of the Junior Davis Cup team 4 times at the U.S. Open.

Like Forrest, I also loved to run. I ran the Boston Marathon 3 times, finishing in the top 10% at my best and at an average of 6 minutes per mile. Having noticed a natural knack for marathon sports, I decided to compete in Masters road cycling, winning both Tennessee State and U.S. championships. To this day, my proudest cycling moment was winning bronze in the UCI World Masters Championships in Austria.

G3 Help Me and Beyond

Today, I am the proud owner and lead Personal Injury Attorney at G3 Help Me law firm. Together, my team and I have served our East Tennessee community for the past 20 years.

Many experiences in my life thus far have derived from my love of challenge and goal-oriented personality. I believe it’s those same characteristics that not only make me similar to Forrest Gump, but also allow me to thrive in the face of fear or failure.

Through it all, my beloved wife, Janie, has been my rock— my “most special friend,” as Forrest once said about Jenny.

It was with great satisfaction (and a little irony), that I finally got the chance to settle into a spot on Forrest’s famous park bench in Savannah, Georgia recently. Traveling with Janie to the place this movie was made was another great experience and a reminder of the similar path our lives have taken.

So, Knoxville, I’ll leave it up to you… Does this make me our very own Forrest Gump?

— Turner


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