SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY - It was a hot Sunday in 1950 when a Cuban army plane was forced to land at the Laurens County Airport. For three days and over the July 4th holiday, the Cubans endured the hot heat of Georgia in July and enjoyed the warm hospitality of Dubliners while their plane was being repaired. In his haste to leave Dublin and return to Cuba, Dr. Aureliano Sanchez Arango, then the country’s Minister of Education and later Foreign Minister under President Prio Saccarras, left a thousand dollars in cash in American money and considerably more in Cuban currency, along with his passport in his room at the Fred Robert’s Hotel.
Alberta Quilchey was cleaning Dr. Sanchez’s recently vacated room when she found the minister’s valuables. She sprightly ran downstairs and reported her find to the hotel manager. The astounded manager, recognizing the urgency of the situation, jumped in his car and dashed to the airport, just in time to present the grateful leader of a group of Cubans who were returning from a vacation in the North Carolina mountains.
Arango, an attorney and college professor, was involved in the movements to overthrow Cuban President Batista, including a plot to assassinate the beleagured Cuban leader. A financial supporter of Castro before going into permanent exile in Miami, Florida, where he died in 1976.