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Trip of a lifetime

Pickens native, 80, reaches 7th continent

PICKENS — From the time he was born, Pickens native Tom Hayes has always had an adventuresome disposition.

That roaming spirit has led him all over the world — to every U.S. state, seven Canadian provinces and three dozen countries.

But the 80-year-old’s bucket list recently got a long-awaited check mark as he celebrated his birthday with a January trip to Antarctica — the last continent he had yet to step foot on.

Though he was born in Laurens, Hayes moved to Pickens at age 6. After graduating from Pickens High School in 1957, Hayes immediately joined the Air Force, spending four of his five years in service in Germany.

As part of a mobile telecommunications team, Hayes was able to visit many European countries during his military service, kindling the desire to travel the world that eventually led to an expedition to Antarctica for a self-described “old guy who has had the good fortune to travel.”

“According to the net, being one of only 0.02 percent of

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