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November 11, 2004 Issue

George and Betty Pennington and their granddaughter Emily salute the flag during the recent ceremony in his honor.



Honoring Our Veterans



For the complete story click here.
Pennington receives medal 51 years after his release from POW camp















Other Top Stories
How did your neighbors vote?
Citizens discuss the future of Glascock County at Where and When in 2010

Please click the above links to read the story.





Pennington receives medal 51 years after his release from POW camp

• George Pennington shares the story of his captivity, the horrors he witnessed and the memories of the men with whom he served

By Parish Howard
Editor

George Pennington remembers the boat ride home 51 years ago after having spent 28 months as a prisoner of war in Korea. He remembers an officer on that boat telling him how to go about applying for a purple heart he was entitled to for the shrapnel wounds that he'd received the day of his capture.

He remembers looking at the men around him, the soldiers he had served with who had lost their arms, legs, been blackened by flames and torn apart. He remembers his friends who didn't make it back.

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He also remembers that officer coming back to him and asking if he thought he was going to get his paperwork together for the medal.

"I just looked at him and told him, nah, I didn't figure I would," Mr. Pennington said last week. "There were so many people worse off than me. Then I guess I kind of forgot about it."

Coming home to his wife and family, to a very different life than he had lived for the past two years and three months, there were a lot of other, more important things to think about. And as the years went by, between then and now, he figures there were just more important things to remember than a medal he hadn't received.

Still, the service he gave his country and the scars left in his flesh were not forgotten.

On Sunday, Oct. 3, Mr. Pennington, was surrounded by about 200 of his friends and family at Woodland Baptist Church for a special presentation.

His capture

Not much more than a boy from rural Matthews, Ga., Pennington was only 21 years old on April 27, 1951, the day he was captured twice by enemy forces on the front lines of the Korean War.

Trained as a "tank man", he was on loan to an infantry division which was setting up a second line of defense. He had not been in the country long at that point and had not seen much action.

"Old Roy Wolf and Sullivan, and all those guys were up there," he said. "I was sort of enjoying the whole thing, to be honest."

As most of the fighting had been going on at night, and since he could see that day break wasn't far off, Pennington said he went ahead and started climbing into his sleeping bag.

It wasn't long after that Chinese soldiers started coming over the hills. Like ants, he said, they were everywhere.

"They were coming over in waves," he said. "Some of them didn't even have weapons. They were picking them up off the ground as they came."

Later, he found out that this was the Chinese Army's last major attempt to retake Seoul.

At that point Pennington had a carbine rifle that jammed between every other shot and he was surrounded by enemy troops. He fell into their hands.

"This one Chinese soldier took me and started walking me over this hill," Pennington recalled. "I figured he was going to kill me. We crossed over the top of the hill and I heard a gun shot right beside me."

Then he heard a familiar voice.

"Wolf and Sullivan were under this bush and calling for me," he said. "Wolf had shot the soldier and tried to hand me a carbine like the one I'd had earlier, the one that kept jamming. I told him, 'Don't give me that damn thing.'"

The small group of GIs were gathered together with the handful of other Americans they found in the torn and scorched "no-man's land" of the open field a little before day break. Their guns were malfunctioning and Chinese soldiers were coming at them from every direction.

"Fox company saw movement on the ground and started shelling the area," Pennington said. "I can still feel the heat from the bullets."

That's when he took his first shrapnel, a piece in his arm and a bigger piece in his left shoulder. The metal is still with him, as much a part of him today as the memory of that day and many that followed. Like those memories, the steel causes a dull ache from time to time that hasn't been healed by 50 years of rubbing.

"A lot of people were killed that day," he said. "They lost a lot more than I did. I was one of the fortunate few."

He was one of the few who was taken prisoner and not left in pieces on the field.

The march

"That first year was the hardest," Pennington said. "I don't think we lost hardly anyone after that. But that first year...it was awful."

His time in the hands of the enemy began with a three-month march zig-zagging across northern Korea towards the Manchurian border. He figures he and the others must have walked 300 miles.

"There was no clean water to drink and hardly anything to eat," he said. "Most of the guys had dysentery or were wounded or sick. We were all starving and exhausted."

Although warned against it, the prisoners would stop to drink from ditches only to find decaying bodies fouling the water a few yards up stream.

"They told us not to drink it but you'd get so thirsty you couldn't stand it," he said. "We'd get so thirsty, we were like animals thirsty for water."

He recalled once when he slipped off from the others and tried to milk a wild cow.

"Now I'd milked a cow before," he said, "but I don't believe that cow had ever had a set of hands of her before. It made such a racket I swore I'd be shot."

They also lost a lot of men to American planes that seeing large group movements, with no way of knowing they were prisoners, regularly raked the men with machine gun fire.

"They marched us during the day when it rained because the planes didn't fly when it was raining," Pennington said.

One rainy day one of the guys in line with him told Pennington that his buddy Wolf was falling behind.

"He'd been sick before we were captured and he was supposed to have left the day before," Pennington said. "I went back and he was crying and stumbling. His feet were all blistered up and he had dysentery. I threw one of his arms over my shoulder and started helping him along."

After a few miles the guards called for them all to double time it.

"At one point I asked his friend to help me," Pennington said. "They'd been together forever, through a bunch of battles, but he wouldn't help. Said he couldn't hardly hold himself up. Just when I started thinking that I was going to go down with him, that every next step was going to be my last, this Chinese soldier stepped in and took his other arm and helped. Looking back I've often wondered if he wasn't an angel."

Later Wolf was found dead on the floor of a hut in the POW camp. The dysentery had finally done him in.

"I don't know why, why he had to go through so much, to make it through so much, only to die like that," Pennington said. "You can't explain it."

The camp

"There was no barbed wire, or nothing like that," Pennington said. "For a camp, they just cleared out one end of a Korean village and moved us in. There wasn't anywhere to go. You have to remember, the Chinese were foreigners in a foreign land too. If you got away from them and the Koreans caught you they were likely to skin you alive. They'd been at war a long time, lost a lot of family members and had real hard feelings toward Americans."

Once they were in the camp, things got a little better, he said. There was still very little to eat and the winters were harsh, but the constant marching was over.

"There were worms in the rice and we ate them too. We ate out of the Chinese' garbage cans. This that I had for breakfast," he said looking down at his plate of two eggs, toast, grits and sausage, "this would have fed eight people."

The lice were awful he said, and they left huge blue marks on the prisoners where they'd drain them of blood.

There is one morning, about five months in, that he remembers crystal clearly.

"I had gone down to the creek, well they called it a river but it wasn't much bigger than Briar Creek and nothing like the Savannah," he said. "I'd gone down to the water to wash my clothes to help keep the lice down. Anyway, I was sitting there and wondering how this whole thing was going to end and if I'd ever see Jefferson County again. Well I leaned over to wash my clothes and there was this face in the water. I leaned up and looked from side to side to see who was sitting beside me. Nobody was there. I leaned back over and put my hands in the water to stir it around. It's something when you don't even recognize yourself."

It was easy to get depressed, to get down so low you couldn't dare to hope for it to ever be over.

"I'll admit I got down early on. Then one day this group of marines came through who'd been taken. One of them had had his feet blown off. Both feet gone, and they were all whistling Dixie," Pennington said. "I'll tell you I got to thinking, 'George, you've got both your feet. You've got to beat this.' And I did. I don't think I ever got to feeling sorry for myself again."

The best of the worst

At one point during that first summer in the camp Pennington made friends with his captor's Chinese cook.

"I don't know why he liked me, but he did," he said. "At one point he started giving me peanuts."

Later, Pennington began helping him by carrying things from the supply shed to the kitchen and helping himself by carrying handfulls of tea and sugar back for himself and the other POWs. He never did get caught.

One day an American GI who couldn't walk came in from another camp.

"This guy had seizures," Pennington explained. "And one night he went into one. He started shaking and one of the Chinese soldiers walked in in the middle of it. Well this guy started cursing that soldier for everything he was worth. And that soldier told him he was going to pay for it."

After they got their sick comrade off to sleep, Pennington went in to see the soldier.

"I told him that the guy was out of his head, that he didn't mean it. I told him that the guy couldn't handle the punishment they had lined up for him. It didn't matter, the soldier said. He asked me what a GI would have done if it had been a Chinese POW that had talked to him like that. Well, after a while, I asked him if I could take the man's punishment instead. I told him it didn't matter. Give me more months, whatever, just don't leave me for the Koreans. I'd even follow them back into China and serve out the punishment there if they'd just leave the man alone."

The Chinese soldier was quiet for a long time.

"Then he looked at me and said, 'Pennington, go to bed. You and your friend can go home.' A couple of months later, when I carried the guy, I can't even remember his name now, down to the truck to go home he cried and didn't want to leave me."

Going Home

Pennington's wife Betty and all of his family at home went four long months between hearing that he was reported missing and getting word that he was alive and taken prisoner.

For months short letters, closely read by his captors, were sent back and forth overseas. Some of the letters had bullet holes and burned edges where the trucks hauling them had taken fire.

"His mama and I prayed every day," Mrs. Pennington said. "There were days when she'd tell me, 'George isn't too good today.' Then there were times she'd say, 'He's fine today, he's fine.' She said she could tell how he was doing while she prayed."

Finally word came that he was coming home.

"I didn't have time to cry when I heard the news," his wife told reporters back in 1953. "I couldn't ask for a happier birthday present for George."

Within days of his birthday Pennington was loaded on a truck in his camp and from there taken to a train which carried him down and out of the mountains to what they called Freedom Village.

"One of the first things I saw when I got there was an American flag," Pennington said. "It was so beautiful. I hadn't seen one in over two years."

When he was captured, Pennington weighed around 200 pounds. At the end, when he was released, he was down to 100 pounds.

"Looking back I know what got me through it," Pennington said. "Oh, at the time I thought I was tough and had done it by myself, but I know it was Betty and Mama and those prayers. How foolish I was. It took me a long time to realize it, but I didn't walk out of there on my own."

A Purple Heart

The things he saw and the things he felt while in that foreign land have drifted in and out of his mind over the last 50 years like smoke on a battlefield. For a long time he didn't want to talk much about it. His children and grandchildren heard the stories in bits and pieces, more so in recent years than when the wounds were fresh.

It was those stories and the effect the whole experience had on her father that led Jenny Ansley to begin the process to have her father honored with a Purple Heart.

"I just thought he ought to have it," Ansley said.

The Purple Heart is awarded to soldiers who are injured or killed in battle.

"The medal itself is a great honor," Pennington said. "But it means more that one of my children is handing it to me."

Last month, in front of around 200 gathered to honor him and his service during the Korean War, George Pennington stood up and said thank you...and then he reminded all of those gathered of another local soldier who was injured during that war.

While on his long march to the prison camp he came across a friend from home, Billy Gay, a fellow soldier who had fallen on the battlefield.

"He's dead and gone, but we ain't going to forget him," Pennington said. "He gave it all."

With or without the medal Pennington remembers, and he makes sure others do as well.





How did your neighbors vote?

• The 2004 election is broken down by local precincts

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

Jefferson and Glascock voters turned out in record numbers for the Nov. 2 general election. Records show that 72.63 percent of Jefferson's 9,015 registered voters and 82.67 percent of Glascock's 1,552 registered voters turned out to make their selections for federal, state, local races, a one-percent sales tax and proposed Constitutional amendments.

An analysis of the many races is provided below while a more visually descriptive breakdown of the races is provided on page 8A.

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The Glascock vote

Glascock voters decided on local races for county commission chairman, Mill District commissioner, Edgehill school board seat, probate judge and the continuation of the county’s one-percent sales tax. The three-way race for sheriff will be decided in a runoff election Nov. 23. Jefferson voters made their decision on the District 2 and 4 commission seats.

The race for Glascock sheriff ended with a required runoff. Incumbent Democrat Bryan Bopp received 495 votes (39.04 percent), Independent Dean Couch received 428 votes (33.75 percent) and Republican James Stephens took 343 votes (27.05 percent). In the Gibson District, Bopp got 133 votes (41.30 percent), Couch received 122 votes (37.89 percent) and Stephens took 67 votes (20.81 percent). Mill District voters gave Bopp 131 votes (41.59 percent), Couch 117 votes (37.14 percent) while Stephens received 67 votes (21.27 percent). In the Mitchell District, Bopp took 88 votes (39.29 percent), Couch received 53 votes (23.66 percent) while 83 votes (37.05 percent) went to Stephens. Edgehill voters gave Couch the edge with 36 votes (45.57 percent) while Stephens received 22 votes (27.85 percent) and Bopp got 21 votes (26.58 percent). Absentee voters accounted for 122 votes (37.20 percent) for Bopp, 104 votes (31.71 percent) for Stephens and 100 votes (30.49 percent) for Couch.

The race for county commission chairman ended with newly elected Mitchell/Edgehill District Commissioner Anthony “Ant” Griswell winning by a substantial margin over Gibson District Commissioner Jay Dixon. Griswell received a total of 744 votes (63.05 percent) compared to 432 votes (36.61 percent) votes for Dixon. Gibson District voters gave Griswell 187 votes (62.33 percent) while Dixon took 113 votes (37.67 percent). Voters in the Mill District gave Griswell the edge with 165 votes (57.29 percent) compared to 123 votes (42.71 percent) for Dixon. In Mitchell, Griswell received 164 votes (78.47 percent) while Dixon took 45 votes (21.53 percent). Griswell took the Edgehill district with 47 votes (61.04 percent) compared to 29 votes (37.66 percent) for Dixon. Absentee voters also gave Griswell the nod, casting 181 votes (59.15 percent) in his favor compared to 122 votes (39.87 percent) for Dixon.

The county commission race in the Mill District was the closest of any race in the two counties. Incumbent Democrat Johnny Crutchfield won the contest by only five votes, garnering 593 votes (50.17 percent) to 588 votes (49.75 percent) for Republican challenger D’Ann Simpson. In the Gibson District, Crutchfield received 153 votes (50.50 percent) while Simpson took 150 votes (49.50 percent). Mill District voters gave Crutchfield 159 votes (52.82 percent) while 142 votes (47.18 percent) went to Simpson. Simpson took the Mitchell District with 106 votes (51.96 percent) compared to 98 votes (48.04 percent) for Crutchfield. Edgehill voters also went for Simpson, casting 37 votes (53.62 percent) compared to 32 votes (46.38 percent) for Crutchfield. Absentee votes were also tight, with Simpson taking 153 votes (50.16 percent) and Crutchfield receiving 151 votes (49.51 percent).

The Edgehill District non-partisan school board election was held to fill the unexpired term of the late Danny Milburn. In that contest, Scott Jimmy Kelley received 596 votes (54.03 percent) while Trey Franks took 506 votes (45.87 percent). Gibson District voters preferred Kelley over Franks, 156 votes (54.17 percent) to 132 (45.83 percent). In the Mill District, Franks received 140 votes (52.04 percent) while Kelley got 129 votes (47.96 percent). Kelley bested Franks in Mitchell, taking 108 votes (55.10 percent) compared to 88 votes (44.90 percent). Edgehill voters went with Kelley, giving him 42 votes (53.85 percent) while Franks took 36 votes (46.15 percent). Absentee voters also went with Kelley, providing him with 161 votes (59.19 percent) compared to 110 votes (40.44 percent) for Franks.

In the race for Glascock Probate Judge voters overwhelmingly supported the re-election of Democrat Denise Dallas, who received a total of 1,014 votes (81.58 percent) compared to 229 votes (18.42 percent) for Independent challenger Carol Price. Gibson District voters cast 259 votes (81.45 percent) for Dallas and 59 votes (18.55 percent) for Price. Mill District voters reacted similarly, giving Dallas 265 votes (84.66 percent) while 48 votes (15.34 percent) went to Price. In Mitchell, Dallas received 178 votes (82.79 percent) and Price took 37 votes (17.21 percent). Edgehill voters went for Dallas by a closer margin, giving her 52 votes (68.42 percent) compared to 24 votes (31.58 percent) for Price. Glascock’s absentee voters reaffirmed the wide margin, supplying Dallas with 260 votes (81 percent) compared to 61 votes (19 percent) for Price.

Glascock’s bid to continue the one-percent sales tax for the courthouse renovation and other projects was approved by more than a 2-1 margin. Total votes in favor of the continuation were 807 (67.08 percent) compared to 396 votes (32.92 percent) against. Gibson District voters cast 206 votes (66.67 percent) for the measure and 103 votes (33.33 percent) against it. That same margin was seen in the Mill District, where “yes” votes totaled 207 (68.09 percent) and “no” votes garnered 97 votes (31.91 percent). Mitchell District voters cast 139 votes (64.65 percent) for the continuation while 76 voters (35.35 percent) opposed it. Edgehill District voters supported the move 48 votes (64.86 percent) to 26 votes (35.14 percent). And absentee voters followed suit, casting 207 votes (68.77 percent) in favor of the continued one-percent tax compared to 94 votes (31.23 percent) opposing it.

The vote in Jefferson

In Jefferson County only two contested races were put to voters. Those included the county commission races for Districts 2 and 4. In District 2, Democratic candidate Johnny Davis received 1,080 votes (82.32 percent) to Republican Bruce “Ben” Benson’s 232 votes (17.68 percent). And in District 4, incumbent Democrat Tommy New defeated Republican John Lewis, taking 973 votes (62.98 percent) to Lewis’ 572 votes (37.02 percent).

In the District 4 race, voters in the Stapleton Crossroads precinct gave New 153 votes (61.45 percent) while Lewis took 96 votes (38.55 percent). Wrens precinct voters favored New with 36 votes (61.02 percent) to 23 votes (38.98 percent) for Lewis. District 4 voters in Louisville also gave New the nod, casting 509 votes (65.85 percent) for the incumbent compared to 264 votes (34.15 percent) for Lewis. Absentee voters followed suit, casting 275 votes (59.27 percent) for New and 189 votes (40.73 percent) for Lewis.

In the District 2 commission race, Matthews precinct voters gave Davis 95 votes (61.69 percent) compared to 59 votes (38.31 percent) for Benson. In the Wrens precinct, Davis took 271 votes (95.42 percent) compared to 13 votes (4.58 percent) for Benson. Louisville precinct voters gave Davis 511 votes (84.74 percent) while casting 92 votes (15.26 percent) for Benson. Absentee voters rounded out the evening, casting 203 votes (74.91 percent) for Davis and 68 votes (25.09 percent) for Benson.

State and federal races

Jefferson and Glascock were split on their vote for President and the U.S. Senate and House seats. Jefferson voters preferred Sen. John Kerry over President George Bush with 3,447 votes (52.71 percent) going to Kerry and 3,066 votes (46.89 percent) to Bush. Libertarian candidate Michael Badnarik received 33 votes, or 0.34 percent. In Glascock, Bush swept the county with 1,016 votes (80 percent) compared to 250 votes (19.69 percent) for Kerry and three votes (.24 percent) for Badnarik. Statewide results at press time showed 99 percent of precincts reporting in the Presidential election with Bush receiving 1,906,854 votes (58 percent) and Kerry with 1,360,815 (41.4 percent).

In the U.S. Senate race, Glascock voters supported Republican Johnny Isakson with 931 votes (80.96 percent) compared to 204 votes (17.74 percent) for Democrat Denise Majette and 15 votes (1.30 percent) for Libertarian Allen Buckley. Jefferson voters were nearly split, giving Isakson the edge with 3,048 votes (49.58 percent) to 3,027 votes (49.24 percent) to Majette. Buckley received 71 votes (1.15 percent). Statewide results, with 99 percent of precincts reporting at press time, showed Isakson with 1,856,917 votes (57.9 percent) and Majette with 1,282,671 votes (40 percent).

The 12th U.S. Congressional race results in Jefferson showed incumbent Republican Max Burns taking 3,076 votes (49.41 percent) and Democrat John Barrow receiving 3,147 votes (50.55 percent). Glascock voters demonstrated the opposite view, with Burns receiving 960 votes (79.80 percent) and Barrow garnering 243 votes (20.20 percent). Statewide results, with 99 percent of precincts reporting, showed with 113,019 votes (51.8 percent) and Burns with 105,080 votes (48.2 percent).

In the race for the 24th District state Senate seat, Glascock voters approved Republican J. Whitehead, Sr. with 822 votes (73.13 percent) compared to 302 votes (26.87 percent) for Democrat Chuck Pardue. Statewide results gave Whitehead a substantial victory with 47,203 votes (70.3 percent) compared to 19,955 votes (29.7 percent) for Pardue.

Jefferson County voters demonstrated a reversal of party preference for the 23rd District state Senate seat, supporting Democrat J. B. Powell with 3,733 votes (59.25 percent) compared to 2,566 (40.73 percent) for incumbent Republican Randy Hall. Statewide results gave Powell the edge, with 25,345 votes (50.4 percent) compared to 24,940 votes (49.6 percent) for Hall.

And in the race for the 142nd District of the state house, incumbent Democrat Jimmy Lord was supported overwhelmingly by Jefferson County voters with 4,642 votes (76.82 percent) compared to the 1,400 (23.17 percent) votes cast for Republican Stephen Cabe. Lord won handily district-wide, garnering 11,487 votes (72 percent) compared to Cabe’s 4,477 votes (28 percent).

Constitutional amendments

Two Constitutional amendments were put to Georgia voters in the general election. Both amendments passed with votes of both counties by huge margins. Glascock voters showed near unanimous support for Amendment 1, which asked if marriage should be the union of a man and woman. They cast 1,108 votes (91.27 percent) in favor of the move with 106 votes (8.73 percent) against. Jefferson voters cast 5,031 yes votes (85.31 percent) 866 votes (14.69 percent) against the measure. Proposed Amendment 2 asked if allow the state Supreme Court to answer federal court questions. Jefferson voters approved the move by 3,678 votes (69.87 percent) to 1,586 (30.13 percent). In Glascock, voters affirmed the proposal 749 votes (72.09 percent) to 290 (27.91 percent).





Citizens discuss the future of Glascock County at Where and When in 2010

• Community forum highlights economic and community development

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

Economic development and community development are crucial topics for any community in America. As for Glascock County, its citizens may well be on the way to a productive future if the nearly 100 adults and teenagers attending an Oct. 19 community forum have anything to say about it.

Gathered in the temporary courtroom for the “Where & When in 2010” community forum were county residents, representatives from Georgia Tech’s Economic Development Institute (EDI), CSRA Rural Development Center, Pure Potential facilitator Mike Bright and representatives from forum sponsors Glascock Action Partners (GAP) and Glascock County Chamber of Commerce.

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EDI’s Joy Wilkins provided residents with a large amount of varied information on Glascock County complied from multiple sources. She presented that information as a way of setting the tone for the public participation that followed. Wilkins emphasized that, in an ever-changing world, a community must set the course for its own future by examining itself, its needs and its possibilities.

“Change is inevitable,” she said. “Progress is optional.”

The forum was used as a platform to assess current conditions and issues and to consider strategic priorities that can be approached through community wide efforts, said Bright. Promoted as a true community initiative opportunity, the forum was designed to accomplish three primary goals. These included providing information relating to a variety of opportunities for Glascock, determining categories to be targeted for economic and community development and soliciting input on the selection of priority concerns from the large cross-section of residents present at the forum.

Economics and beyond

Potentials for long and short-term economic progress in Glascock and barriers to that progress were identified by the group. The barriers to be overcome included overlapping services, resistance to change and/or not accepting change, funding cuts that have eliminated services, no county administrator or the “part-time” nature of the government structure and the exclusive behavior of governmental entities (meeting on the same night at the same time but not meeting together). The one positive government factor, pertaining to a taxing authority, was identified as the school system.

After discussion of a number of potential areas for primary focus for the general area of Economic Development, residents selected City/County Government Structure as their strategic area of focus.

Far from a stand-alone category, residents felt that the overall goal was to focus on how local government processes could be improved. To that end, residents identified the goal, stating, “We will develop a government structure that delivers desirable services to the community.”

The values associated with the goal included 1)extensive recreation, 2)comprehensive non-school hour programming, 3)higher levels of medical support and responsiveness, 4)a committed focus on themes that could be accomplished through entities such as recreation or economic development boards or authorities, 5)a collaborative government structure such as one countywide structure such as one county-wide community plan, 6) creative alternatives in developing services and 7)accountability and follow-through.

Residents said they would support strategy teams in five target areas. These included communication protocols in government (among government entities and with citizens), medical/ambulance services, recreation, recapturing services the county has lost or develop a new capacity and create “one mind” in the county so all residents can take an ambassadorship role to support Glascock County.

Community development

Residents identified Youth Development as their strategic area of focus for Community Development. Intertwined in the goal are the aims to have all youth make positive choices and become productive, healthy citizens by centering on teen pregnancy prevention, high school graduation, and avoidance of alcohol, tobacco and drug use.

Current barriers to accomplishing the goal included no comprehensive after-school program, insufficient revenues and fee-based alternatives that may need to be employed even though it may stop some from participating, no satellite site provided by technical schools and PTA participation not at an optimum level (generating the assumption of weak parent involvement).

Positive factors included GED and WIA programs. Residents noted that a non-school hours community wide effort may improve the ability of families to increase high quality family time.

After discussion, residents determined the community development goal to be, “All youth will make positive choices and become productive, healthy citizens.”

Residents identified five values associated with the goal. These include 1)a comprehensive focus for all non-school hour times, summer breaks and weekends, 2)a higher coordination among youth providers such as GAP, the school system, recreation department and the faith community, 3)coordination of all facets of curriculum so that programming can support the integrated community values for youth development, 4)collaboratively implement one county wide community plan and 5)create alternatives, particularly with developing resources for services and operate through the collaborative process coordinated through GAP.

Residents agreed to support strategy teams in four target areas. These included recruiting national programs (Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Clubs, etc., to serve the county), mobilize faith-based organizations, structure one umbrella program that addresses all specific target youth groups and develop a volunteer association.

Residents interested in becoming members of strategy teams were asked to provide their names at the completion of the meeting. A significant number of residents responded, including several teenagers who remarked that they wanted to see their county experience a positive future for their parents and themselves.

Comprehensive information on the results of the forum and the ongoing efforts of strategy teams involved in the focus areas can be obtained by calling Glascock Action partners at (706) 598-0722 or Glascock County Chamber of Commerce at (706) 598-3900.


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