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December 7, 2006 Issue

Firefighter will be honored with special ceremony
Thousands of santas

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Firefighter will be honored with special ceremony

• Glascock first responders worked to save one of their own, now they will be honoring Jim Pate's memory

By Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

The call that came in at 4 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 22, it was one that most fire fighters, first responders and EMTs fear, the call of a person they know, they have been personally attached to or worked with, was in need of their help; their lifesaving help.

The feeling grew even worse when they arrive on the scene to find that no matter how many times their clamped hands push on that chest, it was not enough. This one, is lost; gone from their lives forever.

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Glascock County Fire Chief Frank McGahee talked about those feelings of love lost. In remembering that moment and the man, Jim Pate, McGahee and other friends and family will hold a special ceremony for Pate’s legacy and his life.

“He was wonderful,” McGahee said. “There was no better man no where. He was really great.”

The ceremony will be held Saturday, Dec. 9, at 5 p.m. at the Glascock County Courthouse in Gibson. McGahee said during the ceremony, firefighters will present Pate’s wife, Debora, with a plaque. They have also purchased a brick to be placed in front of the courthouse and retire his number 119.

“He enjoyed helping others,” Pate’s wife said. “He was a kind and decent man. He was always there for everybody that needed any help.

That was his personality. He was a very outgoing person. Everyone just loved him.”

McGahee said a call went out over the radio early Wednesday morning telling of Pate, a person who was a friend to anyone in need, needing his friends and comrades to come to his rescue.

When first responders, fire fighters, EMTs and his doctor, Chris Sheppard, arrived, it was too late for Pate. He had left long before the rescuers could arrive at the hands of a massive heart attack.

“It was rough on all of us,” McGahee said of himself and Pate’s friends and coworkers. “We worked on him for about an hour. We did everything humanly possible, but nothing worked.”

The shock of who laid before them had just begun to set in after fighting for so long to revive Pate. McGahee said it was a dear friend on whom they were working.

“It was awful to see one of your own laying on the floor and nothing you did, did any good,” McGahee lamented. “It was rough and awful on all of us.”

Pate moved to Glascock County 16 years ago. He worked in the maintenance department at Thiele Kaolin Company Reedy Creek division. He was also a firefighter in Stapleton. Pate was a former member of the Glascock County Board of Education and was a member of the Gibson Masonic Lodge.

The funeral was Nov. 18 at 2 p.m. at Sandersville United Methodist Church with the Revs. Randall Whitaker and Mike Brown officiating. Burial was in the Davisboro City Cemetery.

Survivors include his wife, Debora G. Pate; children, Cassie P. (Clay) Prescott, Avera, and April P. (Stacy) Faglier, Stapleton; two grandchildren, Jayna Prescott and Taylor Prescott; his mother, Jane S. Pate, Sandersville; sister, Lynn P. (Brannon) Bonifay, Stuart, Fla.; and step-sons Tony Hattaway and Chris Hattaway, Gibson.

Pallbearers were Tony Kelley, Timmy Usry, David Logan, Gary Usry, John Callaway, Johnnie Crutchfield, Larry Braswell and Lee Horton. Honorary pallbearers were Thiele Reedy Creek employees and the Gibson/Glascock Fire Department.

Memorials may be made to the Gibson/Glascock Fire Department, c/o Kathy Lyons, P.O. Box 68, Gibson, GA 30810.



Thousands of santas

• The Instasis have been collecting Christmas figurines for years, now they want to share them with the public

By Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, every day of the year for the Instasis of Glascock County.

Starting with a hobby of collecting Santa Clauses and moving into a fullblown Christmas winter wonderland, Roy and Barbara Instasi Sr. and Roy Instasi Jr. have found a way to keep Christmas alive all year long.

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From Santa, to elves, to angels, Barbara and her husband and son have filled a cabin behind their house on Hobbs Road with everything Christmas of which they could think.

From snow that falls every night to trains that never tire of saying choo-choo as they run over their carefully built tracks, the Instasis thought of everything for the holiday season. The Instasis are in the third year of presenting a Christmas village beyond their wildest dreams for the citizens of Glascock County.

Though it took years to collect all the items from all over the world to create a second North Pole, the Instasis took three months to build the cabin and four weeks to fill the insides to the brim with anything related to Christmas.

“We have them from anywhere we’ve been,” Barbara said.

“We’ve been around the world,” her son added, “actually overseas for most of my life.”

From the beginning of his life, Roy Jr. knew that the holiday season and being forever young were going to be apart of it. He said his father bought him a train set for Christmas when he was five-months-old.

“I think it might have been for him,” Roy Jr. said.

Barbara has always had a special connection to Christmas. She was born on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24.

“I always felt like I got gypped at Christmas,” she said.

Though the Instasis are not originally from Glascock County, Barbara hails from Virginia and her husband, Roy Sr., is originally from Massachusetts, they found their way to Glascock County with the help of Barbara’s mother.

The family moved here to help with her sick mother, who lived in Thomson, only to lose her to a massive heart attack a few days after they closed on their house.

That was 16 years ago. In those 16 years, the Instasi house has been the keeper of all things Christmas up until a few years ago, when Barbara felt it was time to let her obsessions go, but not far, just to the back yard.

“My house outgrew my Santa Clauses,” Barbara said. “My kids would say mom you have too much noise.”

In Virginia, where the Instasis lived before relocating, Barbara said she used to display a simple Christmas village for the holidays. Now the village has turned into a metropolis with every kind of Santa and Christmas spirited figurine, toy or stuffed animal you can imagine.

Roy Jr. said that the last time he tried to tally the collection, he lost count at 1,119.

“I enjoy being in the Christmas spirit all year long,” Barbara said, adding, “Because it’s different.”

Barbara’s favorite piece sits just to the left of the entrance, a talking, rocking Santa whose white beard greets you as you enter the door.

“He is my favorite piece,” Barbara said. “My best friend in Kentucky gave it to me.”

To be the perfect piece for Barbara’s still growing collection, there is only one requirement.

“It has to be different,” Barbara said. “Something you’ve never seen before.”

But right now, Barbara said that she is running out of room for her Christmas family, unless she decides to fill her house again.

“Gosh! I’ve never seen so many Santa Clauses.”

This is a normal reaction, if there is one, which Barbara said she receives from visitors to the astonishing collections of Christmas cheer that the Instasis have been able to fit in their cabin.

Barbara and her son said that they are looking forward to visitors looking to also get in the holiday spirit. The cabin is open each night from 6 to 9 p.m. Barbara said they are also open for schools to bring little ones, who are on a first name basis with jolly, old St. Nick, to the cabin to let their imaginations run wild in the house that Christmas built.

To make arrangements, call (706) 598-2349.




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