October 31, 2013 Issue


Foster families needed

Dear Editor:

Dear Editor: Currently, there are approximately 7,200 abused and neglected children in the foster care system of Georgia. These children need dedicated foster families to provide safe homes for them.

Georgia DHS, Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) is looking for strong, dedicated parents to provide care for children in foster care. DFCS is the state administered foster care and adoption agency that provides recruitment, training, certification and retention services to care providers.



Foster families provide temporary care for children, between the ages of 0 and 18 who have been removed from their families due to physical/ sexual/ emotional abuse, neglect or in cases where the parent is otherwise unavailable. Foster parents offer day-to-day care and guidance until the child can be reunited with his or her birth family, move to a kinship family or be placed in a permanent adoptive home. Many foster parents have the opportunity to adopt. Approximately 80 percent of foster parents end up adopting children who have been placed in their home. DFCS has county offices around the state including one each in Jefferson and Glascock to answer questions and serve the needs of foster families in Jefferson and Glascock counties. Families interested in adopting or fostering a child in their community can call 1-877-210-5437 to get additional information or talk about fostering opportunities in their area.

Linda D. Stewart
Region VIIRD Team
Multi-County SSCM

Hathaway recalls 1993 airplane crash

Nov. 1, 1993

It was a cold, clear night and a small plane took off from Augusta. There were five souls on board and the pilot had asked me the morning before if I might want to go with him to fill the sixth seat, as it would be a beautiful sight to see North Georgia Mountains with the leaves changing colors. I declined because I had promised another friend to go with him that day.

They had not been in the air long and had a major problem. The plane was going down. Augusta directed the pilot to try to make it to the nearest airport Ė Wrens. No doubt the passengers knew their fate but prayed as the pilot did his best to guide them toward that airport. Minutes later it crashed. The pilot had somehow survived and through the fire made his way to the right side of the plane towards the door that held four lives inside. As he held his arm up to shield his face burnt pieces of his clothing snagged on the briars. Despite his heroic effort he was forced to give up and walked out to a clear opening outside the woods from where he stood.

That was how it began.

Taken to the burn center in Augusta the pilot was rendered unconscious to shield him from the pain of burns over his body. His odds of surviving were slim but those of us who loved him had hope.

As Wayne was being cared for by the Angels whowork in the burn center, friends and family began to arrive and gather in the waiting room. By the next night on Tuesday we all were trying to understand what happened. As bad as it was, we still had to know. A first responder, Allen Peters, arrived and slowly and carefully explained about the call and what happened at the site as best he knew. And then through the night and following days as word got out those of us from 200 miles away and with no support system became loved and cared for by the people of Wrens and Jefferson County. For two months there were people who brought food and encouragement to us strangers. David and Lucy McTier, Wayne and Valerie Yost, Lee and Thelma Kahn, Allen and Liz Peters, Herbert and Mahala Anderson and so many more that I must apologize for not recalling the names of everyone for the true expression of Godís love that they showed to us. Wayne died on Jan. 2, 1994.

It has been 20 years now and although we donít get back to Wrens often enough there is still contact with some of the friends that we made and love dearly.

I hope this letter can in some way say what the Hall family and Connell family and others on the plane would have you to know. Not a day goes by that we donít remember the kindness and love that you showed to all of us at that tragic time. I think I speak for all of us when I say that we are truly thankful to you in this world and the next.

Jim Hathaway

Gaskin responds to Thomasí letter on gang members arrested

Mr. Thomas writes his letter as a seemingly intelligent young man yet obviously seems to be confused about the laws of this state.

The 12 accused gang members were all arrested because according to the GBI, they were a gang, committing a gang related crime, MFG they call themselves as I recall from the articles. One man lost his life, his family will forever miss his presence and another was shot and it all happened in a way that they never had the chance to try to defend themselves.

Gang violence should not be tolerated, gangs are ruining lives, families and communities and nothing good comes from getting involved in them. Gangs have been glorified in movies and music videos but we all know that isnít the reality.

The reality is that an average of over 10,000 deaths in the United States each year are gang related and it isnít just big cities anymore. Gang violence costs this country roughly $100 billion dollars per year. If people donít want to go to jail whether black, white, Asian or hispanic then they should not be committing crimes.

There is no excuse for bad behavior nor bad decisions and if you decide to go out and break the law then you deserve to be charged and do your time.

There is a statute in Georgia: Every person concerned in the commission of a crime is a party thereto. O.C.G.A. 16-2-20. Any party who did not directly commit the crime may be convicted of the crime upon proof that the crime was committed and he was a party thereto, despite the outcome of the one who directly committed the crime. O.C.G.A. 16-2-21.0a.

Have people been convicted of crimes who are innocent, of course, nothing is perfect including our justice system but we still have to have a justice system, we have to have laws and consequences. Perhaps the ones involved in this should have been more selective about who they choose to hang out with, and rather than complain about laws that you canít change, perhaps it would be better to try to change young lives before it reaches the point of them committing crimes.

I suggest Mr. Thomas be a mentor in his community when he gets out. Speak out against gang violence, stress the importance of education and hard honest work rather than committing crimes. Instead of being a burden on society, be a positive contributor to society.

I am not the type of person who accepts excuses, I have met too many people in my life who have overcome many obstacles in life and worked hard to achieve their goals. I have met single mothers with three or four children who have worked and gone to college part time, earned a degree to provide a better life for themselves and their children.

I have seen young people who grew up in foster care or who came from abusive backgrounds who have done the same. We all have a choice to either be an active participant in our lives or to sit on the sidelines looking for the easy way out and blaming everyone but ourselves.

An education is provided to everyone K-12 all you have to do is go to school and be willing to learn.

There are all types of grants out there after high school if you have the drive and desire to want better for yourself. If Wadley or Jefferson County has nothing to offer then you have a big wide world to choose from. Choices are provided to everyone, there are no color barriers when it comes to education and the right choices. It is up to the individual to decide to do the right thing and to want to have a good, decent life.

No one, regardless of color, should be excused for their bad behaviors. People are growing tired of the poor-me excuses and if more parents held their children responsible rather than making excuses for them then perhaps we would not have so many young people involved in gangs or behind prison walls. This is not to say that kids from good homes donít go bad, of course that can happen, but at least with responsible, involved parents the likelyhood of them going down the wrong road decreases.

I have read a couple of Mr. Thomasí letters in the past and I honestly hope that once he gets out that he chooses positive things for his future and his life. I hope that he can be an exception to the rule and change not only his own life but other young lives as well. Young people need positive role models, I hope that he can be one but he canít do that by making excuses for people. People have to be held accountable for their actions and as citizens we have to trust that the laws of this country are there to protect each of us.

Imagine how you would feel if it were your own mother, father, brother or sister that was a victim of this crime. I am sure if you look at it from that perspective that your feelings would not be the same.

Tamera D. Gaskin


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