THE NEWNAN TIMES-HERALD | NTHMEDIA
PRESORTED STANDARD ECRWSS U.S. POSTAGE PAID NEWNAN, GA PERMIT # 1
COMPLIMENTARY EDITION COMPLIMENTARY EDITION
NOVEMBER 18, 2020
EAT, SHOP, SAVE.
PHOTO BY VERNA FUNK
Rodney Riggs, a member of the Newnan Optimist Club and a veteran, helps coordinate the club’s “The Avenue of Flags” program.
BY REBECCA LEFTWICH firstname.lastname@example.org
or $35 a year, you can make sure the stars and stripes are flying in your yard on each patriotic holiday.The Newnan Optimist Club sponsors an ongoing program called “The Avenue of Flags,” in which club members ensure the American flag flies in the yards of participants on five holidays: Flag Day, July 4, Labor Day, Memorial Day, President’s Day and Veterans Day. A receptacle is installed in each yard to allow a 3x5 flag on a 10-foot pole to be mounted in honor of each of the holidays. Club members deliver and set up the flags, which remain for approximately a week, then take down the displays and cover the receptacles until the next holiday. The club is responsible for storing flags and poles between
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holidays, as well as replacing any flags or poles that are damaged or stolen. Rodney Riggs, an Optimist and veteran who helps coordinate the program, said residents in a number of Coweta neighborhoods already participate in “The Avenue of Flags.” “One of the tenets of Optimism is to be patriotic and to promote patriotism,” Riggs said. “This is one of our projects that promotes patriotism, and (participants) are showing their patriotism by flying the American flag.” Flags are already going up in observance of Veterans Day on Wednesday, and Riggs said it’s not too late to request a flag. For more information or to join the Optimist program, email Riggs at email@example.com .
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Newnan Optimist Club members ensure American flags are on display for five holidays
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2 — Marketplace — Wednesday, November 18, 2020
‘Home Town Echo’
Local woman finds letters from soldiers in World War II BY LAUREL HUSTER email@example.com
PHOTOS BY LAUREL HUSTER
Claudia Johnson with the first edition of the “Home Town Echo.”
MarkeTplace Published by The Newnan Times-Herald, Inc.
William W. Thomasson
laudia Johnson of Newnan recently found letters written to her mom from soldiers serving in World War II. Her mother, Ora Jean Porter Gunnin, was the editor of a wartime newsletter called “Home Town Echo.” The newsletter was published by youth at East Point Christian Church in East Point, Georgia. Johnson said the first edition of the newsletter was published in July 1944. The newsletter was sent to all the men from the church serving in World War II. The front page listed the servicemen, their branch of service, rank and whether they were serving overseas. East Point Christian Church had 107 men serving in the war at the time the first newsletter was published. Johnson said her mom married her dad, C. Olen Gunnin, in April 1943 while he was home on leave from the Army for the weekend. A year later, her mom and seven other women along with the minister, Robert O. Weaver, published the first edition of the “Home Town Echo” and sent it to the men serving all over the world.
Johnson said it was published quarterly and contained news from the church and the community. She said she had seen the “Home Town Echo” before, but hadn’t sat down to read them carefully. Johnson said she was amazed how well it was written, until she remembered that her mother had been the editor of her high school yearbook. She said she didn’t realize the significance of how much the newsletter meant to the servicemen until she found letters her mother had saved while going through old boxes. “I’m so glad I found these letters! They are treasures and remind me how thankful we should be to all our veterans,” Johnson said. “We are truly blessed to live in the United States of America. I pray that we will continue to be a free nation. God bless America!” Capt. J. H. Harkey wrote on Aug. 9, 1944, while serving in Italy that the “Home Town Echo” was as a good as any paper he’s ever read. “I know that each and every one of us in the service appreciates it and deeply HOME TOWN . 3
Marianne C. Thomasson
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Claudia Johnson’s parents, C. Olen Gunnin and Ora Jean Porter Gunnin, on their wedding day in 1943.
FROM PAGE 2
enjoy it throughout,” Harkey wrote. “I regret the sight of the horror and destruction of war and know the condition of most of Italy.” “(It) makes you realize more and more the privilege and honor of living in a free country and having the rights of free speech and religion,” Harkey added. Allen Louis Sosebee, who was serving in the Navy, said the “Home Town Echo” Claudia Johnson recently found letters was wonderful and full of news. “I didn’t know half the stuff in it,” Sose- written to her mother from soldiers serving bee wrote. “It couldn’t have a better editor in World War II. This letter was written by and staff. Just keep up the good work and Capt. J.H. Harkey while he was serving in Italy in August 1944. I know every service man of ours cannot ever thank you enough.” was on. Pvt. Carl Gaddis, who was serving in “Thanks for my copy of the ‘Home the Army overseas, said he could read the Town Echo,’” Gaddis wrote. “It was enpaper and picture the street the church joyed very much as always.”
Wednesday, November 18, 2020 — Marketplace — 3
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Volunteers from the Coweta County Water and Sewerage Authority participating in the Rivers Alive cleanup event were, left to right: front, Jazmin Gunter, Caren Comeans, event organizer Tracy Thigpen, Kim Bean, Mandy Sledd; back, Jessica Cox, Mark Carnes, Megan Webb, Clay Godfrey, Emmanuel McBurnett, Heidi Mann. Not pictured, Melissa Griffis.
BY SARAH FAY CAMPBELL email@example.com
taff of the Coweta Water and Sewerage Authority recently cleaned up over 600 pounds of trash from White Oak Creek as part of the Rivers Alive cleanup event. Twelve volunteers tackled the creek at the Whitlock Soccer Complex. In addition to the expected bottles, cans and other trash, which filled 15 bags, they found a full-sized tire with a rim, a car jack and a road reflector, said Many Sledd, chief human resources officer. “It was a lot of fun. We definitely enjoy that every year,” Sledd said. “We are always excited to participate in events aimed at keeping Coweta County’s water sources clean and beautiful.”
PHOTO COURTESY COWETA WASA
Emmanuel McBurnett grabs trash from the creek bank during the Rivers Alive cleanup.
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Russell honored by Coweta Quilts of Valor
BY REBECCA LEFTWICH firstname.lastname@example.org
e enlisted in the U.S Marine Corps on Sept. 18, 1961, and John Russell’s service to his country recently was recognized by Coweta County Quilts of Valor. Russell’s was the 599th handmade quilt presented to a veteran by the C owet a or g a n i z at ion , wh ich w a s established in 2014. It is an offshoot of the national Quilts of Valor Foundation, whose mission is “to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.” “Anybody who has been in the military and honorably discharged is entitled to receive a quilt,” said Coweta QOV member Barbara Pitkanen. Russell’s wife, Heather, accompanied him to the Oct. 24 ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park in Tyrone, where those who sewed the quilt also were recognized. Pitkanen created Russell’s quilt top a nd bound the edges, while Margaret Watson was responsible for the longarming – the stitching all over the quilt that keeps the top, middle and back together. P itka nen sa id Russell – a decorated Vietnam veteran – prepared for his quilt presentation by getting into Marine shape so he could fit into his original 1960s uniform. He also needed a shave, after wearing nonregulation facial hair for the past 50 years. “John did fit into his uniform,” Pitkanen said. “My information is that just in the (month before) he walked a total of 114.56 miles as part of his ‘getting into shape’ workout. And he did shave his facial hair, except for the moustache, which he is allowed to wear while in uniform.” Russell, who enlisted at 18 , is a recipient of the National Defense Service Medal, Armed Force s E x p e d ition a r y Me da l
PHOTO COURTESY BARBARA PITKANEN
A fit John Russell, dressed in his original 1960s uniform and sporting regulation U.S. Marine Corps facial hair, beams from underneath his Quilt of Valor.
(Cub a), V iet n a m S er v ic e Me d a l , G ood Conduct Medal, Navy Presidential Unit Citation, Rif le Marksmanship Badge, Pistol Sharpshooter B ad ge a nd the R epubl ic of Vietnam Campaign Medal (issued by the Republic of Vietnam). He tra ined a s a radio teleg raph operator at Naval Schools Command in Norfolk, Virginia, after completing QUILTS OF VALOR . 8
Wednesday, November 18, 2020 — Marketplace — 7
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8 — Marketplace — Wednesday, November 18, 2020
Our Greatest Generation A Collection of Stories from Coweta County’s WWII Veterans
PHOTO COURTESY BARBARA PITKANEN
Eleven-year-old Ava Wacker, left, joined her grandmother and fellow Coweta Quilts of Valor member Barbara Pitkanen, center, in wrapping John Russell in his quilt. At right is QOV member Pam Duncan.
The Newnan Times-Herald’s award-winning series “Our Greatest Generation” featuring over 120 local World War II veterans and their stories of survival, has been preserved in this beautiful hard-bound edition for future generations to enjoy time and again.
Makes a wonderful gift!
QUILTS OF VALOR FROM PAGE 6
basic training at Parris Island, South Carolina. He then was transferred to Communications Platoon, Headquarters and Service Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. In October 1962, Russell embarked on a six-week tour aboard the USS
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love Thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that Curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you: That you may be the children of your Father which is in Matthew 5:43-45 Heaven.”
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Boxer during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The ship was a post-World War II escort aircraft carrier that was converted into a landing platform, and in the late 1950s it was converted into a launch and recover y platform for helicopters. During the approximately two years Rus sel l ser ved i n the 2nd M a r i ne Division, he was deployed twice more in the Caribbean and visited ports of call at Puerto Rico, Guantanamo Bay, the Republic of Panama (for riot control and jungle warfare training) and the Dominican Republic. He also served in Okinawa, Japan. Russell was deployed by ship to the waters off the coast of the Republic of Vietnam and to Subic Bay Naval Base in the Philippines before returning to base in Okinawa, and he was then deployed again to Danang, Vietnam. R u s s e l l ’s a c t ive dut y w a s s up posed to end in September of 1965, but because of the need for military personnel in Vietnam, the Secretary of the Nav y extended all Nav y and Ma r ine C or ps enlistments by four months. He w a s on h i s w ay ba ck t o the Un i t e d S t a t e s w h e n h e l e a r n e d about the extension, and Russell was diverted to North Carolina to rejoin the 2nd Marine Division. He fulfilled his milita r y obligation on Ja n. 17, 1966, at the age of 22, having earned the rank of Corporal E-4.
Wednesday, November 18, 2020 — Marketplace — 9
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ach year, the Abby’s Angels Foundation helps bring awareness to the dangers of distracted driving during National Teen Driver Safety Week. This year, East Coweta High School’s Student Ambassadors helped spread the word and celebrate the life of Abby Bacho, who would have been a senior at ECHS this year. Bacho passed away at age 9 after a distracted teen driver crashed into her family’s vehicle, and the Abby’s Angels Foundation was created in her memory. East Coweta held Color Week, during which students were asked to wear a different color each day to represent an aspect of Bacho’s life. They included: • Monday – Yellow for joy • Tuesday – Red for excitement • Wednesday – Blue for faith/seriousness
• Thursday – Pink for love • Friday – Green for organ donation Motor vehicle accidents remain the leading cause of death for U.S. teenagers ages 1519, who are killed at a rate of more than six per day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It kills more teens than all other types of injury, disease or violence. National Teen Driver Safety Week challenges parents and caregivers to have conversations with their teens about the important rules they need to follow to stay safe behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. These rules address the greatest dangers for teen drivers: alcohol, inconsistent or no seat belt use, distracted and drowsy driving, speeding and number of passengers.
Wednesday, November 18, 2020 — Marketplace — 11
12 — Marketplace — Wednesday, November 18, 2020
MarkeTplace STATEPOINT CROSSWORD THEME – DOCTOR’S ORDERS ACROSS
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Wednesday, November 18, 2020 — Marketplace — 13
Local students start independent robotics team
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Dawson Pent, left, and Jacob Zawacki compete with their robot “Yokai” at a robotics competition in Tennessee.
BY LAUREL HUSTER email@example.com
fter the COVID-19 pandemic affected Jacob Zawacki and Dawson Pent’s ability to compete with the Central Education Center’s VEX Robotics team, they decided to create their own team. Zawacki, a senior at Northgate High School, and Pent, a junior at East Coweta High School, have been a part of the CEC’s robotics team for several years. Zawacki and Pent have been friends since kindergarten. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team hasn’t been able to meet or compete this fall. However, Zawacki said the coaches at the CEC gave them a strong basis in robotics. He said in February, he decided to get a kit of parts, experiment with it and work on some prototypes for fun. Zawacki said during the summer, he and Pent started building more and created a team, so they were prepared if the CEC team couldn’t compete this fall. This fall, they’ve been able to compete as an independent team with their robot “Yokai.” Zawacki said their coaches at the CEC don’t
know when they’ll be able to start back up. They competed in their first competition at the Brentwood Academy in Tennessee over Halloween weekend. Zawacki said they won the sportsmanship award, which was voted on by the volunteers and other teams. Zawacki said the game objective for the competitions this season is to put balls in goals around a field, kind of like a big game of tic-tac-toe. He said teams of two competed against other teams of two in an elimination bracket competition. Pent said they’re pretty happy with their robot and will only make a few changes before their next competition. He said previous year’s competitions have been more about how good the robot is, while this year is more focused on strategy. Pent said he’s enjoyed the freedom he and Zawacki have had to work on the robot whenever they want. They will be competing in two more competitions in Georgia soon. You can follow their team’s progress through their Instagram account @vex _95e_94999e .
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14 — Marketplace — Wednesday, November 18, 2020
Snacks, cards donated to veterans by VFW Post 2667
Members from VFW Post 2667 Auxiliary recently visited Trinka Davis Veterans Village to deliver snacks and Veterans Day cards to be distributed to every resident on Veterans Day. “Even though we cannot celebrate with them on Veterans Day to thank them for their service due to COVID-19 restrictions, we want them to have a special Veterans Day Card from VFW Post 2667 and Auxiliary to let them know we are still thinking of them,” said Janet Alford with VFW Post 2667 Auxiliary. “Little things mean a lot to them during this time, and we are happy to be able to bring them a little joy.” From left are Steven Releford, Trinka Davis, Sharon Harkins, Stephen DaValt, Janet Alford and Angela Grant.
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16 — Marketplace — Wednesday, November 18, 2020
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