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Sandersville Scene.

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contents

sandersville scene

Established 2008 Volume 7 No. 1

Features

Publisher Keith Barlow

8 E d i to r

Trees of Hope Sawmill Ministry Building an earthly home with Heavenly hope

N A T A L I E D AV I S

16 Restoration Writers

Washington EMC and the worst ice storm in 30 years

j o n at h a n j ac ks o n

24 Life-long passion A dv e r t i s i n g S a l e s

Tennille Fine Arts Club joins tradition and the arts

a m y b u d ry s BRANDI KITTLE tara peters

C i rc u l at i o n D i r e c t o r

30 Derby Day hoping to tie two clubs together along with big hats, cocktails and a love of horses

M i c h a e l E va n s

Graphic Designers G E O RG E W I L L I A M S

36 Filling a community need Empty Stocking Fund fills children’s needs year-round

Theresa Willis

In Every Issue

Sandersville Scene magazine is published by The Union-Recorder four times a year at 165 Garrett Way, Milledgeville, GA 31061 For more information on submitting stories or to advertise in Sandersville Scene, call (478) 453-1430

4.Sandersville Scene

6 Editor’s Note 22 Worship Guide 40 Arts & Entertainment 42 Photo Galleries


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N

early six years ago we launched Sandersville Scene with the goal of highlighting the people and places of Washington County. What began as our biannual magazine has now spread its wings; we’ve expanded our reach by sharing local stories through four publications a year. On the pages of this edition of Sandersville Scene, writer Jonathan Jackson shares details on the Tennille Fine Arts Club and how each generation of club members spreads a passion for the arts to all ages. Also in this issue find out how the Trees of Hope ministry is building a commitment to giving back piece by piece by helping a local family get back on its feet. See how another non-profit, the Empty Stocking Fund, is helping fill children’s needs all year-round. In recent weeks Washington County and all of Central Georgia have been hit with their fair share of challenging weather conditions. Power and water outages, downed trees weighted with ice and debris were all too familiar signs for many in the area. Through it all, working long, tiring 16-hours days, employees of Washington EMC made getting the lights turned on their primary focus. Washington EMC President and CEO Wendy Sellers shares how they did it and all about the dedicated volunteers who supported and assisted during those long days in the ice storm’s aftermath in this edition as well. We know that all of us appreciate their hard work and high level of employee dedication. And now that the snow and ice are cleared it’s time to dust off those big hats and head to the races as the Washington County Concert Association and the Sandersville Music Club team for a Kentucky Derby-themed affair. Find out all the details on the event in this issue as well. We certainly hope you enjoy this issue of Sandersville Scene and we always love to hear your feedback. Drop us a line and tell us what you think of this issue and what stories you think we should feature in upcoming issues as well. Email ndavis@unionrecorder.com.

N

atalie

6.Sandersville Scene

MANAGING EDITOR


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SAWMILL MINISTRY Building an earthly home with Heavenly hope BY JONATHAN JACKSON

L

arry Avant is a self-professed piddler. Though retired, you’ll rarely find him still; instead he’ll most likely be spending a lot of time in the truck with one or both of his small dogs. They are his foremen while he works alongside Al Denton and any number of volunteers as they build a new home for a family who needs a place to live. The house is nearly finished. Rough cut lumber that came off of one of two sawmills nearby covers the walls, ceilings and exterior of the twostory house. A red tin roof sits atop the house while inside, Avant, Denton, members of the family and others work to create a livable space with no holes in the roof, good insulation and


10.Sandersville Scene


best of all, a fresh start. Saturdays, Avant said family members have been Trees of Hope Sawmill Ministry came about as alongside workers and volunteers in constructing Avant approached Denton about a vision he had the home. for using his sawmill equipment to help people. “They are right there working hard as we are His goal was to help people who did not have a every time we go out there to work,” Avant says. habitable place to call home. He had a skill in “They are proud of this house.” cutting lumber from freshly cut trees, most of them Since clearing space for the home in late southern yellow pines. His desire was to put that 2012, Saturdays have become workdays. Avant skill to work and as he discussed it with Denton, and Denton are never surprised when volunteers the ministry took root. show up to work on the house. They’re The pair started brainstorming not surprised when needs arise Though ways to make the vision a and are quickly fulfilled reality. Avant had the either. The old structure still a few months away, a ability to cut the lumthat was removed ber and had more big reveal is coming to Deepstep as from the site was trees than he could sided with use right away. a group of men who feel a call to help asbestos. He knew he Remarkably, could put those put the finishing touches on a new home Avant says, the boards to good state gave them use. guidelines and the built with dedication, compassion and They decided to owners were able approach a local to safely remove the rough cut lumber from donated outreach organization siding with state for assistance, and approval. trees, filled with hope. through Oconee Outreach “We have overcome Opportunity the ministry got its obstacles along the way,” start. Now operating under OOO as Avant says. “We are building this an offshoot, the ministry will soon have its own house the old-fashioned way, and logs started independent status. showing up at the sawmill when it came time to “We are working now to get our own taxstart.” exempt status,” Denton says. “It won’t be much The first sawmill, in a field near the home, longer.” uses hydraulics and gas powered engines to cut Their first project was to build a house. Avant some of the largest trees into long rectangular contacted the family and they began working blocks of wood. Avant saw he could use a smalltogether on the build. Working primarily on er mill, and in a short period of time, his brother

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donated a new mill to the effort. Just like the mill came to the ministry through providence, so have the donations that fund their efforts. “Whenever we’ve had to buy anything, the money has been there,” Denton says. Money, supplies and trees have all appeared and the group has very little money invested in the house. Using the rough cut lumber, knotty pine walls with beautiful wood grains are mirrored with pine ceilings. Tongue and groove floors will be installed to cover the thick subfloor, also constructed of rough-cut pine. The exterior of the house is rough pine and the rustic look of the house is inviting, recalling the charm of a mountain cabin. Word about the project has traveled throughout Washington County and Avant says the board that oversees the ministry is already looking ahead at other projects. “We will be supplying the lumber for a summer project of the Sandersville First Church of the Nazarene as they build a new building for WACO Care and Share,” Avant says. One of the most useful tools the ministry enjoys is the presence of volunteers. Avant says those Saturday workdays are staffed by whoever shows up. Sometimes, he says, building can even be a stress-reliever. “We’ve got nail guns, but if you want to drive nails with a hammer, that’s all right with us,” he says. Denton says they recruit fresh volunteers when they can to keep from wearing out the regulars. No skill is needed. “If anyone has some time — even just a couple of hours — we would appreciate any help,” Denton says. The return, Avant says, is abundant, though the work can exact some brainpower in the planning stage. “It has been a blessing to every one of us who have worked there,” he says. “If you ever start something like this, you’ll have

12.Sandersville Scene

to do a lot of thinking before you even get started.” Recently, Avant and Denton spoke at a brotherhood event at the Nazarene church and challenged retirees to help with the ministry. Avant shared an exchange that resulted in a new volunteer. “We’ve had one worker who has been working with us,” Avant says. “I asked him if he had been working hard that week and he said, ‘Yes, sir. I have been doing a lot of mechanic work. I’ve been putting a rear-end in a recliner all week’.” That camaraderie and good-natured joking is common and is the kind of joy that can’t keep from escaping as volunteers work to make a livable space for someone who needs it. Those uplifting feelings are enhanced with every nail, wire and board that goes into this labor of love. Avant’s signature diamond shaped vent, visible beneath each gable on either end of the house, is a mark of the ministry and his involvement. He feels good about the work and good about the ministry. What he and Denton would both like to see is the idea spread to other communities and to see even more workers help finish the house. “We hope to get the family moved in this summer,” he says. “I think it is going to be a nice place for the family to live.” To volunteer call Avant at 478-232-7541. The need for help is always there and is always accepted. “We accept trees, manpower and money,” Denton says. Both men agree that the ministry has filled them with gladness at the thought of helping others. “It’s has been a joy for me,” Avant says. “I used to deer hunt all the time, but now, I’d rather be working on the house than hunting deer. If you come and work there, I promise you it will be the biggest blessing you’ll ever receive.”


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Restora Washington EMC and the worst ice storm in 30 years By JONATHAN JACKSON Photos By BILL DURDEN

16.Sandersville Scene


t didn't come as a surprise, and line crews, managers and all manner of employees of Washington Electric Membership Corporation were certainly well stocked and prepared. The wait for what would be the worst ice storm in more than 30 years was filled with suspense as all EMC workers steeled themselves for what was about to visit their service area, their territory and their homes. One of many electric co-ops across the state of Georgia, Washington EMC has subscribers in 10 different counties and is a non-profit, member-owned entity. Though separate in operation, that vast network of cooperatives provides a pool of resources that are always there when needed. Three counties in Washington EMC's coverage area were among the hardest hit in Georgia by the Valentine's Day storm, Ice Storm Pax as it is known, that crippled much of the state for two days and left thousands in the dark. Their one goal: Restoration. Washington EMC President and CEO Wendy Sellers said the company exercised an ever-present cando resolve to get the lights on in customer homes and businesses. That resolve resulted in the rebuild of connections and lines, an aspect many overlook when they think about what it is linemen actually do. “This is a construction-intense business,” Sellers says. “Our line crews have to rebuild what was damaged.” In a storm like the February’s, that damage can be, and was, extensive. Sellers says crews filled their tanks with gas and stocked up on needed material ahead of the storm and were ready to roll out when the first outage reports came in on that Wednesday, Feb. 12 morning. “We started responding to calls Wednesday morning,” she says, though the highest priority areas often aren't immediately obvious. "The hardest part of plac-

I

ation

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ing priority is knowing the extent and where the damage is. Response time is based on that damage." As the ice continued to fall, ice-encrusted limbs grew heavy and started leaning on lines. Lines themselves grew heavy and started to drop. With just a few outages reported that morning, the number quickly grew. "By 2 p.m. that day, we had more than 12,300 customers without power," Sellers says. "It [the storm] hit in a hurry. When ice gets that thick, it gets bad quickly. Our crews were working against the elements." Sellers said that Wednesday was the worst day. As soon as one line was built, another one went down. At the storm's highest wail, 12,895 of Washington EMC's 15,300 connections were reported out. Nightfall came Wednesday as did more precipitation. Surreal silence replaced low hums and noises generated by electricity, but taken for granted. All around cracking limbs and sighing trees punctuated the silence. Thursday brought more with it than a quick thaw as progress began to be evidenced in earnest. "Thursday, efforts to restore power became more beneficial," Sellers says. It was quickly evident that the company would need reinforcement. Sellers says Washington EMC made the call to bring in relief. With membership corporations across the state, crews are always ready to dispatch to other locations. Those crews and contracted crews started arriving the same day and got to work. Over the next few days, power was restored. The area was host to bucket trucks and line crews that removed trees, replaced blown transformers and repaired lines downed by the ice. Power was restored to all 12,895 customers quickly. “All our customers were restored by the end of the day on Monday,” Sellers said. “We didn’t release the crews until Tuesday, and throughout the storm Washington EMC worked every day at full capacity until everyone was restored. We really have some fantastic people here.”

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With line crews working 16-hour days, logistics issues were handled by employees at Washington EMC. Visiting crews working in the residual wet conditions left by the ice storm needed laundry services, but working through all daylight hours and into the night, seldom had time to visit laundromats. “Crews were instructed to leave their laundry, and lots of the ladies at EMC washed their clothes for them,” Sellers says. “We had food delivery going out to crews working on lines so they didn’t have to take valuable time to get to and from restaurants. It was a truly concerted effort.” Hotel space was also at a premium during the storm and when rooms were hard to come by, employees and members stepped up. Sellers says many members hosted line crews in cabins and rental houses they own to allow the crews places to sleep during the storm recovery. “I can say there is not a single person here at Washington EMC who doesn’t jump up and take on a job to serve our customers,” she says. “It is very much a family atmosphere.” In all, 46 crews from Georgia, Florida, Mississippi and Alabama in addition to the full capacity of Washington EMC crews joined in the effort. Sellers credits them all for

20.Sandersville Scene

their response in an incredible call to action. Washington EMC serves 15,300 customers in 10 counties including Washington, Emanuel, Glascock, Baldwin, Wilkinson, Hancock, Laurens, Warren, Johnson and Jefferson. The Georgia EMC resource pool is vast, and when not facing its own dire circumstances, Washington EMC is part of that pool. A reminder of that came just after the restoration in the Washington EMC service area was completed. “We sent a crew to Millen just after we finished here,” Sellers says. “We all reciprocate for each other.”


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WHERE WE WORSHIP Harrison Springs Baptist Church 127 Mills St. Harrison, GA 31035 (478) 552-8967 Bay Springs Baptist Church 319 Bay Springs Road Sandersville, GA 31082 (478) 552-3545 Bold Spring Baptist Church 3177 Poole Road Sandersville, GA 31082 (478) 552-0464 Camp Spring Baptist Church 9919 Old Savannah Road Sandersville, GA 31082 (478) 552-8511 Church Of Christ 101 E 2nd Ave. Sandersville, GA 31082 (478) 552-0356 Church Of The Nazarene 619 S Harris St. Sandersville, GA 31082 (478) 552-5300 Deepstep United Methodist Church 9744 Deepstep Road Sandersville, GA 31082 (478) 552-6825 Deliverance Center Of Jesus Christ 401 Hall St. Sandersville, GA 31082 (478) 552-1030 Faith Temple Holiness Church 334 Railroad Ave. Sandersville, GA 31082 (478) 552-8965 First Baptist Church 316 Mathis Lane Sandersville, GA 31082 (478) 552-2371 First Christian Church of Sandersville 166 E Church St. Sandersville, GA 31082 (478) 552-3495

First Presbyterian Church Of Sandersville 521 N Harris St. Sandersville, GA 31082 (478) 552-1842 First Southern Methodist Church 5998 Ga. Highway 24 West Sandersville, GA 31082 (478) 552-5442 Gardner Church of God & Christ 450 Grand St. Sandersville, GA 31082 (478) 553-0331 Gideons International 118 S Smith St. Sandersville, GA 31082 (478) 552-5075 Gordy Grove Church of God In Christ 10466 Ga. Highway 272 Sandersville, GA 31082 (478) 240-0092 Grace Episcopal Church 114 E 2nd Ave. Sandersville, GA 31082 (478) 552-5295 Green Grove Baptist Church 5030 Highway 242 Sandersville, GA 31082 (478) 552-0260 Jehovah's Witnesses Kingdom Hall of Sandersville 1567 Ridge Road Sandersville, GA 31082 (478) 552-6789 Kendall Heights Church Of God 829 Jordan Mill Road Sandersville, GA 31082 (478) 552-5483 Mount Zion A.M.E. Church 379 Suburban Drive Sandersville, GA 31082 (478) 348-6514

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New Baptist Church 941 Yank Brown Road Sandersville, GA 31082 (478) 553-0515 Oak Grove Missionary Baptist Church 45 Oak Grove Road Sandersville, GA 31082 (478) 552-0330 Pine Hill Baptist Church P.O. Box 6014 Sandersville, GA 31082 (478) 348-5223 Poplar Springs Baptist Church 14139 Ga. Highway 24 West Sandersville, GA 31082 (478) 552-7450 Poplar Springs Christian Church 13580 Ga. Highway 24 West Sandersville, GA 31082 (478) 552-4747 Ridgeland Heights Baptist Church 305 Ridgeland Drive Sandersville, GA 31082 (478) 552-3171 Robin Springs Baptist Church 3178 Deepstep Road Sandersville, GA 31082 (478) 552-5612 Saint Galilee Holy Felowship Church 613 Temple Drive Sandersville, GA 31082 (478) 552-8280 Sandersville United Methodist Church 202 W Church St. Sandersville, GA 31082 (478) 552-3374 Second Community Baptist Church 511 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. Sandersville, GA 31082 (478) 552-7738

Second Washington Baptist Association 402 Evans St. Sandersville, GA 31082 (478) 552-1313 Sisters Baptist Church 1807 E McCarty St. Sandersville, GA 31082 (478) 552-2473 Springfield Baptist Church 415 W Church St. Sandersville, GA 31082 (478) 552-5317 Saint Galilee Baptist Church 316 Augusta Ally Sandersville, GA 31082 (478) 553-9220 Saint Williams Catholic Church Sandersville, GA 31082 (478) 552-3352 Bethany Baptist Church 1132 Hartsford Road Tennille, GA 31089 (478) 552-7563 Bethesda Christian Church 2740 Buckeye Road Tennille, GA 31089 (478) 552-4166 Bethesda Christian Church 720 Hurst Road Tennille, GA 31089 (478) 552-0063 Burnett Grove A.M.E. Church 157 Hurst Road Tennille, GA 31089 (478) 553-0510

Georgia Grove Baptist Church 4574 Old Savannah Road Tennille, GA 31089 (478) 552-1605

Swint Spring Baptist Church 6623 Tennille Oconee Road Tennille, GA 31089 (478) 553-9811

Good Shepherd Church of the Nazarene 316 E South Central Ave Tennille, GA 31089 (478) 552-2424

Tennille Baptist Church SBC 203 N Main St Tennille, GA 31089 (478) 552-7350

Hubbard Chapel Church 22 Old Watermelon Road Tennille, GA 31089 (478) 864-2015 Mount Gilead Primitive Baptist Church 154 Mount Gilead Road Tennille, GA 31089 (478) 552-1013 Mount Moriah Baptist Church 1183 Mount Moriah Tennille, GA 31089 (478) 552-1942 Piney Mount United Methodist Church 3065 Old Savannah Road Tennille, GA 31089 (478) 552-5394 Samuel Grove Baptist Church 11651 Ga. Highway 68 South Tennille, GA 31089 (478) 553-9955 Smith Grove Baptist Church 3659 Tennille Harrison Road Tennille, GA 31089 (478) 553-1990

Faith Apostolic 140 Knight Lane Tennille, GA 31089 (478) 552-8911

Saint James Christian Fellowship Church 210 Chaloux Road Tennille, GA 31089 (478) 552-3451

Genesis New Life Apostolic Faith Church 4573 Grady Mertz Road Tennille, GA 31089 (478) 553-9555

Saint John Church of God And Christ 320 E. 3rd Ave. Tennille, GA 31089 (478) 240-9713

Tennille Christian Church 402 N Main St Tennille, GA 31089 (478) 552-5557 Tennille Grove Baptist Church Greta St Tennille, GA 31089 (478) 552-0083 Tennille United Methodist Church 297 W Adams St Tennille, GA 31089 (478) 552-7883 Union Hill Baptist Church 2389 Deepcut Road Tennille, GA 31089 (478) 552-9578 Victory Central Church 320 N Main St Tennille, GA 31089 (478) 553-0891 Zion Hope Baptist Church 4507 Watermelon Road Tennille, GA 31089 (478) 552-5838

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Life-long

passion

Tennille Fine Arts Club joins tradition and the arts

BY JONATHAN JACKSON

24.Sandersville Scene

During the 1930s, a group of women in Tennille banded together with a common love for the fine arts. In the decades that followed, they carried their love and passion into their community, touching the lives of those who were already admirers of the arts and helping bring more and more people into an appreciation of what the arts can do to transform a community. They did this, and in the process, have helped uncover abilities in others of all ages.


In ways formal and informal, the group has helped foster arts appreciation over the span of many years. The group’s annual art show is a fundraiser that helps support such outreach. This year's show is no exception. The promotion of the arts is nothing new to many members as they are the daughters of founding and other former members. Though the club's existence covers more than 80 years, the goals cover more than a lifetime. Mary Kaye Veal is a member of the Tennille Fine Arts Club, as was her mother. She is an active member and is an organizer of the annual art show. "We are on a mission to promote the fine arts in our community," she says. "We are a group of life-long learners focused on the arts, whether it be visual arts or literature." This year's Tennille Fine Arts Club Arts Extravaganza is titled "On Track with the Visual Arts" and relates to Tennille's deep and rich history as Washington County's railroad town. Veal says that in organizing the show, the group has discovered abilities in others that might have gone overlooked if not for the show, the club and its members. "We looked at our local artists for the show," Veal says. "We also looked for hidden talents to be included with our local artists."

The result in the focus on finding new talent to include with experienced artists is around 10 artists out of the 30 who have never before been in a show. "We included a lot of students in the show, and the age of the artist does not matter," Veal says. "We have entrants from age 10 to 90." Once a hub of the town of Tennille, the former Tennille Elementary School now houses Oconee RESA, an educational support service for public schools in the


26.Sandersville Scene


region. Veal, who taught at TES, says the show can also help take the visitor back to another time. "The artists rent spots for $15 for a six foot space. We provide tables and easels, and the show just creates a festive atmosphere," she says. "It is a celebration and it feels like the school is like it used to be." First-timers in the show usually find a sense of accomplishment displaying their work. Some of it is for sale and some is just displayed. "We are thrilled when we have people enter the show and it is their first time participating in an event such as this," Veal says. "Often they are surprised someone else appreciates their art work." From 9 until 10:30 a.m., artists set up their displays. For a half an hour until the opening at 11 a.m. entrants are able to view their fellow artists' displays. "Not only is it a social time for this group, but it provides a time for people to connect and encourage each other," Veal says. "By the time the doors open to the public at 11, a festive atmosphere is in place." The show serves as the organization's central fundraiser for the year. Admission is $5. Students and children are free. The proceeds go to fund scholarships. Veal says that most scholarships fill the needs of young artists that need assistance. "We may purchase toe shoes for a dancer or provide classes or lessons or materials for a budding artist," she says. Following the show, sometime in the spring, the club meets and decides how to award scholarships. Veal says most of the time the club is able to meet most of the needs.

Meeting the needs is just another way the club advances the arts in the community. That drive was instilled in many of the members by their own mothers who were members of the club. "A lot of us are daughters of former members," Veal says. "We see what the club has done for our mothers. When we are asked to join, it is a beautiful thing." Veal describes an atmosphere of caring during events, including concerts and shows. "We had a choir from the Georgia School for the Blind perform at Christmas and they just remarked about how they could feel the warmth of the people in the club," Veal says. Now in its third year, the Tennille Fine Arts Club Arts Extravaganza "On Track with the Visual Arts" is set for Saturday, March 8 at Oconee RESA, formerly Tennille Elementary School. Students and children are admitted free. Veal has high expectations for the show and the camaraderie participants feel. "It is very gratifying to see the artists interact with people who come to the show," she says. "The artists are so appreciative of those who are interested in their talents. The opportunity for an artist to share his or her passion for art is so special. I love to stand back and watch their faces light up when someone wants to hear more about their work. That connection is the heart of this art show and the Tennille Fine Arts Club." It is the driving force behind the club itself, Veal says. "We are all a group of life-long learners. We openly embrace the arts and enjoy the aspect of what the arts can mean to someone young or old."

Sandersville Scene.27


“ 28.Sandersville Scene

This year's Tennille Fine Arts Club Arts Extravaganza is titled "On Track with the Visual Arts" and relates to Tennille's deep and rich history as Washington County's railroad town.

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Sandersville Scene.

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erby

Day

hoping to tie two clubs together along with big hats, cocktails and a love of horses BY JONATHAN JACKSON


T

wo clubs with long histories are joining forces for a fundraising event tied to one of the sporting world’s most celebrated events: The Kentucky Derby. Mint juleps, big hats, and the feel of the historic Churchill Downs will provide the backdrop for Derby Day at Four Sons Farm in Sandersville. Cocktails, a viewing of the Derby and a silent auction will all be part of the event that is set to benefit two local music groups. The Washington County Concert Association and the Sandersville Music Club will use the event to raise funds for their programming throughout the year. The event is being organized by Allen Hodges of the concert association and Kelly Atkinson of the music club. Both groups have deep roots in music and the Sandersville community and offer a wide array of benefits for patrons of the musical arts. Hodges serves as secretary/treasurer of the Concert Association and as a planner for the Derby Day. “I’m part of the steering group for the concert association,” Hodges says. “The idea originated from within the Sandersville Music Club and they decided to include the concert association.” Both groups work to offer music events and sponsor music appreciation in Washington County with the Concert Association still leading a charge for community concert opportunities 65 years after their founding. “The Association was formed in 1949 … and started as an affiliate of the Community Concert

32.Sandersville Scene

Association,” Hodges says. “When that group disbanded, the Washington County Concert Association stayed together.” Hodges says those involved from the Sandersville and Tennille areas were instrumental in keeping the group solvent. The roots of the Sandersville Music club stretch back even farther. Upon its founding in 1923, the club started a long tradition of underwriting community concerts and promoting music in the community with a focus mainly on music education for students. The club’s efforts helped yield the Sandersville High School band, numerous lessons and workshops for aspiring music students and original Broadway-style musicals. The club has coordinated to bring artists-in-residency to Sandersville and sent students to summer music camps as well as promoted and supported music program in local elementary schools to mark the annual National Music Week. Hodges says the concert association’s local concert season features three concerts that are offered throughout the season. The offerings started as predominately classical, but have since expanded to offer something everyone can appreciate. “We try our best to bring in acts with national and regional draw,” Hodges says. “Members join and get access to the concerts and we use donations and fundraisers to fund the concerts.” Derby Day is set for May 3, the day of the Kentucky Derby. The goal is to import a little of Louisville (Loo-ah-ville) into Washington


Sandersville Scene.

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34.Sandersville Scene


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County while raising funds for outreach. The group is active on social media and operates a Facebook page where Hodges says is the best source of information about the association. It’s also the easiest way to contact members of the Washington County Concert Association. Concert season runs from September to May. The Roys played a concert as part of the series in September 2013. The bluegrass brother and sister duo are based in Nashville and have enjoyed success in the acoustic music world. The next show in February 2014 was a multimedia sampling of jazz standards from pianist Jesse Lynch. The show, Jesse Lynch Jazz 101, was well received at the home of most association events in the auditorium at Washington County High School. The final show of the season, set for April, will feature the female group A Capella Couture. Admission to Washington County Concert Association comes through membership. Hodges says that membership has additional benefits. “We have a reciprocal agreement with groups in Dublin and Waynesboro so members can enjoy those concert offerings as well,” he says. “We try to work together when scheduling so we don’t duplicate events.” In the coming year, the group plans to host Nashville Live, a tribute show to country music’s biggest stars. “Broadway style shows are always popular,” Hodges says. Such broad offerings necessitate fundraisers like Derby Day to enable the group to be able to provide engaging concerts and musical events. Colorful dresses, outrageous hats, mint julep cocktails and equestrian expertise will hopefully lend themselves to an environment filled with generosity and civic pride as the groups work together to support the arts in Washington County. For more on Derby Day call Hodges at 478-278-4823 or Atkinson at 478232-1161. You can also search Facebook for 2014 Sandersville Derby Day. The event will be held from 5 until 8 p.m. May 3 at Four Sons Farm located at 1537 Ga. Highway 15 North in Sandersville.

35


Filling a

children’s needs year-round Empty Stocking Fund fills

community NEED

BY JONATHAN JACKSON

36.Sandersville Scene


I

magine waking as a child on Christmas morning to find that there is no gift waiting for you. There is no Christmas cheer because there is need. Organizers with the local charity the Empty Stocking Fund work throughout the year to make sure that scenario happens less and less. The team, led by Penny Grice, collects donations of money and toys throughout the year so that Santa has an easier task at hand. As an extension of the work of the Jolly Old Elf himself, Grice and other team members have helped hundreds of families make sure there are gifts at Christmas. Grice has been active with the organization for years. She says the origins of the local program lay within the Tennille Police Department. “The Empty Stocking Fund was started by the Tennille Police Department,” she says, “by a former chief of police.” The program died down but was eventually resurrected by officers in the police force. From there, it

Sandersville Scene.

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evolved to a broader range, including more civic leaders. Grice received the call several years ago and answered right away. “It was just a passion of mine to help,” she says. Grice was well known in the community through her former job with a local cable company. She was also active in civic programs and now sits on the board of directors of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce. All of those attributes led to her spearheading the program with the help of some trusted co-volunteers. “Bobby Whipple, Renee Jordan, Donna Wilcher and Charles Lee were some of the people that really helped this program through the years,” she says. The Empty Stocking Fund accepted applications through the local Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) office. When that office was closed to public access last year, word of mouth and email contact picked up and applications again made it to those in need. From there, the applications were screened and needs were prioritized. “The age and sex of the child is gathered, along with our budget,” Grice says. “Then, the shopping is done and gifts for children in the same family are grouped.”

38.Sandersville Scene


Empty Stocking volunteers shop according to each child’s specific needs. Then the gifts are gathered and grouped at a distribution point. Staging areas for the toy distribution have changed. Space at the former location of Ace Hardware was used until the hardware store moved to Malone Street downtown. Now, storage space on Hospital Road is used for the distribution. Parents who pick up gifts bring identification and a birth certificate for each child on the Empty Stocking list. “In the past few years, we’ve had a lot of help from Susan Black, David Segars and Cynthia Maddox,” Grice says. Once gifts are distributed, planning for the next year begins. Throughout the year, Grice works with individuals and local businesses that want to help the program reach as many families as possible. Annually, the program costs anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000, depending on the number of applicants and the levels of need.

“In 2012, we helped 650 children,” Grice says. While the amount of money raised stayed constant and showed slight increase in 2013, the program’s reach has been affected by the closure to the public DFCS office, the move of the distribution point, and the reduction of Grice’s visibility as a former employee of the cable company. Still, more than 250 children received Christmas gifts from Santa via the program in 2013. The Empty Stocking Fund is also there to help at times other than Christmas. “When tragedy strikes, we are sometimes able to offer assistance to someone whose child needs clothes due to a catastrophic event like a house fire,” Grice says. “We can do that throughout the year.” Donations come from a combination of businesses and individuals. Grice says the level of giving has increased in the past years and the use of fundraisers has tapered off due to the generosity of donors. “We used to do a lockup fundraiser,” Grice

says. “Participants would be ‘arrested’ until someone brought in a toy to post their bail.” In addition to the lockup, Grice says a traffic stop fundraiser with the assistance of local firefighters helped raise substantial funds as well. The need-based program is also supported by the Washington County Chamber of Commerce. “It is well-accepted, needed and deserved in Washington County,” Grice says. “I’m proud to be a part of it.” For more information or to get in touch with organizers of the Empty Stocking Fund, call Elaine Bussell at the Chamber of Commerce at 478-552-3288 or email chamber@washingtoncountyga.com. Grice says the support of organizations, business people and volunteers makes the program successful. “We get lots of help from people who want to help our community be a great place, like Joey Giddens at Geo.’s Quarters,” she says. “It is a lot of work, but it is something I feel like I need to do.” Sandersville Scene.

39


Arts & Entertainment CALENDAR

Arts & Entertainment MARCH March 1 Second annual Eagle 5K 1-Mile Fun Run and Lil Eagle Dash. Brentwood School, 725 Linton Road, Sandersville. Register online at active.com and racerpal.com. For more information email Eagle5k@hotmail.com March 8 Third annual Tennille Fine Arts Club Arts Extravaganza. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oconee RESA Building, Tennille. “On Track with the Visual Arts” featuring works by local artists. APRIL April 27 “A Cappella Couture.” Washington County Concert Association. 7:30 p.m. Washington County High School, 420 Riddleville Road. MAY May 3 Sandersville Derby Day. Proceeds benefit the Washington County Concert Association. 5 to 8 p.m. Four Sons Farm, Sandersville. Featuring the derby viewing, cocktails, traditional Kentucky fare and a silent auction. For more information call Kelly Atkinson at 478- 232-1161 or Allen Hodges 478-278-4823.

40.Sandersville Scene

Attractions Old City Cemetery First documented burial in 1831. Located on the corner of West Church Street and Virginia Avenue in Sandersville, the site is on the National Register of Historic Places for its significant Civil War history. Features federal era, Greek Revival and Victorian grave markings. Historical figures buried at the site include former Ga. Lt. Gov. Thomas W. Hardwick, world-renowned surgeon William Rawlings, Central of Georgia Railroad president Benjamin James Tarbutton, the Rev. J.D. Anthony and Coleman R. Pringle, known as the Father of Prohibition in Georgia. For more information, visit www.sandersville.net or call (478) 552-6965. Hamburg State Park With modern-day facilities amidst reminders of days gone by, Hamburg State Park offers a mix of history and outdoor recreation. Anglers can enjoy lake fishing for largemouth bass, crappie and bream, as well as boat ramps and a fishing pier. Campers will find shaded campsites along the edge of quiet Hamburg Lake fed by the Little Ogeechee River. Old Warthen Jail Visit Georgia’s Oldest Jail on state Route 15 North in Warthen. For more information, call (478) 552-3288.


Arts & Entertainment CALENDAR

Charles E. Choate Exhibit A look at the life and work of the architect and builder and the official Georgia Historical Plates Display. Washington County Chamber of Commerce, 131 W. Haynes St., Sandersville. For more information call (478) 552-3288. Brown House Museum A private residence during the Civil War where Gen. Sherman spent the night of Nov. 26, 1864, 268 N. Harris Street in Sandersville. For more information, call (478) 552-3288. Revolutionary War Park Visit the Revolutionary War Park on state Route 15 South of Tennille. For more information, call (478) 552-3288. Old Jail Museum and Genealogy Research Center Visit the Genealogy Research Center, 129 Jones Street, Sandersville. Open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call (478) 552-6965.

Sandersville Scene.

41


Sightings

Ice and snow greeted visitors to Tennille in January and February as a busy winter hit Washington County and much of the central Georgia area.

42.Sandersville Scene


A snow-covered path greets visitors to the Washington County Chamber of Commerce office in downtown Sandersville. Sandersville Scene.

43


Sightings

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Snow covers the front lawn of First Baptist Church of Sandersville during the winter snowfall.

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Advertiser Index 280 Quik Lube . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35 Beckham Fain Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34 Buddy Jordan Florist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35 Catering by J. Neil / The Country Buffet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 Citizens Bank of Washington County . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 City of Sandersville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 Dixieland Financial Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35 Enchanted Florist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 Frank Arnold . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 Geo. D. Warthen Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Geo.’s Quarters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 Georgia Military College . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .48 Halsey Dean Antiques . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 Hunting & Fishing Country . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 Ivey’s Tire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 Maricela’s Mexican Grill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 May and Smith Funeral Directors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 Moye’s Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 Norris Wheel & Brake . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 North Pointe Pharmacy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 Oconee Fall Line Technical College . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Robert Trent Jones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Quality Pawn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 Queensborough National Bank & Trust Company . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Sandersville Family Practice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Sleepy’s Package Store . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 State Farm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35 Washington County Board of Education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 WCMS Washington County Machines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Please be sure to thank the advertisers for supporting this publication!

46.Sandersville Scene


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Sandersville Scene.

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Classes Start March 27, 2014

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Q1 2014 sandersville scene  

Quarterly magazine featuring Sandersville and Washington County, Georgia.

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