A coworker calls her one of Columbia County’s greatest supporters, and Friday they’re hoping the community will return the favor.
“Lunches with Love,” a cookout fundraiser, will be held from 10:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. at the Columbia County Amphitheater, behind the library in Evans, to support the family of hospitalized Board of Elections Director Debbie Marshall.
“The immediate need is to help offset the cost of eating out and traveling to and from the hospital – daily, sometimes twice a day – for the three immediate family members,” said Board of Elections Registration Coordinator Nancy Gay, who is supervising the office in Marshall’s absence.
“They live in Appling and have to drive to (the Medical College of Georgia Hospital),” she said. “It has to be a burden.”
Marshall, who has been director since 2000 and a county employee since 1984, has been hospitalized at MCG since surgery on April 9 for a brain tumor called glioblastoma. Continued treatments and long-term therapy are expected for an undetermined time, family members have said.
Friday’s cookout, with hotdog or hamburger plates available for $5 each, is the first effort at organizing support for the family.
An account also has been set up for donations at all locations of Georgia Bank and Trust, and checks can be made out to the Marshall Family Fund.
“She’s obviously going to have extended care/rehabilitation,” Gay said. “We’re looking long-term for them, but we’re just trying to come up with an immediate source of help.”
Supplies for the event have been donated by businesses, such as Coca-Cola, Kroger, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Reed Ice, Stars and Stripes Vending, Springtime Water, Waste Management, Horizon Motor Coach, Bi-Lo and Costco, Gay said, so all of the money raised at the cookout will go to the family.
Most of the volunteers for the event are county employees, Gay noted.
“They love her, and rightfully so,” she said. “She’s been with the county for 28 years, and there’s not a bigger supporter of Columbia County than Debbie.”
Many of those county employees also have donated leave time to Marshall to add to her own as her care continues, said Columbia County Administrator Scott Johnson.
The Board of Elections decided not to name an interim director in Marshall’s absence, but will re-evaluate after the July 31 elections, Johnson said.
“I anticipate the status quo until at least midsummer,” he added.