As reported in The Columbia News 24 years ago Wednesday, Oct. 4, 1978.
Gena Thomas named EMT of the Year
Gena Nell Thomas, an emergency services technician with the Columbia County Ambulance Service, was chosen as Georgia's Region 10 EMT of the Year. She will be presented the award by Governor George Busbee at a ceremony in Atlanta on Friday.
Thomas was chosen in recognition of her efforts to rescue two workers who fell 40feet to the bottom of a Grovetown water tower they were working on. Thomas and another construction worker were lowered into the tower in a makeshift elevator to help Larry Robinson, of Tallapoosa, Ga., and Ronnie Champion, of Billingsly, Ala.
"I was very frightened about going up in the makeshift elevator to the top of the tower and I said a little prayer to the Lord to look after me," Thomas said.
The two rescued both men with only backboards and first-aid kits. Robinson had a badly broken leg, but Champion later died from injuries he sustained in the fall.
County lays off 35 CETA employees
Editor's note: The Comprehensive Education and Training Administration was a self-help public works initiative in the 1970s. The Board of Commissioners voted to temporarily lay off 35 Comprehensive Education and Training Administration employees in a closed meeting Tuesday, according to county personnel director Jean Hall.
CETA contracts expired Sept. 30 and Congress has until Oct. 14 to vote on renewing the program. Hall believes the program will continue and the employees will be reinstated.
The departments affected by the layoffs include the Board of Education, City of Grovetown, Health Department, County Engineer's Office, Soil Conservation and Extension Service, Waterworks Department and Harlem City Police Department.
Ambulance service director resigns
Sheriff's Deputy Tom McCoy resigned Monday from his post as director of the Columbia County Ambulance Service claiming poor health as the reason.
According to Commissioner Vince Robertson, who is in charge of the ambulance service, McCoy was "overloaded and worked to death." McCoy put in 12-14 hours a day between his jobs at the ambulance service and sheriff's office.
Jean Hall, county personnel director, was named temporary director until a new ambulance service director is appointed, hopefully within a few days, she said. The ambulance service needs a full-time supervisor, Hall added.
Haunted House planned by Jaycees
The Martinez-Evans Jaycees scheduled their annual "Halls of Horror" haunted house to open Oct. 20 on Washington Road across from Sam Solomon parking lot.
Construction has already begun on the haunted house, which is said to contain lots more electronic wizardry to produce dramatic and horrifying results.
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