We've made note before of Columbia County women whose efforts have earned accolades. Plenty more continue to rise to the top.
Shaun Owen is Columbia County's 2004-05 Teacher of the Year. Her dynamic classroom style helped get the attention of judges who chose her from a distinguished group of five finalists for the prestigious post.
County school officials made a good move this year in their method of selecting the teacher of the year. Naming five finalists and announcing the winner at the annual Teacher of the Year Banquet was symbolically important, but it also cemented the fact that the winner is the best of a stellar bunch.
It helps, too, that Owen is such a gracious winner.
"I simply love to teach," Owen says. "My students are the most important thing in my life. You don't do this for the rewards by any means."
There also are no personal rewards for Evelyn Browne in the annual It's Spooky to be Hungry food drive.
Browne, along with an ever-growing horde of volunteers, each year leads the biggest single food drive benefiting Golden Harvest Food Bank. And like those volunteers, the whole thing is a labor of love.
"Hundreds of people give of themselves to make this work, and that is very inspiring to me," Browne says. "That is what has made my community my home.''
It's also helping to put her community on the map. In its 10th year, Spooky is celebrating all the attention it has received from national and regional publications, including a three-page spread in the October issue of popular Southern Living magazine. All that attention has not only put Spooky on the philanthropic map, it's helped bring in tens of thousands of dollars in donations and monetary awards, all of it going to help fight hunger in the CSRA.
It's Spooky to be Hungry has come a long way from the three co-founders and their three subdivisions in 1995. Spooky has grown to hundreds of homes and thousands of volunteers, and this year will cross the $100,000 in donations raised and 200,000 pounds in food and non-perishable items collected.
Volunteers of all ages will solicit those donations on Saturday, Oct. 23, fanning out through hundreds of neighborhoods for door-to-door collections. More business sites also are on board this year; the doors of The News-Times office in Evans will be open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. that day, accepting donations of food and money on behalf of Spooky and Golden Harvest.
We're thrilled to be able to help, and hope even more people in the community join in this year.
Also seeking donations is Marjorie Adams, the always civic-minded member of Grovetown City Council. Adams has operated a wonderful summer camp for kids every year, and now is using her organizational skills -- and her talent for keeping anyone from saying "no" to her -- to launch a community collection for troops serving in the Mideast.
Recently, Adams became concerned after seeing a letter in The News-Times from Paula Hamrick, mother of local soldier Paul Hamrick. Mrs. Hamrick, who also spent time in the Mideast as a civilian contractor, lamented that though soldiers are still fighting in Iraq, care packages have all but dried up.
As a result, Adams has set up Grovetown City Hall as a collection site for donations for soldiers during October. The troops can use brown T-shirts, cotton underwear and socks, toiletries, magazines and other such items; dropoffs are accepted during office hours at City Hall, 103 Robinson Ave. For information, call 863-4576.
Like Owen and Browne, Adams isn't doing all this for personal reward, but to help others who need it. All of us could take a lesson from their efforts.
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