MARCH 17, 2017
LEAVING A LEGACY
MORE THAN $8,000 DONATED TO 'LEARN TO SWIM' FUND
IN HONOR OF TIFTAREA YMCA'S LATE STAFFER
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
The Tiftarea YMCA's late aquatics director, who died suddenly of natural causes Feb. 12 at the age of 25, is leaving a legacy in the community.
Evann Todd Learn to Swim Memorial Fund
has already generated more than
children to be safe in the water. The fund was created by the local Y with help from Todd's parents.
"We've been blessed," said
Darian Peavy, CEO of the
Tiftarea YMCA. "She (Todd) was special; she did an awesome job."
Todd had been with the
Tiftarea Y for a year. The
Waycross native had come from the staff of the
Childers Family YMCA in
Waycross where she began her Y affiliation at age
"Waycross partnered with us" on establishing the fund, Peavy said. The
CEO of the
Waycross YMCA, unbeknownst to Peavy, sent an email to
17 other Georgia
YMCA's about the fund, and about a dozen responded with
"The YMCAs are a
close-knit group," Peavy said.
Contributions also began arriving from
out of state. A donation came in from
California with a personal note; the sender said he didn't know
Evann personally but had seen her YMCA efforts on
Y of the USA in
Chicago, which is over all the YMCAs in the nation, sent a
contribution, saying they had recognized Todd's
passion when talking with her on the phone as she sought grants for
"It's been amazing how this thing has grown,"
While with the Waycross YMCA, Todd had worked as a camp counselor and camp athletic director, a lifeguard, and had served as interim aquatics director. In Tifton, she was especially passionate about the Tiftarea YMCA's exercise program for cancer survivors through the Livestrong Foundation and the
"Learn to Swim" pilot program.
Peavy said the Y has a grant to give water safety lessons to students at
Annie Belle Clark Primary School. "Our goal is to ultimately reach all
second-graders," Peavy said. And he added that
the Tiftarea Y was just notified that it is receiving a grant to offer swimming lessons to 100 underprivileged youths of all ages between April and November.
While the small staff at the
Tiftarea Y is still
emotional about the
loss of Todd, it must move on and seek an
aquatics director. But
Evann Todd's legacy will continue at the Y, said its development director
Penelope Shoniker. She said the
"Learn to Swim" program will help
"save the lives" of children for many days to come.
Chamber Chairman Tyron Spearman, center, presents a plaque to the seniors on Tift County High's state championship basketball team. Head Coach Eric Holland is at right.
COMMUNITY HONORS TIFT HIGH STATE CHAMPS
Tift County High School boys
basketball team for winning the
Class 7A state championship.
Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce membership meeting, the teams five seniors and Head Coach
Eric Holland were recognized with a plaque. Holland praised the community's support, praised the team and said the seniors all had A's and B's and had been accepted to colleges.
Thursday, the team, coaches and cheerleaders had a
victory parade that began and ended at the
Tifton Mall, where a short ceremony followed.
Tift County High won its third state
basketball championship on
Norcross High at
A LIVING LEGEND
TIFTON NATIVE COL. RALPH PUCKETT PUBLISHES MEMOIR
Retired Army Col.
Ralph Puckett, 90, a
Tifton native and
U.S. Army Ranger living legend, has just published his second book,
"Ranger," a memoir of his days
growing up in
Tifton to his
meritorious service in
Vietnam -- and life beyond.
Nov. 25, 1950, during one of the
toughest battles of the
Korean War, the
Eighth Army Ranger Company seized and held a strategically important hill overlooking the Chongchon River. Separated by more than a mile from the nearest friendly unit,
51 soldiers fought
several hundred Chinese attackers. Their commander, Lt.
Ralph Puckett, was
wounded three times before he was evacuated. For his actions, he received the country's second-highest award for courage on the battlefield -- the
Distinguished Service Cross -- and resumed active duty later that year as a
Korea, Puckett joined the newly established
U.S. Army Ranger Department, serving as an
tactical officer, and
commanding companies at
Fort Benning and in the
Ranger Mountain Camp. He went on to
lead companies in
Vietnam, train cadets at
West Point and organize military leadership courses in
Col. Ralph Puckett Leadership Award series was named for him, honoring top officers in the U.S. Army Rangers, which is the most elite and highly trained of the Army's combat forces.
Besides the Distinguished Service Cross, Puckett has also received Silver and Bronze stars, the Legion of Merit, the Purple Heart, the Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry and the Special Operations Command Medal, among others.
In 2004, Puckett was named to Tifton's Wall of Fame. He currently lives in Columbus, where he has been
named honorary colonel of the 75th Ranger Regiment headquartered at Fort Benning and remains active with the Rangers and other soldiers at Fort Benning.
ABAC PRESENTS!: ALBANY SYMPHONY
AT TCHS PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
The Albany Symphony Orchestra (ASO) performs at 3 p.m. March 26 in the Tift County High School Performing Arts Center as part of ABAC Presents! Performing Arts Series at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.
The ASO will perform with choirs from ABAC, the Southwest Civic Chorus of Americus, Georgia Southwestern State University, Middle Georgia State University, the Albany Chorale and Albany State University.
The orchestra will perform Debussy's "La Mer" (The Sea) in three movements.
In partnership with the combined choirs, the ASO will also present French choral and orchestral works including Gabriel Faure's "Cantique de Jean Racine" and Maurice Durufle's "Requiem."
The ASO was organized as the Albany Symphonette in 1965 by a group of individuals who enjoyed playing music and saw the potential for an orchestra in Albany.
The Albany Symphony Orchestra performance is supported in part by Ponder's Office Supplies. ABAC Presents! is supported in part by Georgia Council for the Arts through appropriations of the General Assembly. Georgia Council for the Arts also receives support from its partner agency, the National Endowment for the Arts.
EX PURPLE HURRICANE PRUITT NAMED
FITZGERALD'S NEW HEAD FOOTBALL COACH
Ben Hill County native
Tucker Pruitt, 31, is the new
head football coach of the
Fitzgerald High Purple Hurricanes.
He follows in the footsteps of his father, former Fitzgerald Head Coach Robby Pruitt. The younger Pruitt also had played prep football for Fitzgerald High. He most recently was offensive coordinator for the state champion Valdosta High School Wildcats.
"Ever since I got into coaching its been a goal to end up as a head coach and something I wanted to do. I never thought the first head coaching job would be at a place like Fitzgerald, my alma mater, a place where football is really big and has such great tradition," Pruitt said, as reported by WALB-TV.
SPRING REVIVAL SET AT FUMC
The community is invited to the Spring Revival at Tifton's First United Methodist Church beginning Sunday, April 2, and continuing through Wednesday, April 5. All services will be at 7 p.m. in the sanctuary.
Congregational singing and special music by various groups will be led by Angie Carr, FUMC director of
music. A children's revival will be held during the services for children ages three through first grade. A nursery will also be provided.
The preacher for the services will be Dr. D. Craig Rikard of Valdosta. Rikard is a member of the South Georgia Annual Conference and has pastored United Methodist churches in Warner Robins, Alma, McRae, Columbus, Macon and Valdosta. He holds degrees from Valdosta State, Asbury Theological Seminary and Columbia Theological Seminary.
Rikard is the author of two books, the first of which won the
Georgia Writers Association's Georgia Author of the Year in the memoir category.
He and his wife Gail have been married 43 years and live in Valdosta. They have two daughters and one granddaughter.
MAKING TIFTON 'READ ALOUD CAPITAL'
Tifton Rotary Club meeting, Rotarians were informed about the
Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence's initiative to designate
Tifton as the
"Read Aloud Capital of the World."
Tifton is already the undisputed
"Reading Capital;" the education foundation is encouraging the community to
read aloud -- adults to read to children, and children to read to their siblings and other kids.
Mike Brumby, foundation executive director, explained the importance of reading aloud to a child for the child's cognitive development.
Solomon Nixon III of
Tifton, who has been read to all his life, read some passages of a book to
In the photo above is
Nixon and Rotary President
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CHURCH HOSTS ORGAN CONCERT SUNDAY
Monica Harper Dekle,
nationally recognized musician, will give an organ concert at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 19 at
Tifton First United Methodist Church.
The concert, in
the church sanctuary, will showcase the church's recently refurbished p
Dekle is director of music and organist for Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church in Savannah.
chorusmaster of the Savannah Philharmonic Chorus in July 2014.
YMCA PLANNING TOUR de TIFTON
ANNUAL BIKE RIDE IS FUNDRAISER
Tiftarea YMCA's 8th Annual Tour de Tifton /
Ilse Boyette Memorial Charity Bike Ride will begin at
8 a.m. Saturday, April 1, at the
YMCA Hunt Park Campus, 1823 Westover Road.
There will be a beginner's
course, intermediate level
25 and 45 miles
century routes for advanced riders.
All pre-registered participants will receive a
T-shirt; event-day registrants will be eligible for T-shirts while supplies last. Participants completing either of the century courses will receive a special gift. Lunch will be provided.
Proceeds will benefit
Tiftarea YMCA programs and
underprivileged youth, and the
book fund for the
ABAC nursing students in memory of
Bike riders are invited to gather on Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. for afternoon rides to train for the Tour de Tifton.
..at a Glance
- Wild Chicken Festival, 8 a.m..-3 p.m, Downtown Fitzgerald
- Tift Yard Sale, 7 a.m..-1 p.m, Tift County Recreation Department, Tifton
- St. Patrick's Celebration, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Ga. Museum of Agriculture & Historic Village, Tifton
- "March Madness" for youth, 1 p.m., Traveler's Rest Missionary Baptist Church, 709 S. Ridge Ave.,Tifton
- Tiftarea Academy Junior/Senior Prom, Tifton
SUNDAY, MARCH 19
- Organ Concert by Dr. Monica Harper Dekle, 2 p.m., First United Methodist Church, Tifton
Michael "Mike" Clay Hickerson, 69, Tifton
Roy Emmett "Buster" Folsom, 69, Clayton
Catherine Sue Chapman Jones, 63,
Ave Cleghorn Jr., 83, Brunswick
Ervin Arrendale, 57, Dixie
Deborah Elaine Purvis Whittle, 61, Tifton
Minnie Latham Cook, 77, Sylvester
Howard Gaskins, 60, Nashville
Lonnie Mae Johnson, 54, Cordele
Wayne Goolsby, 67, Byron
L.T. "Tommy" Tate, 87, Fitzgerald
James E. Hewett, 93, Sparks
Rachel Louise Truluck O'Neal, 74, Tifton
Gene Hitt, 87, Ocilla
Marcia L. Calhoun, 85, Fitzgerald
Ellie Luke, 73, Nashville
Lanita Dixon, 60, Morven
Helen Hall, 83, Scooterville
Sherrie Shiver Kuck, 71, Sylvester
Claude Walton Patterson, 93, Sumner
Patricia Blair Solomon, 67, Sylvester
Robert Howard Bishop Sr., 90, Fitzgerald
Tharia Goff Hamon, 86, Athens
Herbert Womack, 87, Chula
Myra L. Brooks, 84, Sumner
Alton Phelps, 94, Adel
Lexia Newberne White, 95, Ashburn
Jimmy Goff, 81, Lenox
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