Issue 13.70 | Dec. 10, 2013
GwinnettForum.com is a twice-weekly online community commentary for exploring pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.
NORCROSS, GA., Dec. 10, 2013 -- Every now and then, often around the Christmas season, a story unfolds that warms your heart. Last week an unexpected telephone call began such an odyssey for me and The IMPACT! Group (TIG) that will allow veterans and their families to have a better Christmas.
Recently, TIG has spearheaded a collaborative effort to ensure that members of the military, veterans and their family members who live in our community, will have a happy holidays.
For the past 20 years, TIG has been the lead nonprofit agency in Gwinnett which addresses the complete spectrum of housing challenges that face the citizens of our county and surrounding communities. In early 2013, TIG recognized the difficult housing challenges facing the military, and veterans. We began to design and implement a series of housing programs and services exclusively for active military, and for veterans, and their family members. Working with other collaborative partners, the programs are now being expanded to address the challenges of employment, health, and education of this group as well.
Last week, TIG received a phone call from a donor offering 26 full size bicycles, with the stipulation that they be distributed to military and veteran families that are the focus of TIG's new military and veteran programs. It was a wonderful offer. However, there were some challenges that TIG had to overcome, primarily time and logistics.
You see, it was necessary for the bicycles to be picked up in less than 24 hours. Not only that, but they were located near the Atlanta airport. In addition, we also had to provide a secure storage location to keep them until being delivered to the appropriate recipient.
That's when the cooperation and help of Gwinnett County non-profits came into play. These agencies already have a tremendous reputation for their ability to work together to address the total needs of the community. TIG went to its playbook and pulled out a page on successful collaborations.
Immediately we called Suzy Bus at the Gwinnett Coalition Helpline and asked for assistance in finding a truck large enough for the transport. She sent us to Chuck Ferraro, with Family Promise, who had the perfect size truck. Next we got in touch with Kimberly Garrett at the Georgia National Guard in Lawrenceville, who were able to provide a secure location for temporary storage. So, in less than 24 hours, everything was finalized and the bikes were picked up. A day later, the bikes were stored in a secure location. It happened just that quickly, from the cooperation of others recognizing our plight. Amazing!
The TIG staff is now using its own client data base and working in a collaborative effort with several military and veteran support agencies to "make a list and check it twice" of those military families in the most need. Once that is finished, Santa will be joining the efforts and will make the final deliveries.
The IMPACT! Group is a 501c3 dedicated to transforming lives and strengthen communities by providing quality housing solutions. They depend on operational support from the community. Wow! Did the non-profit community come through with such great cooperation. It's a great message to provide just prior to Christmas!
DEC. 10, 2013 -- Today's comments about the IMPACT Group getting 26 bicycles is a heart-warming story for the Christmas season. Now for the story behind that story.
It involves a guy who once worked for Primerica, trained by the late Barbara King, named Len Pagano. About 20 years ago, Len began a program to make sure people were installing child seats in automobiles correctly. He chartered a foundation, founded with the assistance of Primerica, as "Safe America," in 1994, and based it in Marietta. The whole idea behind the foundation was to seek partners in corporate America and government, plus both the public and private sector, to improve the safety awareness of Americans, nationwide.
Back in 1992, the Primerica division was operating under the Traveler's Insurance umbrella, they funded Safe America's $1 million campaign to reduce infant fatalities in car crashes. While always remaining committed to the issues of injury prevention, the Foundation focused additional effort in another direction in 2001. Preparedness for a national catastrophe, whether man-made or natural, took on new meaning after 9/11, and the foundation responded.
Today its mission continues to be focusing on health and safety issues at home, work and play, and it still partners with different firms and agencies promoting a safer America. Today it has a wider history of creative results to safeguard America, from its initial "Operation Baby Buckle" campaign, stretching to boat safety, countering terrorism, and many other such causes.
Pagano has been working in recent years with Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC), a multinational consulting firm based in London. PwC focuses on audit and assurance, tax and consulting services. Additionally, in the States, PwC concentrates on 16 key industries and provides targeted services that include - but are not limited to - human resources, deals, forensics, and consulting services. They help resolve complex issues and identify opportunities for their clients.
PwC has a training program where each month it brings employees across the nation to Atlanta, and, working in teams, assembles bicycles. In talking to them recently, PwC officials asked Pagano: "How about we give the December bike shipment to you to distribute to worthy individuals?" Of course, Pagano jumped at the chance.
That's when the IMPACT Group's Merkel and Pagano got together, with the IMPACT Group getting the bicycles to distribute to veterans and their families.
What a nice story for the holidays!
It could lead to other matters. Pagano says he anticipates doing more in similar programs to be of assistance to people in the Metro Atlanta area.
For instance, Pagano, long an original thinker, is now considering setting up an online Digital Academy, to focus on the roots of journalism, to extend the idea of safety, disasters and recovery. He's already picking up key people and corporations to help in this matter. The idea is to grow the next generation of journalists trained through this program.
It's been 20 years since Len Pagano first started working on improving safety through targeting and distributing 150,000 seat belts for baby seats. And it all started through Primerica making that first donation from right here in Gwinnett. So, in a way, thanks, Primerica, today for leading to the IMPACT Group getting 26 bicycles here at Christmas, 2013.
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Editor, the Forum:
I absolutely loved reading about your military/journalism path. I completely get it! I was not in the military, but I did grow up in a town of 8,000 people. I had no idea how that closeness ~ that being in the know about everyone and everything ~ would affect me later or how I would compare everything to it down the road.
When I became a newspaper reporter, I was in a city of 40,000 which is relatively small, especially when you're mostly dealing with the powers that be. So when I moved to Atlanta, it was a real shock to the system. I went from being a biggish fish in a smallish pond to being a very small fish in a very big pond. Suddenly I didn't know anyone. I didn't know my closest neighbors much less my dry cleaner, my librarian or my Congressman. It was disconcerting.
I was used to seeing the big picture and behind the scenes and knowing much more about what was going on than I could possibly (and many times shouldn't) write about.
When I moved to Atlanta, I made friends, of course, but many of them didn't even know each other. That really bothered me.
It took me years to realize the disjointedness I was feeling about having several disconnected "groups" of friends was a result of having lived in a small community where all my friends not only knew each other but might have even been married to and divorced from each other.
Being in a smaller community gives you a sense of seeing the whole rather than only a part. You feel so connected and have a sense that what you write about actually means something to someone. It's personal.
I used to hate growing up in a small town because I thought I was missing out on so much out there in "the world." Turns out, I think it might have been the world that was missing out.
Two years in Frankfurt led to 27 years of service in military
Editor, the Forum:
enjoyed your piece on military service and can certainly identify with
half of my military career I spent with American Forces Radio and Television
with networks in Europe, Panama and the Far East. All of the overseas
audiences are like small town America stuck in the middle of the host
country and they appreciated the local angle of our radio and TV broadcasts.
I was able to apply the principles I learned from Randolph Holder while
a student working at WGAU AM-FM in Athens and still do today here in Vidalia.
South Carolinian recalls fondly his time in the military
Editor, the Forum:
Your article on your military service hit home. At that time in my life, the Army in Europe meant so much to me -- serving as a maturing process, discipline, confidence in myself, exposure to diversity, and such a wider view of the world. From 1961 until August 1964 I was down in Augsburg, enjoying Bavarian beer with the rest of the 24th Aviation Battalion of the 24th Infantry Division.
Hey ladies: Remember, it's just a football game
Editor, the Forum:
Many of you read about the University of Alabama fan (a woman) who shot another fan (a woman) at a post game party after the Auburn-Alabama game. What in the devil have we come to? It's just a game, for God's sake!
Once I witnessed a big fight at the Georgia-Florida game, on the field, after the game. Not players, but fans. I'm sure alcohol was involved, but this is no excuse for such anti-social behavior.
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for the Annual Rainbow Village Book Fair, at the Barnes and Noble at the
Forum in Norcross. The time for the event is December 13 - 15. The annual
book fair supports the Rainbow Village After School program.
Scholarship seeks displaced low-income high school seniors
are now being accepted for the Mary Ware Scholarship from displaced high
school low income seniors. Each winner receives $2,500 towards tuition,
books, dining plan or housing per semester (up to two semesters per year).
The Scholarships are to be awarded by the Foster Care Support Foundation
Partnership Gwinnett of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce is planning a business trip to South Korea in 2014.
The dates of the trip are from May 12-18, 2014. After departing Atlanta and arriving in Korea on May 13, there will be three days of business-to-business meetings, tours of industries, and a foreign investment seminar. Saturday will be spent visiting cultural locations in the Seoul area, with departure on Sunday, May 18.
Kaufman, president of the Chamber, says that the trip "has been strategically
planned in an effort to meet three specific goals:
Cost of the trip is $4,960 per person for economy class flight on Korean Air or $8,950 for business class flight.
The prices include five nights at the InterContinental Grand Seoul, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily; charter bus services; and tour guide and tickets to cultural locations.
Philadelphia Winn DAR Chapter hears of American Indian herigage
American Indian Chairman Linda Olson spoke to the Philadelphia Winn Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Lawrenceville during American Indian Heritage Month. Her program featured a female born before 1811 who survived 18 grueling years on the barren St. Nicolas Island off the California coastline.
She was rescued in 1853 by fur trappers and taken to the Santa Barbara Mission. Unfortunately, she died after only seven weeks, whereupon the priests gave her a Christian burial and the name Juana Maria. A marker was placed in 1928 by the Santa Barbara Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The novel, Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell, is based on her life.
Professor Michael D. C. Drout of Wheaton College brings poetry to life in this engrossing series of lectures about the evolution of this literary art form. He begins by defining poetry 'as a verbal art form in which both form and content are important and in which sound and meaning are essential for the artwork.' The listener learns about the importance of oral tradition, and 'the roots of tree' of Anglo-Saxon Poetry. Another part describes alliteration, iambic, trochaic and other pentameters and how they create the framework of a poem. The works of famous poets are explored along with brief biographical information. This historical panorama includes a look at Early Renaissance poetry, the Romantics, the Metaphysicals, the Later Romantics, the Victorians, American poets concluding with Modern and Post Modern Poetry. There are 14 lectures on seven CDs that will delight those with long commutes and an interest in literature.
-- Karen J. Harris, librarian, Norcross Branch, Gwinnett County Public Library
A lifelong resident of Savannah, Emma Cheves Wilkins continued the artistic legacy established by her mother and grandmother, and honored the efforts of earlier generations. She developed a census of paintings that is now part of the Frick Art Reference Library in New York City and supported herself by painting portraits of prominent citizens, while simultaneously gaining a reputation for painting lush, impressionistic landscapes and still lifes.
Born on December 10, 1870, Wilkins was the oldest of eight children born to Emma Cheves and Gilbert A. Wilkins. Both Emma's mother, who gave private art lessons, and her grandmother, Charlotte McCord Cheves, were academically trained artists who specialized in painted miniatures. Wilkins was instructed at home and received additional training from Carl Brandt, the first director of the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences (later the Telfair Museum of Art).
An astute and socially prominent businesswoman, Wilkins was also a self-supporting artist. From her private art school, she taught members of the next generation of Savannah artists. Her family's social network provided access to prominent citizens of the region and nation, who commissioned portraits that she painted during the academic year in order to keep her summers free for other activities. During several summers, she traveled to Europe seeking instruction, especially in life drawing. In 1895 she and Lucile Desbouillons, who later became the matriarch of the Murphy family of Savannah artists, studied at the Colarossi Academy in Paris, France. She spent one month in Munich, Germany, an experience that influenced her color palette and use of both heavy brushwork and impasto.
Portraits of judges, politicians, doctors, bankers, military figures, and, to a lesser extent, women and children, provided a livelihood for Wilkins. She was also well known for loosely painted landscapes and still lifes, which were often exhibited and won prizes in juried shows. Wilkins noted that she had never studied landscape painting but created them purely for pleasure. She exhibited her work in New York City and in Georgia and in Charleston, S.C.
was an active member of the Savannah Art Club and served the Telfair Academy
in several different capacities. She donated her personal collection of
antique fashion plates, a painting by colonial artist Jeremiah Theus,
and decorative art objects to the museum.
Wilkins's personal papers are in the collection of the Georgia Historical Society in Savannah. She also donated a miniature painting created by her grandmother of a family member to the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, S.C.
Wilkins died on December 18, 1956, and is buried in Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah. Her work is found in the permanent collections of the Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, the Telfair Museum of Art, and in numerous private collections.
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Christmas Party for members of the Gwinnett Historical Society: 7:30 p.m., December 10, Historic Gwinnett Courthouse, Lawrenceville. Besides the party, officers will be installed and awards will be presented for 2012.
Christmas 5K and 10K Run: 9:30 a.m., December 14, Peachtree Corners. The event will benefit the Norcross Community Ministry. Gather at Christ the King Lutheran Church, 5575 Peachtree Parkway. Food trucks will be present. For details, visit www.spincyclesports.com.
(NEW) WinterFest: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., December 14, Duluth Festival Center. Come and enjoy live performances from Duluth Idols, Miss Cindy's Dance Studio and The All Star Performing Arts Academy. There will be fun holiday crafts for kids while supplies last. Visit the "Giving Tree," as Duluth is supporting Rainbow Village and Toys-For-Tots this year. For more information visit www.duluthga.net.
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