I've always believed that much can be accomplished when people work together for a common goal. Very little, if anything, gets done when people don't work together.
I'm proud to say that the majority of elected officials in McDuffie County take to working together to make not only our county, but our two municipalities, Thomson and Dearing, everything they can be and more. I applaud those officials who are working in such a manner.
Those serving in that role on the McDuffie County Board of Commissioners include: Commission Chairman Charlie Newton, Vice-Chairman Sammie Wilson, Sr., Fred Favors, Paul McCorkle and Bill Jopling. They receive invaluable input in the county's day-to-day operations from County Manager Don Norton, who does a great job, too. Another person who provides great services to commissioners and to the public is County Clerk Annette Findley.
The City of Thomson, meanwhile, is led by Mayor Kenneth Usry, Mayor Pro Tem Alton Belton and Council Members John Smalley, Bernice Brown, Bud Lunceford and Jaye Jones. Aside from the fine job they do, two others involved in a lot of the daily operations at city hall include Administrator Don Powers and City Clerk Dianne Landers.
In the Town of Dearing, I commend the loyal and dedicated services of Mayor Sean Kelley, as well as Council Members Daisy Ansley, Allen Axon, Judson Story and Mike McTier.
Another group of elected officials include the McDuffie County Board of Education. The board consists of Chairwoman Georgia Hobbs, Vice-Chairman Rick McCorkle, Dorothy Hart, Ella Mae Samuels, Bob Smith, Dexter Lovins and Greg Derry. Dr. Mark Petersen serves as school superintendent.
Many of those servants attended a recent government retreat held at the University of Georgia in Athens in which officials talked about a variety of important subjects and projects. Much was accomplished during the 1½ days of the retreat. And much was learned by all who attended, including myself and Donna Branch, who also ventured there for the second straight year to become more knowledgeable about where our officials have led us and where they are taking us in the future.
Such government retreats were started more than a dozen years ago and have proven very beneficial to our local officials. I salute two former elected officials, Joyce Blevins and Bob Knox, Jr., for helping establish such retreats.
When we bring government officials together, a wealth of information is shared. And lots of ideas come to the table. It's a great way to learn what is really going on in each of the branches of our local government.
I applaud all of our government officials - those in elected positions, as well as those in high-ranking appointed positions - for taking their valuable time to help see that their thought process and actions taken are helping to move McDuffie County forward.
Let us all hope that those representing us in government will continue to put their best foot forward so that they can lead by example and do the right thing when it comes to making decisions, regardless of the situation.
Our county really is a shining example of what good can happen when we all pull together and work together. It makes me feel proud to say that I live and work in Thomson and McDuffie County.