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Annual cookout celebrates New Beginnings and Endings

"It's nice to call somebody and know who you're calling," McDuffie County Sheriff Logan Marshall said Friday.

The sheriff commended a cookout that gathered about 75 county employees onto the lawn of the courthouse on Main Street.

The "New Beginnings and Endings Cookout" celebrated the pending move of many departments to the new judicial and government center on Railroad Street. That move, in turn, opens the door to remodeling and then a new home for employees in scattered locations.

"The way things are scattered out, you don't see people," Marshall said.

County Human Resources Coordinator Ruthie Thomas organized the outing.

"We're leaving the old, relocating to the new facility, and we thought it would be a good way to celebrate," Thomas said.

Cold tea was plentiful, and hot dogs and hamburgers were fresh off the grill.

"We kind of just pitched in to make it happen," Thomas said.

Thomas said it has become a tradition. "The county employees have come to enjoy good eating," she said.

Shirley Williams, with the finance department, offered thanks in prayer as the assembled employees joined hands. "I prayed that we leave behind the things that aren't right and then bring us the things that are right," he said. She said the new beginning might bring challenges. "But all that will work out," Williams said.

"I think it is a great thing to do, to get everyone together," said Connie Cheathan, the clerk of court, who will be moving her office to the ground floor near the center of the new complex.

"It's great for all the county employees to get together," said Mike Coke, a 19-year officer with the sheriff's department. "We don't get to do this but once a year and that's about it."

"We should do this more often," said road department employee Brian Youngblood.

Rusty Allen, a 26-year county highway department employee, agreed. "We don't get together too often," he said.

"Leaving here, moving on," observed superior court secretary Carolyn Benton as she shared lunch with Superior Court Chief Judge Roger W. Dunaway Jr. and former court employee Wes Turner.

"I'm lucky," said Dunaway, who serves six counties and who said he will be in Warren County during the move. "Carolyn's gonna have all the moving done," he joked. "She's done a good job of getting it all boxed up."

The district attorney's office was the first agency to move to the new building. More agencies will move the week of July Fourth.

After some remodeling, the elections office, extension office and other agencies will move downtown to share the courthouse.

Web posted on Thursday, July 07, 2011

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