To the editor:
During my six years as mayor of Dearing, Ga., nothing has angered me more than an event that happened during the Oct. 18 McDuffie County Commissioners meeting to discuss whether a kaolin mine should be opened near Dearing. Let me be clear, I am not talking about the results of the vote on the kaolin mine. We all knew what the outcome would be and even I am not sure I would want a mine in my backyard. What I am talking about is a comment that was made during the proceedings by a representative of the opposition led by Brink Bradshaw. A member of his group referred to the "Ugly Town of Dearing" while expressing opposition to the mine.
Mr. Bradshaw, I hold you directly responsible for that comment. You declared yourself the leader of the opposition. As the leader, you are responsible for what goes on under your leadership. You were given the floor to make final comments for your group and did nothing to smooth over or retract that uncalled-for comment. Rather, you choose to remain silent, which implies consent to all of your group's comments, including this slur against the town of Dearing. I am not sure if you even understood it as an insult at the time, but you certainly did after the meeting.
The mayor and town council have worked very hard over the last six years to make peace and build friendship with McDuffie County and Thomson. We expanded our auto aid agreement with the county's fire department. We made a point of taking a stand against opposition at a Thomson City Council meeting during water/sewer rate discussions. We sponsored numerous festivals, golf tournaments, and other activities that take place in Thomson. We advertise and promote activities for the county and Thomson on our digital sign just to support our community.
Ugly Town of Dearing?! Our wonderful town is home to one of the best elementary schools in the area. Our friendly town has the cleanest, friendliest convenience store in the county. Our town has one of the top-rated dairies in the state. Our great little town has the nicest gym and skateboard park in the county. Our concerned town sponsors a fantastic festival that has donated more than $22,000 in two years to The Good Samaritan House, which provides free medical care to those in need.
If all you do is ride though this town, maybe it is not the most attractive place you will ever see, but as they say "beauty is only skin deep." I will take this wonderful, friendly, caring town and its fantastic people over any other place in this county!
As the elected leader of the town of Dearing, Ga., and as a 43-year resident, I have always tried to do the right thing by this community. This time it seems the right thing to do is encourage all the Dearing community to tell you how they feel. May all the teachers and parents at Dearing Elementary School express their feelings of disappointment in this callous comment. May all the people in Pea Ridge express their displeasure. May everyone that attends our Mayfest tell you how they dislike that careless and offensive comment. May all the people that attend our churches chime in until you hear the rage that everyone here is talking about.
To the people of Thomson, I ask: is this the type of leadership you want for your city? Is Brink Bradshaw a leader or a naysayer eager to tear down a town and a people who he considers unimportant?
Sean Kelley, mayor
Town of Dearing, Georgia
(and proud of it)