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Safe Kids honors individuals, agencies at annual awards banquet
Those honored Thursday night by Safe Kids Gainesville-Hall County coalition coordinator Kim Martin (center) , from left, are Randall Townley, former Northeast Georgia Rural Roads coordinator; Adam Miller, teacher and coach at Gainesville High School; Trooper David Snyder, Georgia State Patrol and Captain Thomas Barnard, Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

The Hall County-Gainesville Safe Kids coalition honored individuals and agencies for their roles in promoting child safety at its annual presentation of awards.

Over plates of barbecue and baked beans, Kim Martin, coordinator of the child safety advocacy group, handed plaques to recipients in front of representatives of local safety and enforcement agencies in the state.

Martin presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Randall Townley, president of the Georgia Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association.

Townley expressed heartfelt regard to safety agencies for their commitment.

“In this part of the state now, a child that’s injured in a motor-vehicle crash and is admitted through the emergency room to the hospital spends less time in the hospital than any other part in the state of Georgia,” Townley said. “That’s because of you.”

He said it was especially heartening to see continued commitment to child safety and indicators of improvement in times of tight budgets.

Martin also honored Adam Miller, a teacher and coach at Gainesville High School, as Teacher of Year for his “instrumental” role in promoting seat belt use at the high school.

“Coach Miller been very supportive of the Gainesville Police Department traffic unit and their goal to save lives through education and voluntary compliance,” Martin said.

Martin said Miller’s contributions helped increase seat belt use from 83 percent to 96 percent, according to seat belt use surveys at the high school.

For its role in promoting new boating safety rules, the Department of Natural Resources was honored as the Community Agency of the Year.

“This agency played a very active role in advocating for the new boating safety law,” Martin said. “Education about the new law as well as other recreational laws on Lake Lanier is a top priority for this agency.”

The Tim Peebles Volunteer of the Year award went to Trooper David Synder with the Georgia State Patrol.
Martin said Synder was an active volunteer for behind-the-wheel safety, from teen driving instruction to child passenger safety promotion.

“He loves kids and has five of his own,” Martin said, to the admiration of the audience. “His love for kids comes across when he teaches and the way they respond to him.”

Assistant District Attorney Kelley Robertson also recognized local businesses and community groups who support Safe Kids through financial support, drawing attention to safety issues and providing public safety instruction.