Greetings from the Galveston Island beach front on the Gulf Coast of Texas.
That some mighty special people inhabit the great state of Georgia became clear to us 14 years ago when my niece, Kelly, married a Georgia boy, Patrick Jones of Athens. He has since charmed us all, so much so that we proudly wear the Dawg caps he gave us.
Until Hurricane Ike, however, we had no idea that Georgia was home to SO MANY remarkable people. It was Georgia Power and Light that showed up almost before the wind had stopped blowing and with the breathtaking speed, thanks to 16-hour days, turned the lights back on all across our island. I had the great pleasure of meeting a few of these men face to face as they toiled night and day to help our restaurant and hotel get back into business.
Personal thanks goes to Charlie McQueen and his 24-man work gang, especially Greg Hudgins. They were committed to restoring our power regardless of the complications that arose from damage to the transmission equipment. We will never forget what the men of Georgia Power and Light did for us Texans.
It doesn't end there, however. In rebuilding our restaurant, I ordered some Fire Sprinkler parts from Swift Fire Protection in Elberton. Unbelievably, when it came time to take my credit cared information and billing address, Merrill Franklin learned we were residents of Galveston Island and said "I will send the parts to you with tomorrow's mail , but I can't accept your money."
Even as I write these lines this totally unexpected act of compassion and unbridled generosity clouds my eyes and puts a lump in my throat. When you are down, as we are, you just don't expect such kindness from a total stranger.
What is with you Georgians? All my life I proudly considered myself a son of the South, but no more so than in the last four weeks. On behalf of all of us who inhabit our Island, I send to each of you our heartfelt thanks and profound admiration. We will never forget what you did for us.
Gaido's Restaurant and Seaside Inn, Galveston Island, Texas
Respect other people's views, and their signs
Last week Sarah Palin, Republican candidate for vice president, complained about the media wanting to deny her the right of freedom of speech for saying some of the things she has been saying about Barack Obama during her campaign speeches. She has not been denied those rights and continues to say those things, true or not.
At the same time, she wants the right to say what's on her mind, she wants to deny the U.S. media the right to say what's on its minds just because it doesn't happen to agree with her.
The same attitude appears to be a common thread within today's Republican Party. This is evidenced by the all too common practice of not wanting the opposing party's supporters to voice support for their candidates through the display of yard signs, bumper stickers and other campaign materials for their candidates.
Yard signs for Obama, much like those for Kerry in 2004, are disappearing by the thousands each day across this country, as they are here in the Gainesville area. While all the McCain signs continue to stand in our neighborhoods, the Obama signs disappear day after day.
Even the huge Obama sign prominently displayed in front of the Joe Diaz law office on historic Green Street was stolen last week and the frame broken by some mean-spirited person who did not respect Joe's right for freedom of speech. So Joe had a new sign created to voice his thoughts about these persons actions. Be sure to drive by and see how he encourages you not to be intimidated and to vote for change.
We all deserve the same rights that the McCain supporters expect for themselves. Let's honor and respect that right for each other. We all love this country and we all are supposed to have the same rights. Contrary to some peoples beliefs, this is not a Republican-only country!
Hall school chief is a selfless, capable leader
How impressive a superintendent of the Hall County school system is Will Schofield? That is a question that each parent and student of the system should reflect upon.
I am a recent retiree from the Hall County school system as well as a retired Army Reserve officer. My answer to the question is that Hall County is blessed to have the leadership of Mr. Schofield.
Another question: How many CEOs of large corporations would decline a large salary bonus?
Unfortunately, we all know the answer is few or none. Mr. Schofield is obviously not interested in a bonus one which he rightfully deserves. It is assuring and impressive that leaders set the example.
The superintendent is a visionary, innovator, change agent and excellent communicator. He exemplifies every leadership trait found in Stephen R. Covey's "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People." I can also state that he demonstrates each of the 11 traits for being an effective military leader. The bottom line for Mr. Will Schofield is it's not about "me." He sincerely and humbly is a public servant whose top priority is assisting young people develop to their fullest potential.
Having taught for 37 years, I know that words of encouragement and appreciation are unexpected, but cherished. If you've answered the question I've posed, I encourage you to thank Mr. Schofield for his efforts and sacrifice.