A new hero

Published 8:52 am Monday, November 3, 2008

I have been invited to lots of community events over the last five months since arriving in Bainbridge. None have disappointed, and I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to meet so many members of this wonderful community.

Of course, some have peeked my interest more than others, but all have been enjoyable.

From being invited to serve on the Bainbridge-Decatur County United Way board, to having dinner with the wonderful people at the Climax Community Club, to joining the Rotary Club, I have seen wonderful things happening in our community.

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This past Tuesday afternoon at Bainbridge College was just another opportunity to see good things happening. I attended my first meeting of the Bainbridge College Foundation board. Also attending that meeting was a roomful of business leaders, community leaders, college leaders and just plain leaders who are concerned about our community and what can be done to make it better.

Providing a quality, useful education plays a vital part to improving the health and growth of our community, our state and our country.

Bainbridge College is doing that, and the Foundation is helping by providing scholarships to those who might not attend college otherwise.

Sometimes I think we take for granted that we have a college right in our own backyard. I have lived in places with colleges and without, we are better off because Bainbridge College is here and providing such a valuable service.

Still feeling the excitement on campus from the opening of the beautiful Kirbo Center and the very successful Literary Festival, the good news continued as the scholarship endowment has now reached $500,000. That’s a half million dollars to provide scholarships to area students. Those students will turn into the next generation of good, solid community and business leaders.

To set the stage, in 2006, the foundation’s endowment was $40,000. Last year at this time, the balance was $330,000. We now sit at $500,000 and the goal is increase to $1 million by 2010.

With leaders like Dewey Robinson, Dan Ponder, Luther Conyers and Bill Burke on the board and leading the charge, I have no doubt that the $1 million goal will be met. And with Dr. Tom Wilkerson and Jim Beck leading the charge on the college side, that goal very well could be shattered.

Hearing the news of the current endowment balance was good enough, but seeing the results first hand was really inspirational.

Three of the recipients of Foundation scholarships were on hand to address the crowd. Anna Brown, Chuck Strickland and Faye Price thanked the board for helping them offset the expense of earning a college degree.

Faye Price is my new hero.

She is classified as a “non-traditional” student. I was not familiar with that designation before the meeting, but she doesn’t fit the mold of a college student right out of high school with few responsibilities other than to attend classes.

Faye is 56 years old. She is a breast cancer survivor, the oldest of 13 children, and the mother of four. She is the primary care-taker of her elderly mother and she is a nursing student at Bainbridge College. She has already whipped the Licensed Practical Nurse program at the college and is currently working toward earning an Associate Degree in Nursing. There is not a doubt that she will accomplish that goal as well.

Faye could not attend college and do amazing things at this stage in her life without the scholarships made available by the Foundation.

The Foundation could not do these amazing things without the help and support of the Bainbridge and Decatur County community.

So, thanks for contributing in the past and thanks for contributing in the future.

And if you meet Faye on the street, I bet you might have a new hero, as well.