Family Connection says ‘goodbye’ to Harrell

Published 6:01 pm Friday, June 14, 2013

Decatur County Family Connection staff members, board of directors and friends said “goodbye” to board chairman Allison Harrell on Wednesday, thanking her for her countless hours of hard work with the community-services organization.

Harrell, who has spent the last six years as a social worker for the Decatur County Schools, has accepted a position as a school counselor at Brookwood School, in Thomasville, Ga.

Harrell, who grew up in Camilla, Ga., has contributed to a number of projects for Decatur County Family Connection, a local non-profit collaborative organization. Some of those programs include a winter clothing drive, a “teen maze” to help young people learn positive life choices, a “backpack program” that helps provide needy school children with food every week, and the Family Connection’s annual rodeo fundraiser.

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Family Connection Coordinator Ronnie Burke praised Harrell’s hard work at Wednesday’s monthly Family Connection meeting held at the Bainbridge State College’s Kirbo Center.

“She deserves so much more than we could ever show her,” Burke said. “She sees things that need fixing, and then she does what needs to be done to address those problems.”

Debbie McIntyre, director of adult education at BSC, said that Harrell is a truly “genuine person.”
“She’s taught me a lot about community action, and the amount of good that just a few people can do,” she said.

Dr. Suzi Bonifay, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for the Decatur County Schools, said that Harrell is “grace, personified.” Bonifay also played a portion of the Randy Travis song, “Three Wooden Crosses,” which includes the lyric, “It’s not what you take when you leave this world behind you, it’s what you leave behind you when you go.”

“I don’t think it mattered if [Harrell] was in the pea patch, the projects or the Pilot Club,” Bonifay said. “She filled in perfectly with any group of people, and did whatever it took to get the job done.

“Allison has been a tremendous person to Decatur County Schools, and to the community at large.”
Harrell said she was “very surprised” at the public praise during Wednesday’s meeting, and noted that she would definitely come back to visit.

“It’s definitely hard to say goodbye, but I know that this is God’s plan for my family,” she said.

“I appreciate all the kind words, but it’s not just one person who does it. It’s all of us who work together to make a difference in our community.”