Two examples of doing it right in Bainbridge

Published 6:04 pm Friday, September 12, 2014

On Thursday and Friday mornings this past week, I was fortunate to attend two different local ceremonies the exhibit all that is right in our community, albeit for two very different reasons.

Tomorrow, Sept. 14, marks the 200th anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner, the national anthem of The United States of America, an occurrence that, I must admit, I didn’t realize until yesterday morning when I attended a celebration of the anniversary at West Bainbridge Middle School.

Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics of the song, originally a poem, in 1814 as he sat aboard a ship in Baltimore Harbor as the battle for Fort McHenry between the British and the United States was fought around him.

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After the British retreat, and when Key saw the flag still flying over Fort McHenry, he was compelled to write the poem. It wasn’t until 1931, by virtue of a bill signed into law by President Herbert Hoover, that the Star Spangled Banner officially became our national anthem.

The program held in the gym at West Bainbridge Elementary School, led by principal Jamie Ard, was one the more enjoyable school activities I have had the pleasure of attending.  It became evident very quickly that Mr. Ard and the staff at West Bainbridge do a fantastic job with those roughly 500 students.

Any time you have that many students, ranging in age from five to 10-years-old, in one place at one time and the room becomes silent just by holding up your hand, it speaks volumes. The students were unbelievably well behaved and represented well their school, their parents, and their teachers.

Great job, West Bainbridge Elementary School. I thoroughly enjoyed the program and look forward to the next one.

The other event I had the pleasure of attending last week involved no children, but exhibited the spirit of cooperation and problem solving in a grand way.

The new Georgia Driver Services office, located in the building formerly occupied by a Welcome Center and then the Bainbridge Convention and Visitor’s Bureau office, was formally dedicated and opened for operation on Thursday morning.

This ribbon cutting was a culmination of having a great idea, presenting that idea to the right people, following up on the idea, and seeing it through. All the while, locating a “driver’s license” office in Bainbridge will make all of local residents’ lives easier and more convenient. An empty building became a place that most all of us will use at one point or another.

Kudos to Bainbridge City Manager Chris Hobby, State Senator Dr. Dean Burke, State Representative Jay Powell, and State Representative Darlene Taylor for working hand-in-hand to make this great idea become reality.

The renovations done to the interior of the building, although it really didn’t need that many, made it to appear that the building was originally built to be a customer service center. It’s really nice, welcoming, and will serve our community greatly for years to come.

It was good to experience the great work done by our school system, and learn a little about the Star Spangled Banner in the process, and to see such a textbook example of cooperation and collaboration with the dedication of the new Driver Services office. Well done to all involved.