Two momentous occasions

Published 3:51 pm Friday, January 13, 2017

spent the majority of my Thursday afternoon and early evening at two separate meetings at the Kirbo Center at Bainbridge State College.  It was time very well spent because, at the risk of hyperbole, both meetings will prove historic for Bainbridge and Decatur County as time passes.

The first meeting was a simple introductory and informational meeting with Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College President Dr. David Bridges and Bainbridge State College interim President Dr. Stuart Rayfield.

Just the day prior, on Wednesday, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia approved a recommendation to consolidate the two colleges.

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Although much of the meeting was lots of “We don’t know right now,” or “We’ll see what happens” answers, I came away excited and encouraged about what the future holds for our local campus.  And I believe that the other attendees felt the same.

Dr. Bridges will be the president of the new combined institution, and with his background and prior accomplishments at ABAC, he will be a great asset and resource for Bainbridge and Decatur County.

With the planning stages of the consolidation just beginning, Dr. Bridges and Dr. Rayfield and their respective staffs face hours and hours of meetings and will have to make thousands of decisions. I fully expect all this tedious work will result in an institution that will offer area students a world-class education, will help our local industries, and provide support for the economic engine in our part of the state— agriculture.

Later in the evening on Thursday, I attended the joint meeting of the Bainbridge City Council, Decatur County Commission and Hospital Authority Board.

The standing-room-only crowd of attendees was great to see as those three boards collaborated to approve a financial package that will position our hospital to be a viable operation for years and years to come.

Much credit goes to the city council and commission for realizing the vital importance of our local hospital and making the decision to step up to the plate and address the tenuous financial position of the hospital.

And credit to the hospital authority for taking the necessary steps to ensure this new opportunity, a clean slate you can say, will not go for naught. I have full confidence these leaders will make decisions so that Decatur residents will receive the best medical care at a facility that is financially sound.

These leaders found a way to address the situation in the best possible way, without asking taxpayers for additional funds and without changing the current tax liabilities.

This level of cooperation and collaboration between these three boards would have been a pipe dream and unimaginable just a short couple of years ago. Now, it seems this approach is just standard operating procedure and we are all better off because of that approach.

Yes, I do think those two meetings will turn out to be historic and will pave the way for bright days ahead for our community.

Dr. Bridges mentioned that he liked “sayings” or mottos and he used several during his introduction. One that stuck with me and think is fitting today is “its easy for people to want to be a big part of something small, but not so much of being a small part of something big.”

Kudos to the folks who became small part of something big.