Residents of Hinesville and Liberty County have been invited once again to participate in a Reader’s Digest contest called “We Hear You America,” according to Ashley Gabriel, who is with public relations firm G.S. Schwartz & Co. Inc. Gabriel said Hinesville is eligible this year to compete for new funds and promotional support from Reader’s Digest, including a grant of up to $50,000. Last year, the loyalty of residents who voted for their community earned Hinesville-Liberty County a $1,000 check from Reader’s Digest, which Mayor Jim Thomas said was used for preservation of local historic sites.
“I’d like to see our community participate in ‘We Hear You America’ this year,” Thomas said, expressing support for the Reader’s Digest online campaign meant to empower Americans to help their local communities. “It’s a good cause and a great competition.”
Gabriel said that in order to expand the contest’s reach, rock star and reality television personality Bret Michaels will assist with this year’s “We Hear You America” campaign. Michaels said he endorses the campaign because it inspires people to improve their communities and gives everyone a voice.
This year’s campaign kicked off Nov. 16 and will continue for five months, Gabriel said. Last year, most Liberty County residents participated in the campaign via the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce, which linked to the Reader’s Digest contest page from its Facebook page. Hinesville was one of the top 50 cities in the country for the number of votes received and the only city in Georgia in the top 50. Gabriel said 110 cities received funds and promotional support for community projects and were visited by the Reader’s Digest RV, which toured the country and visited winning cities. Hinesville received its $1,000 check Jan. 28.
Gabriel said votes already have started coming in from communities across the country as residents log onto www.readersdigest.com/america to support their hometowns. She said residents can vote each time they go to the site, and they’re encouraged to leave comments about what makes their hometowns great or what quality-of-life projects they’d like to support with winnings from the “We Hear You America” campaign.
Liberty County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Leah Poole said that last year’s postings included some from those who said they chose Hinesville because of its “symbiotic” relationship with Fort Stewart while others mentioned the moderate weather and friendly people. Even though the chamber, which currently is busy helping to coordinate Christmas in the Park and the annual Illuminated Christmas Parade, has not yet decided whether to participate in this year’s campaign, the mayor is enthusiastic about local residents taking an interest in their community.
“The city will support the chamber’s decision and help in any way we can,” Thomas said. “I’m asking people to get on board and help their community by voting for it. This is a great opportunity to do something, and it’s easy to do, so please spread the word.”