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Memorial back-to-school rally set
In the pulpit
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As the summer vacation began in Long County, tragedy struck.

Two school-age children, Ta’Keith Andrew Russell and Hannah Marie Foreman, died on the same day: June 2. Both students would have been third graders at Smiley Elementary School in Ludowici this upcoming school term.

While these students’ lives were cut short, their memories will live on. A New Beginning Church in Ludowici is sponsoring an event in honor of them.

“On July 28, starting at 10 a.m., A New Beginning Church will have a back-to-school rally. We will have 400 backpacks with school supplies for children. We got a list of needed school supplies from the school,” Pastor Tom Gardner said. “There will also be free food, water slides and games. This annual event in memory of Ta’Keith and Hannah is to help kids who are returning to school. If you bless someone’s child, you bless their heart.”

The rally will be at 2047 Highway 57, just past Smiley Elementary.

“During the whole month of July, we will be having programs and events, most of which are geared toward the kids. The church held a one-day camp for kids on July 7. On July 22, we will have the kickoff of our vacation Bible school,” Gardner said.

The church, which just celebrated its second anniversary, will have VBS from July 23-27 with the theme of “Camp Edge.”

“God has really been good to us. We can look back and see where He has brought us, and we are glad to be a part of God’s plan. We can’t do everything, but we can do something,” Gardner said.

For additional information about the rally, call Gardner at 269-1609 or the church at 545-3141.

You may also visit the church’s website at or on its Facebook page.

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