The second annual Homeless Persons Remembrance Day was observed Thursday evening at the First United Methodist Church.
The event, led by Jim McIntosh, director of Liberty Cares, included music, a memorial candle-lighting, prayers and scripture reading by pastors, and comments by local leaders.
Two community leaders who spoke, George Holtzman, Caldwell Banker-Holtzman Realtors, and Dr. Alicia Kirk, the Kirk Healing Center for the Homeless, presented tributes to the Rev. Will Carter and Gary Dodd, both of whom died last year.
Holtzman and Kirk praised both men for their love of God and people. Kirk said she was grateful for the financial support and help Dodd gave to the center that bears her name. She indirectly referred to Dodd’s connection with McDonald’s. He owned McDonald’s franchises in Hinesville, Jesup, Glennville and Claxton.
“I’ve no doubt that if they need a restaurant in Heaven, Gary is there to provide one,” Kirk said. “I want to thank you all for your support (for her center). Please remember us in your prayers.”
Christina Anthony with United Military Care told the three dozen people in the church that she and her employees try to help soldiers and their families by providing food and clothing.
Donald Spencer, senior vice-commander of the Disabled American Veterans, Chapter 46, told guests all he ever wanted to do was be a soldier, but he left the Army as a disabled veteran in 1987. He’s now dedicated to helping all veterans, he said.
“I love veterans,” Spencer said. “If you come to the DAV, you’ll get help.”
He said that help can include direct assistance in filing a disability compensation claim with the VA. It can also include help with utility bills, he said. He said if the DAV is not able to help someone, they’d at least get connected with a person or organization that can help.
Throughout the 90-minute ceremony, video presentations moved guests with images of homeless children and adults. A solo by Donna Jackson, who sang, “You Raise Me Up,” was part of one of the presentations.
Mary Alexander, assistant superintendent of Liberty County Schools, started her presentation by saying there are currently 180 homeless children attending Liberty County schools. She said the school system has programs to help those children and their families.
McIntosh added to Alexander’s comments by talking about the Pooh Project, which is intended to provide the resources homeless children need to stay in school.
He concluded the program by inviting everyone to the Good Friday Walk for Shelter sponsored by the Liberty County Homeless Coalition. It will be April 18.