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Newest Leadership Liberty class graduates
Back row from left: Liberty County Chamber of Commerce CEO Leah Poole, Karen Bell, Amanda Scott and Russell H. Putnam Jr. Front row: Pam Phillips and Petula Y. Gomillion. Not pictured: Cindi Williford, Mike Davis and Anita Hughes. - photo by Photo provided.

Members of the 2014 Leadership Liberty class graduated and were recognized during a dinner July 10 at Spartina Landing.
Each graduate was presented a personalized plaque by Liberty County Chamber of Commerce CEO Leah Poole to commemorate their achievement.
The group completed an eight-month session that included team building and leadership skills at the Youth Challenge ropes course on Fort Stewart and tours of local entities and organizations facilitated by the city of Hinesville, Liberty County government, the Liberty County School System, Liberty Regional Medical Center, the Liberty County Health Department, Fort Stewart, the Liberty County Development Authority and the Liberty County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
In addition to learning about the county, the group worked to complete a project that would better the community and improve the lives of its residents. The class raised funds for the Liberty Activity Center of Senior Citizens Inc. A fundraiser was held through the Ruby Tuesday GiveBack Program, and the class coordinated with Keep Liberty Beautiful to plant a patio garden at the Senior Citizens Inc. Liberty County facility.
The garden includes flowers and herbs and planters donated by KLB. Additional funds raised and donated by class members will be used for the garden’s upkeep.
“We are so grateful to Sara Swida and Keep Liberty Beautiful for donating the items needed for the garden,” class President Amanda Scott said. “We hope the garden will provide a lovely retreat for the seniors at the Liberty Activity Center and they will be able to enjoy it for years to come.”
Graduates are Petula Y. Gomillion, executive director of Atlantic Area C.A.S.A.; Russell H. Putnam Jr., civilian legal assistant attorney of Fort Stewart; Pam Phillips, accredited financial counselor for the Financial and Employment Readiness Programs of Hunter Army Airfield; Karen Bell, owner of Rottweiler Vending, Ardyss KBell and J&K Photo Booths; Mike Davis, streets/drainage supervisor for Ch2mhill/OMI; Cindi Williford, member-services representative for Coastal Electric Cooperative; Anita Hughes, previously the chamber finance assistant; and Amanda Scott, convention and visitors bureau program manager.
“I hope that I will retain what I learned and as a Family Readiness specialist for the Army, pull from what I learned to help military service members and spouses understand and benefit from their local community, and encourage them to get involved with their local community,” Phillips said.
Leadership Liberty’s goal is to shape and mold future county leaders by informing them of and educating them on the various resources available throughout the county. The program strives to inspire positive change in Liberty County through training community leaders for public service. Participants are provided with an understanding of the complexities of economic and community development, as well as an appreciation for the county’s heritage.
 “I believe that I am better able to promote my agency through the connections established, and I think that the information gained is helpful in making a decision to support different projects that the city or county may have on the table,” Gomillion said.
Leadership Liberty is open to anyone.
“Leadership Liberty is about service leadership in your community,” Scott said. “I enjoyed touring the different locales and how I can be of greater service to my community, but my favorite part was getting to know my classmates and seeing what a positive impact each of them make on our community every day.”
The chamber is accepting nominations for the 2014-15 class of Leadership Liberty. Class participants will take an eight-month class that meets at least once per month.
The program has allowed participants to take part in the leadership modules provided by the Fanning Institute of Leadership at the University of Georgia. The group travels to Atlanta to observe state government to see how it operates and also can meet with elected leaders.
Cost of the program is $650, which includes overnight accommodation, food and transportation to the capital as well as other expenditures needed for each session.
To nominate someone or receive an application, call Poole at 368-4445 or email The deadline for application submission is the end of August.

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