Reader’s Digest notified Hinesville city officials Thursday afternoon its loyal residents’ online postings have earned the city a $1,000 donation and a spot on the magazine’s national RV tour.
Liberty County Chamber Executive Director Leah Poole entered the city in the Reader’s Digest “We Hear You America” online sweepstakes through the chamber’s Facebook page. The sweepstakes officially ends Feb. 7.
However, 90 towns that entered the online contest were recognized prior to the sweepstakes deadline based on their “impassioned stories” written on the “We Hear You America” website, inclusion in a past or upcoming “Best of America” issue, or inclusion in the Reader’s Digest book “Off the Beaten Path,” according to a Reader’s Digest news release.
Poole said the magazine’s ambassadors will arrive at noon Jan. 29 to present a check to Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas. Thomas said the donation would be used for historical preservation. The presentation will be held in the chamber office, inside the Liberty County Development Authority on Highway 84, Poole said.
Poole said she set up a Facebook page via the contest website after a friend read about the sweepstakes and contacted her.
“We thought it would be good for our community, for Liberty County as a whole, and not just for our city Poole said.
Hinesville is in good company according to the Reader’s Digest news release: “Stops on the 100-city tour will include Charlotte, Atlanta, Tampa, Detroit, Cleveland, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Houston, Las Vegas, and San Francisco.”
“There are markets of all sizes and any size town can win,” Reader’s Digest spokesperson Karen Reynolds said. “It just depends on how active the town is and how many cheers (online votes) they give their town.”
Reynolds said the recession has hit many municipalities hard and Reader’s Digest decided the contest would offer struggling towns some financial support and promotional assistance.
“The idea is to draw attention to each town; see what’s needed and what’s great about each town,” she said.
In addition to the 90 city winners, first, second and runner-up monetary prizes will be awarded to 10 other cities. The top prize winner will receive $40,000 plus an appearance in the May issue of Reader’s Digest and a spot on the Reader’s Digest RV tour, according to www.rd.com.
Poole said once Hinesville’s Reader’s Digest contest page was posted to Facebook, the response was immediate.
“On the page people have written why they like Hinesville and Liberty County,” Poole said.
Former Hinesville resident and Army spouse Lisa Smith wrote her views about Hinesville’s symbiotic relationship with Fort Stewart.
“Many people in the U.S. are not aware of the fact that Hinesville is the home of Fort. Stewart, which is the largest military installation in the Southeast,” Smith wrote. “Home to a vast number of soldiers and their families and they have been called on countless times to serve in the past and present conflicts occurring over in the Middle East and other parts of the world. Their sacrifices are amazing, and the way the town pulls together to support these families left without fathers, mothers, or both is never recognized enough. This town needs to be seen for its history and culture, but most of all, the love it has shown for all these soldiers and their families for so many painful years.”
Hinesville resident Anna Phillips wrote that the generally warm and snow-free winters brought her to Hinesville but the people are the reason she stays.
“People ask me what brought me to Hinesville,” Phillips wrote. “Well, I did not want the snow in the north and my son was in the Navy at Mayport. I got a job offer in Hinesville and decided to move south. I have been here for eight years; my son has since moved on. I stay for the people. Hinesville has made me feel like a family member. I do not have plans to leave anytime soon. Thanks Hinesville.”
For more information, go to www.libertycounty.org.