Liberty County Sheriff Steve Sikes recently presented a check for $4,700 to Wayne County Sheriff John Carter, who serves as the secretary/treasurer for the Georgia Sheriffs’ Youth Homes.
The funds were collected from a Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling “Super Brawl” event Jan. 24 at Bradwell Institute.
“It means a lot to me,” Sikes said about presenting the check. “It’s an opportunity to give back.”
Carter has served on the board of the Georgia Sheriff’s Youth Homes for about six years. He said he’s been the sheriff of Wayne County for 14 years and has attended the annual Youth Home banquet. After listening to many success stories, he felt he wanted to be more involved and joined the board.
Carter said he’s visited the five Youth Homes in the state, which serve boys and girls who often are abused or neglected or from broken homes. He said his most recent visit was during Christmas time.
“I went to their Christmas party …I f that doesn’t tug at your heart strings, I don’t know what will,” he said, adding fundraisers like the one held at Bradwell are lifelines for the Youth Homes.
“That is how we get the majority of donations to these homes,” he said, adding that while they get a little funding for the Department of Children and Family Services, the homes rely on private donations to keep their doors open to children in need.
“The generosity of the people in the state of Georgia is amazing,” he said. “It’s overwhelming.”
Carter said the annual law-enforcement banquet in Glennville also adds funds to the Youth Homes’ coffers, sometimes to the tune of $10,000.
Carter said there is one success story that sticks in his mind to this day.
“It was several years ago … a kid that came to the boy’s ranch ended up going to Valdosta State University, graduated and was fixing to go to medical school,” Carter said. “He got cancer and he had to overcome that … it was about a year … he eventually made it through medical school, graduated, served his residency and is now practicing in the Atlanta area.”
Carter said the kids are offered every opportunity to go to school and college, which they likely would not have received if forced to stay in an unhealthy home environment.
Sikes added that he feels strong about giving back to the community, especially the youth.
“Most of these kids are from broken homes and could have easily fallen through the cracks,” he said. “But through the Youth Homes they are given the opportunity to have a life. We were happy to be able to do something locally to support this venture and, hopefully, make a difference in the kids’ lives.”
Sikes said the annual law-enforcement banquet is set for April 16.
To donate to the Youth Homes, go to www.georgiasheriffsyouth.org.