Liberty County has many things to be thankful for this holiday season.
During the 15th Annual Mayor’s Thanksgiving Program presented by the city of Hinesville, local leaders took time to remind everyone of that Nov. 19.
This year’s service of songs, prayer and thanksgiving was held at First Baptist Church in downtown Hinesville. More than 150 elected officials, clergy and citizens gathered to reflect on the year filled with community demonstrations of strength and resiliency.
“This service has become a treasured tradition for me, my wife Debbie, and daughter Meredith,” Allen Brown, Hinesville mayor said. “We always leave uplifted. It’s a shame it takes a hurricane or holiday to slow us down to come together and focus on why we are grateful, but I’m glad we are here together. We are a community; we are family.”
Led by Pastor Richard Hayes, President of the Liberty County United Ministerial Alliance, the program included words for the community, military and nation as well as words of thanksgiving.
Donald Lovette, Chairman of the Liberty County Board of Commissioners, reminded the audience that the community has been standing strong since 1777. He said that everyone was brought together by history, location, leadership and love for Liberty.
Of course, an important part of the resiliency comes with being the home of the 3rd Infantry Division. However, 3rd ID Command Sgt. Maj Martin Conroy made it clear that the soldiers, family members and veterans are equally thankful for the support from the community.
“No matter where our soldiers are, this is our home,” CSM Conroy said.
Interim City Manager Kenneth Howard also reminded everyone that America is our home and that we all must do our part to take care of it. He spoke of how he recalls news headlines from this past year sharing stories of violence, terrorism and divisiveness. However, the core value of freedom remains and it should be our focus and where we draw our strength as U.S. citizens.
“We must continue to stand strong together,” Howard said. “Don’t allow our differences to diminish our dreams.”
Pastor Sinclair Thorne shared similar sentiments with words of thanksgiving. He reminded everyone that the only way to remain strong is through unity and faith in God.
As participants celebrated the strength of the Hinesville area, they also learned about the needs of the community and how they could help through the United Way of the Coastal Empire. The $900 offering collected during the program was donated to the Liberty County branch to fund nonprofits that provide direct human services. Some programs include the City of Hinesville Homeless Prevention Program, Backpack Buddies and Soldier Food Voucher. Organizations such as Liberty County Manna House, CASA, Helen’s Haven, Tri-County Protective Shelter and Fraser Counseling Center also benefit from the funds. Anyone interested in donating can contact Jennifer Darsey at 912-368-4282 or firstname.lastname@example.org.