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Two single mothers are first to graduate from city program
Police officers
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The Hinesville City Council recognized the first two graduates of the city’s Assets for Independence program Thursday during a regular council meeting.

The AFI program was implemented in 2007 to teach low- to moderate-income single parents how to accumulate assets so they can attain a postsecondary education or buy a home.

Single mothers Gypsy James and Veronica King successfully completed the program through the city’s Community Development Department. James and King each received a $6,000 education grant.

AFI is a matched savings program, meaning participants must save money to receive a matching federal grant. AFI program participants receive financial counseling and attend a homebuyer education workshop in addition to other supportive services.

AFI program coordinator Daisy Jones introduced the graduates. She said James is a mother of four who will use the grant for her son Aaron’s college education.

Aaron graduated from Bradwell Institute in 2011, Jones said.

"He has always been interested in electronics and fixing things, and once he took his first automotive class at Bradwell, he knew exactly what he wanted to do," James said of her son. "Not only does he want to learn how to fix cars, he wants to learn how to build cars and eventually wants to own his own shop and dealership."

King is a nursing student and has three children, Jones said. King originally is from Zaire, Africa, according to Jones.

"Veronica attends Armstrong Atlantic State University, where she studies biology, chemistry and nursing. She is fascinated with anything medically related and will receive her Bachelor of Science in nursing in December 2012. She is using her AFI grant to help fund her education," Jones told the council.

"My greatest hope is that my children understand that you have to earn things in life," King said. "People just don’t give you things; you have to work for them. My main lessons I’ve learned is no matter what the situation is at hand, the day will end and you get to start fresh all over again the next day. Always focus on the positive out of life."

"Veronica has mapped her career path with such precision that she is now prepared to join the (U.S.) Air Force as an officer," Jones added. "Her plan is to use her nursing skills to excel in the armed forces while obtaining her master’s (degree)."

The next AFI orientation will be at 6 p.m. Sept. 27 at Hinesville City Hall. For more information, call 876-6573 or go to

The city council also recognized Hinesville Police Cpls. Joseph Madison and Norman Ewing for exceptional service. Resident Dorothy Rose wrote to city officials asking they commend Madison and Ewing for the way they handled a domestic-dispute call at her daughter’s home this past summer.

"I’m told these are some of the toughest calls police officers have to (respond to) because of the emotions involved," Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas said.

In other city business:

• The council approved a bid to purchase new office furniture for city hall from VIP Office Furniture & Supply. Hinesville City Manager Billy Edwards said the total cost for new and used furniture and interior design fees was $87,874.77.

• Edwards informed council members that the budget workshop for fiscal year 2012 will be from 1-5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19, and from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20, at city hall.

• The city manager also told the council that the city’s official zoning map will be presented for adoption at the November council meeting. The map is updated annually to reflect any changes made in the previous 12 months, Edwards said.

• Halloween trick-or-treating in the city will be from 6-8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 31, city officials said. Edwards said Fort Stewart schedules the same trick-or-treating hours as Hinesville.

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