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VIDEO: New learning center bears name of fallen deputy

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By Lewis Levine and the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce.

The Liberty County Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting for the Deputy Sheldon G. Whiteman Inclusive Academy on Friday, Jan. 21, at their location, 938 Elma G Miles Parkway, Hinesville (next to Liberty Cycle Polaris).

Desiree Riley, Office Administrator for the Chamber, welcomed those in attendance and introduced Jimmy Shanken, Chairman of the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce. Shanken congratulated the owners and welcomed them as new members of the Chamber family.

Alisa-Ann Whiteman, widow of Deputy Sheldon G. Whiteman, spoke to those gathered about the services that the organization would be offering. Ms. Whiteman had staff and parent testimonies during the event to let those present know about the great things that the academy is doing.

The mission of the organization is to provide cognitive learning strategies with specially designed instruction according to the individual’s education plan. With an inspirational and therapeutic environment with positive affirmations and a growth mindset, the organization believes everyone can discover their full potential for successful outcomes.

It was two years ago this weekend when the family got the devastating news of Officer Whiteman’s death, crushing the family. Whiteman was assisting the Ludowici Police Department pursue a subject who started a high-speed chase. Whiteman lost control of his patrol car on Highway 57, crashing into the woods and trees.

Prior to his death, the officer and his wife had a dream of opening a learning center for special needs children. This past Friday, the dream became reality. Whiteman and her sons ushered in their guests and gave everyone a tour.

“I’m excited,” she said. “It’s a bittersweet moment.”

Whiteman said her husband had shared this vision, influenced by their eldest son, who is a child with special needs. Whiteman said her husband wanted to provide a therapeutic place where children could come and relax while learning.

“Also, his love and passion for the community, we just want that to live on through the Deputy Whiteman Inclusive Academy,” she said, calling her husband her hero and warrior. She said her husband loved all children with special needs, and this academy will serve to provide unconditional love for those who attend. She said putting the academy together helped her and her kids heal.

She said they plan to reinforce the kids with positive affirmations and embrace the power of “yet.”

“Meaning, it is OK if they don’t know something yet,” she said. “We want students and parents to be able to understand the small victories that come with learning.”

The students in the academy will receive cognitive instruction and will be encouraged to target and master their Individualized Educational Plans (IEPs). Hours are from 2:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. For more information, call (912) 492-6331, or visit their website at https://deputywhiteman