It’s a great time to be a resident of Coastal Georgia. As Hinesville’s mayor, this is my favorite part of the year. The people of this great city are out, enjoying the warm weather. Places in the city are buzzing with activity. The purpose of community is even more apparent. I’m even more excited for this week, April 20-26, when we’ll celebrate the people, places and purpose of Hinesville during Georgia Cities Week.
This year, we did things a little differently and had a pre-celebration event April 17. I delivered the State of Hinesville Address at Connection Church during the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce’s Progress Through People Luncheon. The presentation is available on the city’s website.
After taking a short break for Easter weekend, the eighth annual Earth Day celebration is from 3:30-6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the YMCA soccer fields. Four city departments will join organizations from across the county in educating others about our precious planet.
On Wednesday, the Hinesville Area Arts Council will stage its Cupcake War with a community public-safety display from 5:30–7 p.m. at the Liberty County Performing Arts Center in Flemington. Come out to enjoy some sweet treats while learning about public-safety services in our area.
Read Across Liberty is slated for Thursday and Friday. The United Way of the Coastal Empire’s Liberty branch needs volunteers to read in schools. I ask residents to email firstname.lastname@example.org for an opportunity to get students in our area excited about reading.
The citywide cleanup is at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, April 26, in downtown Hinesville’s Bradwell Park. Lunch will be served at noon, and all volunteers will receive a T-shirt and cleanup supplies from Keep Liberty Beautiful. Call 880-4888 to register.
Finally, the celebration week ends with a community concert from 6-8 p.m. Saturday at the Liberty County Performing Arts Center. Tickets cost $5, and proceeds will benefit community ambassadors who will visit Hinesville’s sister city, Marsabit, Kenya, this summer. The event is organized by Coastal Georgia School of Missions.
As part of our local Georgia Cities Week celebration, we held a student essay contest. I had the pleasure of reading nearly 75 essays from local sixth-grade students. In 350 words or less, the essayists describe what they would do if they were mayor. I will select three winners and invite them to city hall. Their essays will be shared on the city’s website and with the Coastal Courier’s readers, who, I’m sure, will enjoy them as much as I did.
Last but not least, none of this would be possible without the city of Hinesville’s incredible staff. Earlier this month, we celebrated our employees’ accomplishments with a recognition ceremony, and we will host an employee luncheon during Georgia Cities Week. You may see some of them featured in our “Employee Salute” in May or on our Facebook page in the near future.
Truly, the people make this place special. I hope we can all come together for the purpose of celebrating each other and enjoying this great weather. For more information on the Georgia Cities Week celebration, go to www.cityofhinesville.org or call 876-3564. We would be happy to tell you more about it.
Thomas was elected mayor of Hinesville in 2007 and re-elected in 2011.