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Reporter let light shine on Liberty
Amy 2
Amy Swann worked at the Coastal Courier in the late 1990s. - photo by Photo courtesy Melissa Cummings

I met Amy Swann at The Coastal Courier. She and I quickly became comfortable with each other and I will forever cherish her memory.

She was originally from Claxton and I had grown up with family ties to Evans County and Claxton as well. Amy had also been acquainted with my son and daughter-in-law when she lived in Savannah and worked for The Savannah Morning News before coming to Hinesville.

As events would have it she and I would spend much time together as we attempted to come to an understanding about Liberty County’s tax commissioner fiasco. That will remain a story yet to be told. Amy was an outstanding reporter and an excellent writer. She did not attempt to create news with her opinion nor did she attempt to hide anything of truth to misguide the reader. She simply observed and listened carefully before asking questions and making note of events and reports.

Amy ultimately became a frequent visitor and I always cooperated with her as we both had a common goal, which was to record the deeds of our county officials and report them to the public.

Before Amy arrived here there had been a tremendous breach of the public trust by some elected officials in our county government.

As weeks became months and stretched in to several years she always seemed to be the very same, alert and inquiring, but doing so in a fashion that did not annoy. Ultimately she would dig until she had gotten most if not all of the facts.

I was extremely disappointed when she decided to move on and she told me why she was leaving the Courier. She and I had worked endlessly to keep a light shinning on our community and the Liberty County Commission. We both knew even as we had continued to avail the public of the ugly truth that there were forces who did not care for the light to be put on our situation. After her departure and relocation to Augusta we continued to keep contact but ultimately we talked less and less.

Nevertheless she and I had bonded and ours became a lasting friendship. I will forever remember her and I know that I’ll always think of her during moments of reflection of our time together.

Somewhere I recall an expression which said: only the good die young. Amy Swann was good and she has gone on to glory at a young age. She was two decades younger than myself.

I have been in Liberty County for my entire life and I have also visited most of the eastern half of this great country. My travels as well as my time here have left me acquainted with legions of friends from far and wide.

A young and inquisitive lady who wore rings on her toes and who had grown up on the other side of the Fort Stewart reservation in Claxton will forever be remembered by me.

She struggled mightily in her final days but her spirit remained strong as long as I knew her. Now her light has flickered to an end it is so fitting that she was taken away at the end of a long grueling political year in America. Now we face a New Year and a fresh beginning without Amy Swann. May God bless her and finally allow her to rest in peace. In her memory I hope that our seasoned journalists as well as those young aspiring reporters coming up will strive to do as Amy did. Let the light shine on the whole story.

Rest in Peace friend

Editor’s note: Former Liberty County Commission Chairman Jimmy Smith wrote this in memory of Amy Swann, a former Courier journalist who passed away on Christmas Eve in Augusta.

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