Editor, This is a thank-you note to the residents and officials of your wonderful town of Hinesville. This letter is long overdue, but there is not a day that passes that I do not remember the many kindnesses shown to me when, on March 22, my husband died behind the wheel of our car in Liberty County while traveling from Florida to Philadelphia.
Because of the circumstances, I have forgotten many names, but I do say prayers of thanks for their kindness. Several caring souls immediately stopped their cars to assist us after the accident. These people called 911 for me and stayed until emergency responders arrived. I will never forget the care of the Liberty Regional Medical Center ambulance team or the LRMC staff of Liberty Regional Medical Center — what caring human beings they are.
Thank you to Jan St. John, who sat with me and contacted a priest from nearby St. Stephen Catholic church. Both the priest and the secretary responded immediately.
Thanks to Loretta Burton, who not only took me to Hodges Towing but also made my overnight accommodations at Fairfield Inn and Suites. The kindnesses shown by Mr. Hodges, Hodges Towing, Fairfield Inn and Suites manager Steven Wilkens and his staff were unforgettable. Mr.Wilkens asked about my needs and was always available to meet them. At 3:30 a.m., hot coffee was available when my children arrived from Philadelphia. Mr Wilkens offered us a late checkout to accommodate the commitments we had later that afternoon.
A friend of Mr. Hodges directed me to a wonderful gentleman who fixed my back window, which allowed me to head for home the evening of March 23.
I am grateful to Highway Patrol Officer Melvin, who came to the emergency room to tell me about the car and to offer me assistance.
Lastly, I will never forget the kindness and compassion of your coroner, Reginald Pierce. He stayed with me to make sure my needs were met and gave me his cell-phone number. I did need to call this number many times that evening, and he was always there. He was the liaison between my funeral director and the funeral home in Richmond Hill.
Mr. Pierce facilitated a meeting that allowed my children and me to visit my husband before leaving for Philadelphia. This was no small task, and it made our bereavement process so much easier. Later, Mr. Pierce assisted me with my husband’s death certificate. What a great asset he is for your county government.
I salute the city of Hinesville. May you be successful because your residents certainly strive to make it so. Though heartbroken, it was a wonderful experience — one I shall never forget. On behalf of myself and the late Tom Lederer, I thank you.
— Rita Lederer and the Thomas Lederer family