WoodmenLife donates to Children’s Fund

Community, Education
Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, Board of Education, GEMA, FEMA, Michael Ruple, EMA Director Robert Graham, Lt. Darvin Couch

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Richard York, of WoodmenLife, presented a check to Fannin County School Systems on Friday, Nov. 17, to help with the school system’s Children’s Fund.

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Fannin County School System, WoodmenLife, Children's Fund, Feed Fannin, Family Connection, Superintendent, Dr. Michael Gwatney, Shannon York, Richard York, Social Worker, Tara Cantrell, Betsy Hyde

Dr. Michael Gwatney receives check from Richard York on behalf of the Children’s Fund.

WoodmenLife is a not-for-profit fraternal benefit society. While they are in the business of selling insurance, WoodmenLife also focuses on giving back to the community.

Former Fannin County educator Shannon York explained, “Every year they pick a particular community focus, and this year it was hunger.”

Having worked with Feed Fannin and Family Connection this year, Shannon York said that giving to the Children’s Fund was naturally a good fit for the theme and filling the needs of children in our community not only allows them a better education but also a sense of belonging.

The Children’s Fund is set up through the Fannin County School System. System Social Worker Tara Cantrell explained the workings of the program: “It is a fund that all of the schools have worked to develop because we just keep seeing needs arise. Any of the schools are able to use the funds.”

Established in early 2016, the Children’s Fund has already helped students of Fannin County with purchases of books, glasses, food and clothing.

The fund doesn’t just supply the basic needs of kids, it also gives children opportunities that might not be available to them only for lack of funds. The Children’s Fund has also been used to supply instruments and uniforms as well as help pay for college applications.

Fannin County School Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney pointed out that the Children’s Fund has been self-sustaining through fundraising and donations from the community.

Cantrell added, “We couldn’t do it without community support. It just goes to show how much the community values our children.”

 

 

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Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Light Up Blue Ridge, parade draws thousands

Community

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – The weather was chilly, but the spirits were warm and bright Saturday afternoon and evening during the Light Up Blue Ridge holiday celebration.

The day began with an arrival of a very special guest from the far north when Santa Claus arrived on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway and greeted children, with wishlists in hand, in the downtown city park all afternoon. Storefronts decorated for the fourth annual Holiday Storefront Decorating Contest greeted shoppers up and down the downtown streets as many attempted to get an early jump on their Christmas shopping.

Throughout the day, several musical and theatrical acts entertained passersby at various places all afternoon including the Fannin County High School (FCHS) Theater Group and a barbershop quartet, both of whom performed at Sycamore Crossing, as well as Voices of Hope and a children’s choir led by Connie Davis.

One of the houses in the Gingerbread Village at the BRMAA Art Center.

Over on West Main St., the Blue Ridge Mountains Art Association Art Center hosted the annual Gingerbread House Village for those wanting to take a quick break and warm up from the busy and blustery downtown streets.

By 5:30, night had fallen in north Georgia, and it was time for the annual Blue Ridge Christmas Parade. Starting near First Baptist Church, the parade looped down East Main, Mountain and West Main streets, which were all lined with excited faces, young and old, packed earmuff to earmuff on the sidewalks to take in all of the festivities as well as a few pocketfuls of candy.

The parade featured a number of creatively designed Holiday floats, patriotically adorned Fannin County fire engines, antique cars and tractors, the FCHS Marching Band and even a few local dignitaries as City Councilman Elect Nathan Fitts and Shannon York served as MCs for the night.

The PruittHealth Train Float chugs its way down East Main Street during the annual Blue Ridge Christmas Parade.

Blue Ridge Police Chief Johnny Scearce led the way down the the route in his squad car followed by Mayor Donna Whitener and City Councilwoman Rhonda Thomas close behind in convertibles draped with Christmas lights and City Councilwoman Elect Robbie Cornelius following shortly behind them.

Fannin County Fire and Rescue Chief Larry Thomas escorted Georgia State Senator Steve Gooch in his familiar white truck as Gooch and his family visited Blue Ridge for the day to take in the Holiday celebration and treats.

Georgia Senator Steve Gooch and Fannin County Fire Chief Larry Thomas.

The Fannin and Copper Basin Girl Scouts council marched the route with smiling faces and handfuls of candy to the delight of several youngsters lining the sidewalks.

The FCHS Color Guard and Marching Band served up several rousing renditions of everyone’s favorite Holiday tunes while the Drumline joyfully pounded out the beat on instruments encompassed with red and green Christmas lights.

Several businesses and organizations, including Mercier Orchards, The Home Depot, the Blue Ridge Community Theater and PruittHealth of Blue Ridge among others, contributed elaborately designed floats and displays for the parade. On the Special Olympics float, Snoopy even took time to  make an appearance.

Mary and Joseph keeps watch over Baby Jesus during the Blue Ridge Christmas Parade.

On another float, the Reason for the Season was portrayed as Mary and Joseph watched over Baby Jesus, who was “wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

Rounding out the parade was Jolly Ole Saint Nicholas, who was escorted down the route in an antique 1930 Ford. Later, Santa took center stage in the park as he assisted Shannon York with the lighting of the 27-foot tall Great Tree to the amazement of many enthusiastic onlookers.

As the night quickly grew colder, country music star Collin Raye warmed the hearts of the crowd with a soulful version of O, Holy Night.

Holiday festivities will continue on weekends throughout the season in downtown Blue Ridge leading up to Christmas as the most wonderful time of the year is officially underway.

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Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

 

Author

Jason Beck

Born in Merrillville, Indiana, raised in Cleveland, Tennessee, and currently resides in Copperhill, Tennessee. Graduated from Bradley Central High School in 1996 and attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, eventually earning a B.A. and M.A. in English. Hobbies include hiking, camping and fly-fishing. Interests include baseball, hockey and cliff jumping.

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