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Georgia’s First Lady visits base

By Verda L. Parker | | November 23, 2013

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Officials at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany welcomed Sandra Deal, wife of Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, Nov. 12.

Georgia’s First Lady is scheduled to visit three of the state’s military installations that have been grant recipients of the Governor’s Office for Children and Families, which includes MCLB Albany. This is the second year MCLB Albany has been awarded this grant.

The primary goals of the grant are to increase family and unit cohesiveness, and increase employment opportunities. Additional benefits include preparing youth for a safe and healthy transition into adulthood, improving skill sets of military spouses and youth, and providing résumé building opportunities.

Deal and members of her office and her grant review staff were greeted by base commanding officer, Col. Don Davis, participants and volunteers who highlighted benefits, events and programs the installation implemented from the funding.

The base commander encourages networking and volunteerism in local community events. As such, earlier this year, volunteers aboard MCLB Albany participated in two military family services’ projects: the United Way of Southwest Georgia’s Day of Caring and the Make a Difference Day.

According to Sara Anderson, placement coordinator, Child Development Center, MCLB Albany, of the more than 200 volunteers participating in the 2013 Day of Caring event, 102 consisted of registered volunteers from the base’s Volunteer Career Development Program, as well as other base personnel.

In his remarks, Davis emphasized the importance of MCLB Albany’s engagement in and its presence in the Albany community.

“We want the base, the gate of the community, our fence line not to serve as a barrier to keep people out, but to serve as a beacon of hope,” Davis said. “Take advantage of this opportunity to share the blessings that we have.”

Addressing the First Lady, Davis recapped many of the services the volunteer team and facilitators discussed in their presentations.

“These participants that you have just heard from are prime examples of folks who are trying to make a difference here in Albany,” Davis added. “(We) don’t have to go to Iraq or Afghanistan to serve (our) country. (We) can do it right here in Albany, Georgia.”

Davis continued, “I assure you, Ma’am, the money that the state sends this way, we pour right back into the community, because the community needs it. We’re excited and we have a heart for this community. We embrace this community like this community embraces us, and we are so glad to see you here, Ma’am.”

In discussing the governor’s program and its benefits to Georgia communities, Deal reflected on her vision for the distribution to the grant’s recipients.

“When my husband was first elected, I was asked, ‘What projects are you going to be working on?’,” Deal said. “There was so much that needed to be done. I wanted to do everything. I have a passion for the elderly, and I taught school, so I wanted to do something for education.”

Georgia’s First Lady added, “I do what I feel that I need to do with a servant’s heart.”

“If it feels right and if it needs to be done, I just do it,” Deal continued. “So, when people have asked me to do things, and it felt right, I tried to do it.”

Deal credited one of the governor’s staffers with knowing hers, as well as the governor’s vision. According to the First Lady, funding was distributed, throughout the state, based on what the governor’s office had determined was the greatest area of need.


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