More than a dozen active-duty service members and retirees from Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany and Marine Corps Logistics Command demonstrated their strong ties to the local community by participating in a ‘Ties that Bind’ event, June 19, at Phoebe Northwest Conference Center, Albany, Georgia.
The “Ties that Bind” annual luncheon is a program hosted by Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital’s Network of Trust and is designed to coincide with their Men’s Health Weekend and Father’s Day. The intent is to pair local male community leaders with local male youth who, for many, do not have a father in the home or positive male role models in their lives.
"It was an honor to spend time talking with the young boys and fellow adult mentors in the room,” Maj. Gen. Craig Crenshaw, commanding general, LOGCOM, said. “Giving of ourselves to the next generation is what making a difference is all about and the timing could not be more perfect, especially with all that is going on in the world.”
Darrell Sabbs, community benefits coordinator and program organizer, PPMH, added there is no better way to celebrate Father’s Day than to give back to young boys who may not have fathers in their lives or who need to be reminded that they are important, have value and promising futures.
“To have such a distinguished group of men from the community like the Marines, Sailors, bankers, judges, fraternity members and other businessmen sit shoulder to shoulder with these young boys and give of their time to tell them they are important is very valuable,” Sabbs said. “That’s what today is all about.”
“We are giving the neck ties as a rite of passage into manhood,” he added. “Many of them (young boys) don’t have ties and for many of them, they will remember they got it from a general in the Marine Corps or business person for the rest of his life. A simple opportunity of passing on a tie means so much more, it means forming an everlasting bond with a young boy.”
Lt.Col. James Carroll III, commanding officer, MCLB Albany, said today’s event represented a real investment into the lives of the future of our community.
“Even though it was a small amount of time, it was a huge investment that many will remember for the rest of their lives,” Carroll said.
Another volunteer, Kent Morrison, executive director, MCLB Albany, said, “What a wonderful chance to spend time with some young men and share with them our thoughts about life and the opportunities they have before them. It was nice to present them with a tie and hopefully when they wear it, they will think of this day and the words of wisdom that were spoken by our guest speaker.”
In addition to participants from the Boys Club of Albany, Dougherty County Sheriff Kevin Sproul brought several young boys from his Choosing Healthy Activities and Methods Promoting Safety Summer Camp to the event. CHAMPS is a program designed to teach youth to recognize and resist the many direct and subtle pressures that influence them to experiment with alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, inhalants, or other drugs or to engage in violence.
“When Darrell came to me with this idea a few months ago, I told him he was spot on,” Sproul said. “In my 33-plus years of working with the Sheriff’s office here in Dougherty County, I can’t tell you the number of people who have come through the system, especially men, who never had a father, role model or father figure in their life from the male side of the family.”
“It’s important we reach these young boys at an early age, especially with what they are growing up exposed to,” Sproul added.
Guest speaker for the event was Judge Willie E. Lockette, chief judge, Dougherty County Superior Court. Lockette talked about moving mountains, one rock at a time, and offered words of encouragement.
“I salute each of you gathered here today and salute you for your commitment to take one rock at a time upon your shoulders and give of yourselves to these young boys here today,” he said. “To you youth here today, remember that a goal without a plan is nothing but a wish. You must have a plan for your life.”
“Young men, make the best of your life and know that every step you take is important and every decision you make has (potential) consequences. Even though school is fun, don’t miss the idea that now is the time to start planning your future; study hard and respect those who have charge over you,” he added.
Lockette reminded the young men that it is no accident that all of the men with them are doing wonderful and exciting things they no doubt had to work for, but they stand as examples that if they can do it, you can do it too.