By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
Last week, several churches in the area were involved in what is one of the best days, or in some cases, best weeks of the year — Serve Day. Nothing energizes Mayor Ronnie like being able to give a good report about good stuff that is going on in Athens-Limestone County, and it seems that Serve Day gets better every year. Many local churches came together for all kinds of projects: walls were built at Family Resource Center, there was cleaning and painting at LCCI (Limestone County Churches Involved), free car washes, bottles of water and trail mix given out, free haircuts given, and more selfless acts too numerous to mention. “It’s one of the things in Athens I am most proud of; service above self,” said Mayor Ronnie. Then he read me a lovely quote by Mother Teresa: “Do small things with great love.”
We moved on to the topic of the upcoming “twinning trip” to Stonehaven, Scotland. Several people are going, and they are all paying their own way. Among the team members are Dr. Trey Holladay of the Athens Public Schools, and one of the things Dr. Holladay is going to look into is the possibility of setting up student exchange programs between the two cities. “The beauty of this trip is the education, arts, history; what a wonderful opportunity,” said the mayor. It’s the first time he has flown internationally since he came home from Vietnam nearly 50 years ago.
Another member of the goodwill team is Deborah Baird, who is the one that got the “twinning trip” going. Her people are from the area of Scotland, originally, and it is because of her desire to get back to her roots that we have a sister city, as well as the opportunity to “bond across the pond.”
The itinerary for the trip is a packed one, and they first fly into Boston, then to Glasgow, and will take a train to Stonehaven. They are going to spend time at the University of Edinburgh, and in Edinburgh will get to meet Ellen Wong, the Consul General. She is in charge of all American Citizen Services there. The “twining team” will also get to visit Parliament in Edinburgh.
One of the things which Mayor Ronnie is especially looking forward to is having the chance to play golf in the land where the game was invented, and while it won’t be at the world-famous St. Andrews course, for a serious golfer as is the mayor, just getting to play golf anywhere in Scotland is a dream come true.
Stonehaven has a population of 11,500 and is run by a man by the name of Phil Mills-Bishop. Mr. Phil will take them to visit castles as well as give them the opportunity to participate in a sporting clay tournament. And I am quite sure he will see to it that Stonehaven will do its best to upstage the hospitality shown to them when they were here this spring, all with a good spirit. I did my best to give the mayor some international travel tips before we prayed, and then it was time once again for Ronnie to roll.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner