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Sheriff’s home hosts Christmas party

Sheriffs from across Georgia came together Tuesday night to help celebrate Christmas at the Pineland Georgia Sheriff’s Youth Home. The night started with lessons and carols for the boys and the community in the chapel before holding a Christmas dinner.

The night is meant to honor the residents at the home and thank the staff, according to Sheriff James Woodruff.

“Every year we come out and spend this time together. It’s really important that we just come out and share time together and thank everybody. We start out here with songs, different people perform every year and read stories,” Woodruff said. “Then we move over to the gym where we eat dinner and then each sheriff comes up and presents the boys with a gift.”

There are five sheriffs’ homes in the state. Pineland is a campus for boys.

Woodruff said the homes are meant for children who can’t live at home, but need a place to stay.

“Pineland is a place where kids come to stay when there’s something going on in their homes and it’s not their fault,” he said. “We’re like a big foster home for them, and so some come for a week, some come for a month, some come for six months, some come for several years, so they come and go throughout the year.”

Terry Norris, Georgia Sheriff’s Association Executive Director, said four of the campuses have annual parties, and the sheriffs make sure to attend them all.

“This is one of the Christmas parties for the children and the communities always come together in a fine fashion to help celebrate Christmas and tell these children that they’re loved,” Norris said. “A lot of sheriffs come and a lot of other folks.”

Cowetta County Sheriff Mike Yeager said the sheriffs also hold events through the year with the homes’ residents.

“It’s a good time for the boys, not only at this time but, we’ve tried to get involved with them throughout the whole year. We’ve had several outings with the boys throughout the year as far as going bowling and to the rodeo,” Yeager said.

Shaun Eilders, Director of Childcare for the Youth Homes, said he was thankful for all of the sheriffs’ work with the campuses through the year.

“We could not be in business if it wasn’t for the work of the sheriffs, and they’re super, super supportive of us and all of our campuses,” Eilders said. “We’re very thankful for all the support they gave us, not only with the sheriffs, but the communities local communities do a great job supporting the campuses and their communities to make sure the children are well taken care of and seen about.”