OUR VIEW: Benefit for Baker shows community

Published 8:00 pm Tuesday, August 20, 2019

There are plenty of reasons on an everyday basis to be extremely proud of being from Troup County.

We’re sure many are giving us a collective eyeroll right now, but we really mean it. This community comes together when someone is in need, whether it’s during the Toys for Tots drive each Christmas or in reaction to a deadly tornado in a nearby state. 

When nonprofits hold events, they often fill up quickly. In just the last few weeks, Harmony House’s West Point Lake Dragon Boat Race and the Friends of the Thread’s Dancing with the Thread brought in a lot of funding, which will help both continue their great work in our community.

A recent event by the Troup County Sheriff’s Office really hits our overall point home though. The TCSO held a benefit ride for longtime law enforcement officer Billy Baker, who worked for many years for the LaGrange Police Department and is in his fourth year with the sheriff’s office. Baker has been diagnosed with stage four esophageal cancer, and his fellow law enforcement officers came together to create a special event in his honor.

People came from all over Troup County and nearby counties to ride a Jeep or motorcycle, to bid on items and to support Baker. 

“This is a celebration,” Baker said. “This is what people do that care, and I never realized so many people in this community care so much, and it’s very clear that they do.”

More than $24,000 was raised, which will go directly to Baker’s medical bills, which are already in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“I am not going to give up,” Baker said. “I have never been a quitter, and I am not going to stop now. I am going to fight until I cannot anymore.” 

Baker’s situation and his upbeat outlook really puts life into perspective for the rest of us as well. All of us have things to take care of throughout the day, many of them tasks that we don’t want to do. However, all of those minute tasks don’t mean so much at all when you consider what Baker and many others are going through right now.

“They are very aggressive in going after this. The chemo is rough,” Baker said. “It makes it nauseating. You good days and you have bad days.”

Our thoughts are with Baker as he continues his fight. One thing is clear — there are a ton of people in this community who are praying for him and doing all they can to help him. 

That’s what makes this community so special.