Local leaders walk The Thread and talk community on Facebook Live

Published 6:27 pm Monday, April 20, 2020

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On Saturday morning, community leaders joined local business owner Dale Jackson to walk The Thread to discuss COVID-19 and showcase the community trail.  

As Jackson and his daughter, Camille, walked the different portions of The Thread, County Commission Chair Patrick Crews, Callaway Foundation President Tripp Penn and reading enthusiast Debbie Burdette joined them and the community on Facebook Live.

“We have done a great job [as a community],” Crews said. “One of our main purposes was to keep the courthouse open. There are a lot of important things that go on. We want to do our part to keep business flowing, give people the opportunity to purchase and buy real-estate, file papers regarding estate and things of that nature.”

The Troup County Government Center reduced the number of persons that could enter the courthouse at a time and are screening for temperatures.

“That’s important because that is what the healthcare personnel told us in the very beginning,” Crews said. “I think people have been pleased so far with how things have been going.”

Crews said the government center is still running efficiently and as of Thursday the elections office had already received more than 4,000 absentee ballots.

Crews also said that the community has responded positively during the pandemic.

“I have been very pleased to see all the organizations recognize our hospital workers and provide food for them,” Crews said. “I have seen many churches prepare meals and packages for folks. I have seen a lot of restaurants step up to help people with food. This caught us off guard, and we had to get our feet up under it.”

Crews said it is important for Troup County to be united during this pandemic but to also adhere to safe social distancing practices.

“Keep your six feet during this time, even if others around you aren’t doing it,” Crews said. “We have got to make sure to practice safety measures.”

Dale and Camille started at Southbend Park and walked the complete downtown portion of The Thread to Hollis Hand.

Burdette, also known as Mama Jama, promotes child literacy in the community and has been reading books on her Facebook page for anyone to watch.

“We are doing a reading challenge where you read a book on a video and then challenge one of your friends,” Burdette said. “It has been wonderful. We wanted to encourage the students to read, especially with school being closed and the library being closed. Reading is so important.”

Burdette said they hoped if students saw their friends reading, they would be inclined to read during the pandemic as well.

“We want to make reading a buzz word,” Burdette said. “We want to be the reading capital of the world.”

Students can keep track of their reading and when school opens and the library opens, Burdette plans to tally how much students read over the quarantine.

“It has been a really good challenge,” Burdette said.

Penn finished the last leg of The Thread on Country Club Road with the Jacksons and discussed how much the community has grown.

“I have been here since the early 2000s, so I have seen the community grow, especially in downtown,” Penn said. “We get to see exciting things every day and every week [at the foundation]. We get new ideas every week that could potentially change the community.”

Currently, the Callaway Foundation is in the middle of its strategic planning process to look at what’s next for the community.

“A lot of great things are going on in the community,” Penn said. “The one thing that this virus has done is delayed a lot of plans, but we will certainly get through it and I am excited to see that day.”

Of course, the pandemic has affected people of all ages, including students like Dale’s daughter Camille.

“A lot of people have mentioned to me this is the same as homeschooling because I am homeschooled, but it’s not at all like that,” she said. “I go to co-op once a week and when you go to a co-op, you get to have hands-on learning all day long. During the week, you have a constant connection with your teachers, and it’s a lot easier to keep up with your work.”

Now, Camille isn’t able to go to her co-op classes and has to talk to her teachers electronically.

“Now, I have to schedule a call or something like that,” Camille said. “It’s a lot different for me now.”