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Annual dinner entertains, aids Georgiana children

Bikes and presents filled the room as anxious children heard the story of Christmas recently in Georgiana.

The children and their families were guests at the annual Christmas Collaboration Dinner held at Georgiana Health and Rehabilitation on North Palmer Avenue on Dec. 20.

The program included a welcome by Georgiana Health and Rehabilitation Administrator Matilda Hartley, a prayer by Butler County Commissioner Darrell Sanders, Christmas songs by Jeremy Peagler, the Christmas story as told by Pastor Drone and a final prayer by Georgiana Police Chief Carlton Cook.

In between, more than a dozen children from the area received their gifts and then all enjoyed a delicious Christmas luncheon with employees of the facility. Georgiana School Principal Deedra Benson and Nicki McFerrin of the District Attorney’s Office were also on hand.

“Today marks the third year for our Christmas Collaboration,” Hartley said. “We are very proud to be able to host it here at Georgiana Health and Rehab. I want to express my gratitude to all who so generously helped make this go smoothly.”

Cook spoke as he introduced Sanders for the prayer and spoke of serving the community and others.

“It’s the season, but the season is every day,” Cook said. “The love we should share with each other is every day. Christmas is just one day, our birthdays are just one day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are just one day that they say, but in my book, it’s every day. It has to come from within to reach people on the outside. It’s best that we show it to each other while we can because tomorrow’s not promised. Give people their roses while they can smell them, but also give them while you can. Love these children as if it’s our last day.”

Sanders continued on the theme before offering the prayer.

“God does not bless us just so that we can be blessed,” he said. “God blesses us so that we can be a blessing to others. That’s something I try to remember. It all goes back to love — if you don’t have love, you don’t have anything. To come here today to see community leaders and everybody here today and what we’re doing today is awesome. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for coming together to do this.”

Benson said it was important to have events like the Christmas Collaboration Dinner in the community.

“I’m glad to have the opportunity to be here,” she said. “I spoke with our staff today about some of the things we’re talking about here — about coming together and working together as a family. As we left our meeting today, I gave them this: ‘Today will never come again, tomorrow is not promised. Be a blessing, be a friend — encourage someone. Take time to care and let your words heal and not wound. Be blessed and make sure we appreciate each other.”

Cook and Hartley joined together to pass the presents out and children and families were all smiles.

“I think this will make a Merry Christmas,” he concluded.