Here’s a different sort of feel-good story for Christmas.
Bryan County employees, looking out for the safety and well-being of the county’s citizens, have helped to ease an expensive hardship faced by a few Ellabell residents.
It all began a few weeks ago when code enforcement officer Tiffany Maxwell became aware of two Olive Branch Road homes in need of repairs. Upon investigation, she learned that the homes also lacked septic systems. Although Maxwell contacted several nonprofits and charitable agencies to seek assistance on behalf of the homes’ residents, she was unable to secure help. She learned sewage disposal systems needed to be in place before any funds could be rendered for repairs.
Maxwell contacted Bryan County Environmental Health Director Mike May and they began to discuss the situation and explore other ways to support the residents.
Septic systems cost approximately $5,000, including labor and materials, which the residents could not afford. May attended a Public Health Department meeting a week or so later where his supervisor, Brant Phelps, mentioned needing to schedule a septic system installation for training purposes. He asked if anyone in the department knew of a dwelling that needed a septic system repair or new installation.
On occasion, septic companies will donate systems or heavily discount them for those in need.
May immediately thought of the two homes on Olive Branch. He spoke up and, after getting the go-ahead, led the effort to secure a septic system for the Ellabell families.
“When the opportunity arises to do something helpful for some members of our community, we’re happy to seize it and do whatever we can to ensure it works out,” May said.
“The holiday season can be a tough time of year, financially, for a lot of folks, so we feel like arranging this system installation is especially significant right now. Everyone who worked together to help make it happen is really thrilled they were able to contribute. It’s a wonderful collaboration.”
Jeremy Clark of Richmond Hill-based Clark Services, Inc. installed the system for free. John Ford donated the drain field products on behalf of his company, Infiltrator Water Technologies, and Statesboro- based KEN-BRICK provided the tank at cost.
The families will spend approximately $400 each to get the septic system installed.
Bryan County Administrator Ben Taylor was happy to hear about county employees going the extra mile to help families in need, but he said he isn’t surprised. “I know our staffers and department heads are the best there are. The county’s employees genuinely care about the community they serve and never hesitate to log extra time and effort to assist residents. I’m proud of them and feel fortunate to live right here, surrounded by people who support each other,” Taylor said.