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Friends of the Fort gets revitalized
Historic state park supporters put new life into fundraising organization
FtMcAllister-Jordan Roberts Sarah Miller Jimmy Burnsed and Beck Burnsed.
Jordan Roberts, left, Sarah Miller, and Jimmy and Becky Burnsed enjoy lunch and good company Saturday during the Friends of the Forts kickoff cookout. - photo by Julia Harison

A cookout fundraiser Saturday marked the rebirth of a group dedicated to raising awareness and funds for a local state historic park.
The Friends of Fort McAllister held the event, complete with a raffle, hot dogs, hamburgers and refreshments. The purpose of the event was to share opportunities on how to help fundraise for the park, as well as the friends group.
“Since 2008, we have lost staff and a lot of our historic sites (in Georgia) have completely shut down,” said Sarah Miller, assistant manager of Fort McAllister State Historic Park. “They have one person living on the park as a caretaker, and that is it. The rest of our historic sites are down to a three-day operation instead of a six-day operation. Thankfully, our historic site is inside of a state park, and that way we can keep the doors open seven days a week. But it is really sad and scary.”
Miller went on to explain coming budget cuts at the state and federal level may affect the park’s operations, which is another reason the Friends of Fort McAllister group is important.
“In 2015, we have to meet our D15 plan, which we are getting cut severely in funding,” Miller said. “Our Friends organization helps with specialized projects, donations, sponsorship, fundraisers and clean ups around the park. It will be the only way to help self-sustain our park.
“Everything we earn in for 2015 is the only revenue we are allowed to spend for the upcoming budget,” she continued. “So it is crucial that we get people involved, make them aware of the park and generate that interest. That converts in to passion, that converts in to awareness to other public and helps keep our park surviving and going.”
Everyone at the cookout was aware what a great treasure Fort McAllister and the state park are to Bryan County and surrounding areas. Bud Light and his friends from the Richmond Hill Senior Center were ready to roll up their sleeves and help out.
“We like to go and that is why we like to help out,” Light said. “There are about 30-35 members of the senior center that want to help the fort.”

Read more in the March 20 edition of the News.

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