Bryan County deserves a pat on the back.
It was announced last week at the Hyatt Regency in Savannah that the United Way of the Coastal Empire exceeded its annual fundraising goal by around $150,000, or close to 2 percent, bringing in a record $8.9 million.
That’s impressive by any standards, but what we at the Bryan County News are taken aback with is that the United Way of Bryan County — the smallest division of the coastal area fundraising organization — also beat its campaign goal of $64,000 by more than $18,000. The division brought in a total of $82,658 — nearly 30 percent more than its 2012 goal and far more than has ever been raised in the county, according to United Way officials.
But the generosity of Bryan County’s residents seldom ceases to impress, be it on the grand scale of a well-known organization like the United Way, or in the efforts of neighbors, friends and family coming together to help a family in need.
The latter took place over the weekend when a community fundraiser in downtown Pembroke, complete with bounce houses, pony rides and a rummage sale, was put together in about a week’s time for the benefit of the Beasley/Newman family, who were victims of a fire that claimed not only their mobile home in Ellabell, but also the lives of their two youngest children, Gavin Newman, 3, and Ivan Newman, 4.
The boys’ mother, Crystal Beasley, father, Randal Newman Jr., and brother, 6-year-old Aden Wells, survived the fire but are still being treated for third-degree burns at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta.
The event raised $3,000 that will help pay for medical and housing expenses as well as clothing and other items the family needs. Those funds are in addition to the money that was donated in the family’s honor to cover the cost of the children’s funerals.
Bryan County clearly is a community that takes care of its own. And for that, it should be very proud.
And the giving spirit will hopefully continue as the holiday season moves along. County residents still have plenty of ways to help spread some holiday cheer. Local churches are likely taking donations to help with free holiday meals for families in need, and the Mayors’ Christmas Motorcade that distributes gifts to mental health patients across the state is currently taking donations of new, unused items at Pembroke City Hall, Richmond Hill City Hall and the Richmond Hill Police Department. And of course there is always the Salvation Army kettle drive taking place in front Kroger, Wal-Mart and other area stores that benefits greatly from the couple of dollars or spare change you may have in your pocket.
Too often people must be reminded that the holidays are a time for giving to others. But not in Bryan County — the community here has proven its generosity is there whenever it is needed.