Georgians Newsletter

Table of Contents

Did you know?

Known as the sweetest onion in the world, the Vidalia onion can only be grown in the fields around Vidalia and Glennville Georgia.

Stone Mountain near Atlanta is one of the largest single masses of exposed granite in the world.

Welcome to our first edition of the Georgians Newsletter. Our goal is to connect Georgians with Georgia businesses, local communities and charity organizations throughout the state. Please forward this to fellow Georgians and help us spread the word. We'd sure appreciate your comments, suggestions and feedback. And please visit with us at Together, we can accomplish amazing things for Georgia!

Atlanta Metro

Atlanta Botanical Garden an “Oasis of serenity in the city” -

Walk through tropical rain forests, experience the largest orchid center in the world, see poison frogs, and marvel at the incredible blown glass exhibits from world renowned artist Dave Chihuly.

Your “Edu-tainment” experience begins the moment you enter the garden grounds. The garden offers something for every age and every season. The garden has the largest Orchid Center in the world. Over 2,000 naturally occurring species live here and provide an amazing display. In fact, they represent nearly ten percent of all known naturally occurring species of orchids in the world! Experience incredible ecosystems and plant species as you walk through the Tropical Rain Forest house, Desert House, Tropical Rain Forest High Elevation House, Tropical Display House, Native Georgia Environment, and much, more.

Kids squeal with excitement in the Children’s garden. Here, they interact with nature and learn how plants play a part in keeping them healthy. They can watch bees actually making honey at the Interactive Honeycomb exhibit. There’s a Spitting Sunflower for them to play in as well - bring extra clothes as they are sure to get soaking wet! Read a book with your child in Peter Rabbit’s Garden or participate in the weekly Saturday amphitheater events. Coming soon - May through October - a 3,500 square foot, seven train exhibit arrives showcasing the Georgia Mountains, Atlanta and the coastal regions. The entire exhibit is organic except for the train and the tracks.

Did you know that Georgia Bogs play a key role in wetland conservation for Georgia and the world? Learn how carnivorous plants in our Georgia wetlands survive on the nutrients they receive by trapping and digesting insects in the sterile wetland environment. It’s an incredible story that you’ll definitely want to explore!

The Frog Tank exhibit - the only one of its kind and on loan from the American Natural History Museum in New York City – contains poisonous frogs and and frogs of many colors including green, red and orange. This interactive display allows the kids to maneuver a camera and zoom in for close-ups of these incredible frogs. This is a crowd pleaser for both kids and adults!

The garden grows on all that visit and each season offers an ever changing venue from unique flora and fauna to concerts and cocktails during warmer nights. Experience what many say is one of the best sunsets in the city overlooking the garden with the city of Atlanta in the background. Visit often and refresh your mind, body and soul. You’ll be glad you did!

The garden is open year round. Visit or call 404.876.5859 for more details.

Georgia Coast

America's 2nd Oldest City - St. Marys, Georgia -

St. Marys was initially founded in the mid 1500s and is recognized as America’s second oldest city. The city is a friendly small coastal village rich in history, natural beauty, and southern hospitality. Located in southeast Georgia, St. Marys is home to many interesting things to see and do: Orange Hall House Museum, the Toonerville Trolley, historic churches, the Oak Grove Cemetery, and the St. Marys Submarine Museum.

Cumberland Island National Seashore is a short 45 minute boat ride away and is the largest and southernmost barrier island in Georgia. After a short ferry ride you will arrive on 17.5 miles of secluded, white, sandy beaches that encompass over 36,000 acres (16,850 are marsh, mud flats, and tidal creeks).

Hit the island for the day, or make arrangements to camp (primitive style) for a few days. You’ll find a lot of wildlife on the island including many different species of birds, wild turkeys, wild horses, white-tailed deer, raccoons, bull alligators, and armadillos. In the saltwater marshes you’ll find any number of fish, shellfish, and birds. The loggerhead turtles love to come ashore and lay their eggs.

See how the Carnegie family lived on the island while visiting Plum Orchard, the Georgian Revival-style mansion built in 1898. Also see the ruins of their once prestigious Dungeness estate. You’ll quickly Discover why the beach on Cumberland Island has been selected as One of America’s Ten Best Beaches by the Travel Channel for 2005!

For more information please see or

Georgia Historic South

Dublin-Laurens County Saint Patrick’s Festival – 30 Day Celebration!

The Order of Shillelagh and the Order of Blarney Stone welcome you to the 40th annual St. Patrick’s Festival of Dublin-Laurens County, during the month of March. Over 45 events make it a festival like no other.

Events take place during the entire month and include activities such as bowling, golf and racquetball tournaments, a rifle competition, a bridge & canasta benefit, a youth rally, memory walk for seniors, a kite flying jamboree, pageants and balls, square dancing, a treasures of the ARK flea market, Irish music celebration, concert of classics, battle of the bands, awards banquet, a pancake supper, a quilt show, the Irish Chamber breakfast and a Leprechaun contest.

New events this year include A One Woman Show, sponsored by the Advocates for Alzheimer’s Care, Inc., which will be held at the VA Medical Center on March 12th. The 2005 Georgia State Air Show will be an all day event on March 26th at the Eastman, Georgia Aviation and technical college. To kick off this year’s festival there will be a St. Patrick’s Spell Off March 1st at the Dublin Mall sponsored by the CIS, Communities in Schools of Laurens County-CLCP, and the HGTC Adult Literacy Department.

An Irish Hot Air Balloon Festival will be March 4-6 offering free admission to view and even free balloon rides. For the brave and adventurous a Skydiving event will be held the 17th-20th offering tandem jumps, and observer rides.

This year the Super Weekend will be March 19-20. Saturday the Leprechaun Road Race will begin at 8:00 am and will offer 1M, 4K, and 10K races. The Parade will begin at 11:30 a.m. in downtown Dublin. Arts & Crafts, food, entertainment and activities for the children will take place in Stubbs Park throughout the day. Other activities include an artist guild show, emerald city show and shine, a fly in, a gospel sing, Irish corn beef and cabbage dinner, library book sale, a quilt show and Morning Prayer community worship. Main Street Munchies, a downtown tasting event, will be Saturday evening from 5-9p.m. Sunday kicks off with a Bike Ride starting at the Dublin Mall.

For more information on the Festival visit or call 478-272-5546 to receive information on the events from the Dublin-Laurens County Chamber of Commerce.

Georgia Mountains

“Band of Brothers,” “Saving Private Ryan,” and “The Dirty Dozen” all have ties to Georgia’s Camp Toccoa.

Upon arriving at the Camp, many thought running Currahee Mountain – a six mile run, three miles uphill and back down - would be the last test they would have to perform. Running Currahee Mountain, as many as three times a day, the Men, still contribute their survival to the vigorous training at the mountain.

During the early years of WWII there were military training camps springing up all over the United States, some almost overnight. Located in the hills of northeast Georgia, a Georgia National Guard training facility near Currahee Mountain, outside the city limits of the city of Toccoa, was already in existence.

Early in 1942, the camp, then named Camp Toombs, was later to become one of the most unique and specialized training camps during WWII, a paratrooper training camp. Unheard of by most, the camp would be the home to young men that wished to serve their country during the war by jumping out of planes. Offered an extra $50.00 a month, the soldiers would be trained to survive under crude environments, vigorous exercise and last of all, jump out of planes behind enemy lines in Europe.

Under the command of Colonel Robert Sink, once the men arrived at the train depot, downtown, were instructed to walk up highway 13, passed a casket factory to their new home, Camp Toombs. After some thought Col Sink did not think it was too encouraging to ask the soldiers to pass a casket factory to the high risk training of jumping out of planes. So the name of the camp was changed to Camp Toccoa. The camp was constantly growing, built to accommodate as many as 6,000 men at a time; the list eventfully grew to over 17,000 men training at the camp over a three year period. Units activated at the camp were, 501st, 506th, 511th and 517th, assigned to the 101st Airborne Division. Now known as Screaming Eagles, some of their patches and slogans are a tribute to Currahee Mountain, still today.

The camp dismantled soon after the war, was soon forgotten by the community, many not even aware of the importance the training later played during the war. The Historical Society has created a tribute to the Men of Camp Toccoa with a military exhibit in their museum. Interest in Toccoa’s contribution to the Airborne began to grow after the Society began holding Camp Toccoa reunions in the early 1990’s. Since that time, the museum and Currahee Mountain have become a destination stop for many researching the history of their fathers and grandfathers military involvement with the elite group of paratroopers of WWII. Visited by many WWII historians and fans of the group, the camp has been featured in many books, articles, and movies. Soldiers featured in “Saving Private Ryan”, ‘Band of Brothers” and “The Dirty Dozen” trained at Camp Toccoa.

The museum is moving to a new home soon. The old train depot, located in downtown Toccoa, is being renovated and will provide more room to house Camp Toccoa displays. Horse stables, from England that once served as barracks for some of the paratroopers during the war, were recently acquired and will be attached to the Train Depot. The new home is sure to improve an already incredible museum experience! Make plans to visit the museum and learn how Georgians of Stephens County and the men of Camp Toccoa impacted the world.

Stephens County Historical Society can be reached at 706-282-5055 or Museum is located at 313 Pond Street and is open Monday, Friday, and Saturday 1:00 to 4:00 PM. Stephens County Historical Society can be reached at 706-282-5055 or Museum is located at 313 Pond Street and is open Monday, Friday, Saturday 1:00 to 4:00 PM.

Georgia Southern Rivers

All Aboard the SAM Shortline Excursion Train!

Take the family on an excursion they’ll never forget. Travel on a vintage passenger train and visit historic South Georgia towns including Cordele, Georgia Veterans State Park, Americus, Leslie, and Archery.

The vintage train runs on the line used by the early Savannah, Americus and & Montgomery Railroad during the 1880s, headed by Colonel Samuel Hugh Hawkins of Americus. The excursion train is named in honor of the original railroad and its leader.

The train has several schedules and stops in several towns along the way to allow ample time to explore each local community. Many folks begin the day with breakfast in Cordele at the official beginning of the excursion - however you may board the train at any of its stops. Next on the route is Georgia Veterans State Park featuring sparkling Lake Blackshear, championship golf, and fascinating military exhibits. There is a beautiful lodge there with great dining and each room has a private patio and view of Lake Blackshear.

According to the schedule you select, your next stop could be the town of Leslie which is home of the Rural Telephone Museum located in a beautifully restored cotton warehouse. The museum showcases switchboards, classic cars, colorful murals and antique telephones. Americus is your next stop. This Victorian town offers many quaint shops. Be sure to tour the world headquarters of Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village and see the different homes they build around the world. In fact, you may want to make Americus a relaxing weekend excursion and stay at the award winning 1892 Windsor Hotel & Spa and catch a show at the vintage 1921 Rylander Theater.

Plains is your next stop made famous by President Jimmy Carter. While there, browse President Carter’s campaign museum and an antique mall. Visit the Plains Peanuts or Plains Trading Post and buy a bag of peanuts. Consider spending Saturday night at the Plains Inn at a future date and attend Sunday school taught by President Carter at the local Baptist Church. Plan early as the Inn and Sunday school fill up quickly. See for the Sunday School schedule.

Archery is just a bit further down the tracks and features President Carter’s boyhood home. The train stops on Saturdays just steps from his old front porch and you’ll have plenty of time to explore the farm before the SAM Shortline returns to Cordele.

For more SAM Shortline Excursion information, please visit or contact 1-877-GA-RAILS or 229.276.0755. Reservation office is open Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Coach tickets are $21.95 for adults and $11.95 for children. Premium passengers have the luxury of tables and chairs for $28.95 and $16.95. Please add 7% tax to all ticket prices.

Georgia Charity Profile

Bringing Hope and Will to Georgia’s Children -

Ranked one of the top pediatric hospitals in the nation by Child magazine and U.S.News & World Report, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is dedicated to enhancing the lives of children through excellence in patient care, research and education. As a not-for-profit organization, Children’s benefits from the generous philanthropic and volunteer support of our community and state.

Interestingly, the colorful boy and girl you see in the Children’s logo have names—Hope and Will. Joined hand in hand, Hope and Will are named for the two elements critical to helping sick and injured children. They are 6 years old, born after the successful merger of Egleston and Scottish Rite hospitals to form Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Thanks to community support and collaboration with Emory University School of Medicine, Children’s has since built three nationally recognized centers of excellence in cancer and blood disorders, cardiac care, and transplantation. Children’s participates in more than 400 research studies each year, along with helping train tomorrow’s medical leaders through residencies and fellowships.

Today, Children’s sees more than 460,000 annual patient visits—from children all over Georgia. The state’s largest Medicaid provider, Children’s provides an estimated $60 million in unreimbursed care to families in need annually. Children’s is truly a safety net for Georgia’s children.

Children’s also reaches out into the community with wellness and prevention programs aimed at keeping children out of the hospital. The Children’s Board prioritizes advocacy programs like the child safety seat program, asthma education, and obesity and Type 2 diabetes prevention.

While staying at the forefront of pediatric medicine is always a challenge, Children’s must also keep an eye on another source of mounting pressure. Atlanta has one of the fastest growing pediatric populations in the country, which means one thing to Children’s. The organization must act now to grow its hospital facilities and expand its programs and services in order to meet this swelling demand.

Today, Children’s stands at a critical crossroads and must turn to the community once again to meet this challenge. As a result, Children’s will launch the largest fundraising campaign in its history in 2005 to fund the future.

Clearly, there is no greater cause than protecting the health of our children. For Children’s, success means giving more children a better chance at healthier futures. Success means offering our children hope and will.

For more information on Children’s, visit To learn how to share your support, please visit or call 404-785-GIVE.

Making a Difference

A Mother's Grace

“For unto whosoever much is given of him, shall be much required”- Luke 12:48 KJV. That is what Lori Edwards was taught early in life by her parents (Mr. and Mrs. Lester and Gurvis Hewell of Buckhead, Georgia).

Growing up in Georgia, Lori remembers her parents involving the entire family in helping others in the local community. “My father made helping others a part of our family. It was a natural part of what we did and how we lived. It continues to have an impact on me today – it’s a part of who I am” says Lori.

Lori shares “I worry that we have a generation of young people growing up today that have an ‘it’s all about me’ attitude and focus. Many of this generation have not been shown how to volunteer their time, share their talents, invest in the community, and give of themselves to help others.” She learned early, it’s not the things we have in life that matters, it’s what we do for others that matters most.

Determined to continue the legacy of giving, Lori searched for a way to participate with her daughter, Grace, in giving something back. They discovered a program called the National Charity League (NCL) – an organization of mothers and daughters who join together in community involvement through local chapters.

Through the NCL- Buckhead chapter, Lori and Grace have contributed time and resources to various Georgia non-profit organizations including My House, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer, Atlanta Botanical Garden, Meals on Wheels, Dorothy C. Benson Center, and many others. They serve others – together.

One of the keys to successful volunteering is finding a natural interest and/or talent that your child has (the outdoors, children, sports, animals, etc.) and then finding an organization that serves people within that area of interest. For Grace, it was serving children. In fact, her dream is to become a Kindergarten teacher. Grace’s desires to serve were also fostered early on by her Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Georgiana Hendrickson. She taught them to share, love, care for, and be kind to others.

Success in volunteering means making it a priority. Lori and Grace suggest that young people get involved in volunteer activities outside of school. Volunteering is a great way to expand your education, interact with people, grow as a human being, and make a difference.

“My parents taught us that ‘true joy’ happens when helping others, expecting nothing in return.” Lori and Grace continue the legacy of love, service, and caring for others. We encourage each of you to involve your young Georgians in making a difference in your local community.