The crowd that gathered Thursday night to hear from one of the men who hopes to be the next sheriff of Richmond County didn’t get the usual words about politics, voting and law enforcement.
Richard Roundtree had a message of love.
“Love and connections are at the center of our attachments. It is the objective of our lives,” said Roundtree, speaking to more than 60 people at the Foundation Club on Azalea Drive. The Democratic candidate had been invited to speak at the event, put on by Lewis Blanchard, a businessman and friend of sheriff’s Capt. Scott Peebles, who lost to Roundtree in the Aug. 21 runoff election.
Roundtree said the love he was speaking of was the kind espoused by Martin Luther King Jr., Jesus Christ, and poets Roy Croft and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
“We could be healthy. We could be fit. We could be accomplished or we could be wealthy, yet none of these things would mean anything without people to share them with,” he said. “Being connected to others costs nothing, but it does require courage, it does require patience and it does require understanding.”
Roundtree, the Richmond County schools public safety lieutenant who will face Republican Freddie Sanders in November, said it is time for people to come together to heal old wounds that have divided the community. It will be difficult, but it is not something that can’t be achieved, he said.
“If we know our worth, then we need to go out and get our worth. If we know our dreams, then go out and get our dreams,” he said. “If we know that we have the tools to restore this city, then we need to start restoring this city.”
Jerry Tiller, an Augusta native who was listening in the crowd, said the words had an effect.
“He’s right,” Tiller said. “No matter where you live, everybody wants to be safe. You want your children to do better than you did.”
Tiller, a retiree from AT&T, said he intended to support Roundtree in the general election.
“Whoever is elected sheriff is going to need everybody’s help,” he said.