Augusta has some good connections

This is the fourth in a series of articles highlighting good folks who help make the CSRA a much better place.


In past articles the following individuals were saluted: Ann Boardman, Doug Barnard, Clay Boardman, Willie Battle, Clint Bryant, Terry Elam, Martha Scroggs, Randy Smith, Boone Knox, Pete Caye, Julia Jackson, Donnie Thompson, Rick Allen, Dan Blanton, Laurie Ott, Tyrone Butler, Carolyn Dolen, Bo Bovard, Bill Geiger, Richard Jadick, Joannn Tarver, Shirley Lester, Tamera Toogood, John Smith, Jane Howington, Deke Copenhaver, Tom Matthews and Richard Rogers.

These articles serve a number of purposes. 1) to thank people for their outstanding service to our community; 2) to give them a modest boost as they go out to ask for help for their important projects; 3) to highlight them as role models for others; and 4) to inspire them to continue and perhaps increase their already substantial efforts.

The following is the latest list. These folks are not only "doers" who accomplish important things, they are also "connectors." As defined in Malcolm Gladwell's mega-bestseller, The Tipping Point , connectors are people who have a large, interconnected brain trust. If they don't have the answer to your question or problem they will know someone who can and will help.

FRED GEHLE. Fred has led a team of eager volunteers these past three years. The Augusta Richmond County Historical Society has sponsored an effort to interview every veteran of World War II in the CSRA. Well past the 500 mark, these interviews are being sent to the National Archives.

In addition, each veteran gets a DVD copy of his or her interview. Fred receives no compensation for his hard work. Also, Fred has recruited Mark Albertin, Augusta's first-rate videographer, to create a 70-minute DVD that will highlight many of these remarkable stories.

MIKE FIRMIN. Universally admired for his profound dedication to serving the hungry poor among us, Mike has led Golden Harvest Food Bank ever since it was created in 1982. His great accomplishment this past year has been the construction of the magnificent new Masters Table Soup Kitchen on Fenwick Street.

Raising the funds in less than a year and getting the construction done quickly are two accomplishments that Mike and his team of dedicated employees and volunteers can quietly celebrate.

CHARLIE BELLMANN. Charlie's work with Hope House has been outstanding. He has recruited a powerful board, sought out funds from various sources and taken actions that will serve many women in our area. These women suffer from the disease of substance abuse as well as mental health disorders.

For many years Charlie has provided solid leadership to the CSRA Community Foundation, the CSRA United Way and the Thomson United Way. A quiet, unassuming man, Charlie deserves praise for the many kindnesses he has showered on the less fortunate among us.

KATHI DIMMOCK. Kathi's efforts to make the Westobou Festival such a grand success are nothing short of amazing. Coordinating with creative people is inherently challenging. Just imagine how many issues she faces in dealing with more than 200 groups of artists.

The Westibou schedule for this September is even more impressive than last year's. Be sure to sign up for events soon -- many events were total sellouts last year. (See

KRISTINE HAMILTON. In a period when the Augusta Museum of History has faced serious financial issues, Kristine, who serves as the operations officer at the museum, has used her considerable technical, auditing and marketing skills to assist the executive director, Nancy Glaser, and the board of trustees in making some very difficult decisions.

Her love for the museum, her creativity and her willingness to work very hard are all most impressive. Want to make this fine person happy? Become a member. Call 706-722-8454 for various membership options.

TOM SUTHERLAND. Tom has the skills of a first-class juggler.

He has made many contributions to the Kiwanis Club of Augusta, our new library, the Augusta Museum of History, the Civil War Round Table and other organizations that enrich our lives. When asked to support a good cause, Tom does not know how to say no.

JEFF SCHWAB. The executive director of the Georgia-Carolina Council, Boy Scouts of America, Jeff has led a wonderful team of dedicated Scout leaders. What is happening at the Knox Scout Reservation in Lincoln County this summer is amazing. Soon, we will have the finest Scout reservation in the Southeast.

The Jimmie Dyess Days last fall at Fort Gordon, with over 3,500 Scouts and Scout leaders in attendance, was another great success. The Fleur de Lis dinner each November has flourished and grown each year. On Nov. 5, Medal of Honor recipient and Eagle Scout Leo Thorsness will be the honored guest. Incidentally, the time to make reservations for that dinner is now: 706-733-5277.

(Perry M Smith serves as president of the board of trustees of the Augusta Museum of History and as secretary of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation. His e-mail address is