Originally created 09/23/04

Sergeant writes song to inspire others



Army Sgt. Maj. Sammy James and his piano, George, have been making music together for years.

Now, Give Life, a song the Hephzibah resident wrote and recorded with singer Karen Brown, is being sold to educate people in Georgia about the importance of organ and tissue donation.

Mr. James recorded the song in March. Its lyrics include, "You don't have to be able to climb great mountains or soar like eagles to make a difference - give life a chance."

"That's what it's about," he said. "I find a lot of people believe if you say you're a donor, hospitals won't be as likely to save you, so they won't donate because they're afraid. I just believe a lot of lives are lost each year - a lot to do with our lack of knowledge."

The song was a special project for LifeLink of Georgia and the Georgia Coalition on Donation, with proceeds from the single going to the coalition.

"I think everybody should be a donor," said Mr. James, 45, the owner of Destiny Music Group, a small business he started last year in which people can learn to play musical instruments, produce and record compact discs, and reproduce CDs and digital videos.

Mr. James, the minister of music at Faith Outreach Christian Life Center, was so moved after listening to LifeLink education specialist and kidney recipient Bobby Howard speak last year that he wrote the song and became involved with the donor program.

"He talked about the number of minorities waiting on transplants and the number dying," said the father of four. "He felt like because of a lack of information, minorities are not donating. I'm not easily inspired, but I can tell when someone has a heart for what they're doing. After I heard him, before I got to my job the Lord had given me the whole song, and when I got home I got on George."

Mr. James performed the song before a roomful of people during a meeting between the coalition and the governor at the Rotunda in Atlanta in May.

"The families of donors were on one side of the room, and recipients were on the other. There was a mother there whose child had passed and four recipients - two who received kidneys, one with a heart and one with tissue - were standing there, alive, because of her child," he said "It was phenomenal, and I believe my song was able to capture it."

Reach C. Samantha McKevie at (706) 823-3552 or samantha.mckevie@augustachronicle.com.