Originally created 09/01/06

An example of courage

Courage defined the life of Barbara Ann Thurmond, whose funeral services are being held today at Augusta's Tabernacle Baptist Church. She died much too young at age 56, but in that brief life she displayed enough courage for many lifetimes.

One could even say she wrote the book on courage. Joy in my Heart: My Journey From Hopelessness to Happiness, released two years ago, recounted the pain, trials and tribulations she suffered after being diagnosed with a spinal cord tumor in 1983 that forced her into a wheelchair as a paraplegic. Though Mrs. Thurmond was debilitated physically, she refused to let the illness defeat her feisty spirit and enduring spirituality. "The wheelchair never set boundaries on her," said one friend.

Indeed, the physical challenge simply spurred her to triumphs in other areas of her life. Disgusted by homicides in her community, Mrs. Thurmond and her sister, Earnestine Covington, founded Blacks Against Black Crime Inc. in 1991 to combat Richmond County's rising violent crime rate.

It took considerable personal courage for the sisters to base such a group in their Augusta neighborhood, and to work with law enforcement, yet they did just that. And they were effective too.

District Attorney Danny Craig credits Mrs. Thurmond's leadership for playing a key role in cutting Augusta's crime rate to one of the lowest in the state. "She was effective and never afraid to tell the entire community to 'Stop the violence,' " said Terence Dicks, a longtime friend and fellow organization member.

Mrs. Thurmond's courage was an inspiration to our community. We join her family and wide circle of friends in mourning her passing. She will be sorely missed.


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