A library is proof that you can never have too much of a good thing and Swainsboro resident and business owner, Ricky Stevens, understands the importance of keeping Franklin Memorial Library’s shelves alive, and our children’s imaginations soaring.
“The library has always been an important part of my life.” Stevens began, “Fifty some-odd years ago I can remember going there as a child and checking out Where the Wild Things are, and diving into an adventure every time I opened the pages of an old American war tale or a Georgia History book. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’re going through in life, you can go over there and get you a book and escape to a different place and time and that’s why it’s so important to keep our library thriving.”
Stevens is the owner of Quality Air, the longest operating heating and air conditioning company in Emanuel County that he founded alongside his tech instructor, Gary Hodges, when he was only 21 years old. “I was living in Savannah, pulling up tacks on an old boat, and pretty much immediately decided that it wasn’t for me. So, I met with Gary one Saturday at the Kite Hunting Club and told him that I was homesick and had an idea. After that moment we ran with it and opened our doors in March of 1983.” Stevens explained, “At the time there were several other companies like ours who told us that Swainsboro wasn’t big enough for another one and we wouldn’t last a year’, but 40 years later here we are.” He said with a smile.
Staying forever humble in remembering those first few years of being the underdog business, Stevens, and his crew at Quality Air, have decided to give back to the community in the most benevolent way to celebrate the wonderful 40 years that they have been in business.
“The county’s been good to us so we asked ourselves ‘what can we do for the county?’ and after brainstorming we came up with an ad campaign that let the people of our community know that we appreciate their business. Then we decided to do something monetarily that’ll in turn do something good for the community.” He said.
On Friday, March 10, Stevens presented the first check of many, to Franklin Memorial Library in the amount of $440.40, to honor the 40 years that Quality Air has been in business. What was their reason for presenting the first check to Franklin Memorial Library you might ask? To honor the service that they have always provided for the people of Emanuel County, of course.
“Many of us are blessed to have services like internet browsing, faxing, copying, or reading a book directly from our phones. However, many people right here in Swainsboro, don’t have those same luxuries, but the library offers them for free, so, it was only right that we gave the first check to an organization who gives so much to us.” Stevens explained, “Giving the first check to the library was just a small way that we could give something back to them. Although it may only buy 100 books, those books will be something that will hopefully give someone an escape from realty.”
Throughout the remainder of the year, Stevens hopes that this is something Quality Air can continue to bless others with.
“Everybody is struggling right now. Individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations are struggling so we told ourselves that we could spare this much to help them. If we don’t get anything out of this other than the little awareness that we bring to each of these agencies we’re going to try and feature each month, then it’ll all be worth it.” He concluded through a smile.
Quality Air thanks Emanuel County for the support they have provided them with over the past 40 years.