The Sunshine House Regional Children’s Advocacy Center held its Annual Appreciation Meeting on November 2, 2023, at East Georgia State College. Over 130 friends and supporters from the five counties were present. Board President Jean Schwabe welcomed Representative Butch Parrish, District Attorney Tripp Fitzner, Sheriff Jeffrey Brewer, Chief Randy Ellison, Metter Mayor Ed Boyd and former Metter Mayor Billy Trapnell. Mrs. Ann Crider greeted guests as they arrived. Assistant District Attorney Jessica Black Wilson sang a beautiful rendition of “God Bless America” and Board Member Kenny Griffin asked the blessing.
Speaker for the event was Joni Poole Copeland, a survivor of rape at the age of 16 who told of the benefits of counseling from The Sunshine House CAC over a three-year period. After that time, she went on to graduate from East Georgia State College as well as Georgia Southern University. She is currently working at Plant Vogel where she has become a certified electrician and recently brought a check to The Sunshine House CAC for $500 from her Union.
Following her moving address, area donors were recognized including Richard Daniels of Daniels Chevrolet, and donor of the year was awarded to Mill Creek Foundation in memory of Denny Key. Sandersville Sheriff’s Department represented by Captain Trey Burgamy and other members presented the Multidisciplinary Team Award to Investigators Richard Peacock, Ashley Riner and Angie Wilkerson of the Swainsboro Police Department. They were recognized for their long-standing teamwork. Over the years their support of the case review process which prevents cases from falling through the cracks and holds all members accountable has had a profound bearing on keeping children safe and bringing justice for children. Volunteer of the Year went to the Rusty Lane family for their work with the Give-A-Thon and other board activities. The Donor Faithful Giving Award was presented to our friends of UPS whose men contribute to Christmas for Sunshine House Children every year. The Faith Community Award went to the Asbury Sunday School Class of Sandersville United Methodist Church. Chicken of the Sea Employees received the Donor In-Kind Award for their giving to support families in Toombs County. The coveted Child Advocate Award was presented posthumously to longtime Board Member and Board President H. Wilder Smith, Jr.
Yellow mums that decorated tables were given to a guest at each table. The Sunshine House CAC is grateful to utilize the lovely facility provided by East Georgia State College. Board Treasurer G.W Johnson thanked the guests for coming and expressed appreciation for EGSC’s partnership in allowing us to use their facility.