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Letter - Thank you to public safety professionals

To the editor:

Covington and Newton County lost one of our native sons on Nov. 22. Mr. Aubrey Whelchel died in a fire at his home on College Street.

"Mr. Aubrey" will be long remembered not only for his life, but in passing he has left us all with a marvelous collection of gifts to many different organizations. The Humane Society, The Salvation Army, UGA Scholarship Programs, Oxford College, and a gift of land for the development of a large Regional Cultural Center, complete with an amphitheatre, a Civic Center, a small Performing Arts Center, and a museum, a corporate retreat, just to mention a few.

All these facilities will be built with private funds to be located on a 68-acre tract in Newton County.

On the Saturday morning that shattered our lives, as we all stood by awaiting the word that, hopefully, Mr. Aubrey was not at home, the city firefighters and the police officers on the scene worked with precision to do what they do. Not only were they on the job as police and firefighters, they also showed such a degree of compassion and concern for those who waited for the eventual, unwanted outcome.

I do not believe there could be any more dedicated professionals anywhere who would have gone above and beyond the call of duty to realize the trauma endured by all those people who waited with hopes of Mr. Aubrey's safety.

Specifically but not limited to, Officer Julie English and Chief Don Floyd were right there with us to offer support and consolation.

Those of us who were there on College Street on Nov. 22 will forever remember this example of dedication and professionalism.

Thank you, thank you all, so much, from the bottom of our hearts.

Samuel M. Hay, III

Covington