Despite heat, humidity and plenty of gnats, about 200 people attended Screven County's 14th Annual 12th District Republican Party Fish Fry on Thursday, including GOP gubernatorial candidate Karen Handel.
The gathering was held, as always, at what used to be called the old Evans Pond House but is now the Osal Evans Pathway Center, just south of Sylvania on U.S. Highway 301. Osal and Margaret Evans were the hosts.
In attendance were some 200 citizens from around the district, as well as current State Senators Tommy Williams and Jack Hill, and State Representatives Jon Burns and Buddy Carter.
Tommy Williams addressed the gathering, telling the crowd "I was plowing firebreaks on my land today, and it made me think we need to plow a lot of firebreaks in both the state and national governments."
He continued, "We need to protect ourselves from the growing national debt, from the fraud and corruption and abuse of power in the government, and from all of the other ills Washington is suffering from."
Sen. Hill agreed, saying very simply "Everybody here needs to vote on August 10th in the run-off, and they need to take a couple of their neighbors with them."
On hand were a number of guests who would most certainly agree: Republican candidates engaged in runoff campaigns.
In addition to Handel, a representative for her runoff opponent Nathan Deal was on hand; as well both 12th District U.S. Congress candidates, Carl Smith and Ray McKinney. Present also were Insurance Commissioner candidate Maria Sheffield and a representative for Public Service Commission candidate Tim Echols.
After each candidate in attendance spoke, Osal and Margaret Evans were called to the microphone. Unbeknownst to them, the Georgia House of Representatives had sent Rep. Burns on a secret mission.
Burns was at the meeting to present to the Evans' a plaque announcing House Resolution #1041, which honored all the work the Evans have done for their community, the areas churches, and the 12th District of the Republican Party.
The resolution stated, in part, "the Pathway Center has provided a positive and nurturing environment, enabling people to discover their God-given purpose and assist them on their divinely destined paths" and "(the) Osal Evans Pathway Center greatly improves the community and uplifts the lives of all."
After Burns read that "the members of this body (House of Representatives) commend the Osal Evans Pathway Center for its many years of steadfast, unselfish, and loving service," the audience came to their feet and applauded the couple.
Asked later why he had created the Pathway Center, Evans said simply that "Trying to make life better for the individuals and the families of Screven County and the surrounding area is what I have been called to do by my risen savior, my Lord, Jesus Christ."