AT&T shares the wealth

Scout­ing do­na­tion to help ren­o­vate Bob Woodruff Build­ing

The Covington News - - LOCAL NEWS - By Jenny Thompson

Chil­dren’s hand prints cover the soar­ing, wooden roof planks of The Bob Woodruff Build­ing at the Bert Adams Scout Reser­va­tion in New­ton County.

More than 45 years ago those tiny, dirt-laden hands helped to build the reser­va­tion’s din­ing hall, but un­til re­cently the build­ing sat void of campers.

Lo­cal gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and busi­ness­men — many of whom once par­tic­i­pated in Scout ac­tiv­i­ties — gath­ered in the air-con­di­tion­less Woodruff Build­ing Tues­day with area Boy Scouts lead­ers for lunch and to ex­press grat­i­tude for the AT&T Foun­da­tion’s gift of $120,000 to the At­lanta Area Boy Scouts for the ren­o­va­tion of the Bob Woodruff Build­ing and other ad­di­tions.

“The pur­pose to­day is to cel­e­brate scout­ing, first of all, and the Metro At­lanta Area Coun­cil and all they do for the area,” said Paul Cham­bers, North East Ge­or­gia Dis­trict Man­ager of AT&T Ge­or­gia, “and sec­ond to an­nounce a ma­jor gift to the Scouts here from AT&T.”

Yes­ter­day’s do­na­tion is the first part of a three-year com­mit­ment of AT&T for a to­tal of $350,000.

“Some­times I think when we talk about money and boards, we for­get about the end user and that’s the kids,” Cham­bers said.

BSA At­lanta Area Coun­cil Scout Ex­ec­u­tive Don McCh­es­ney ex­plained how the money will go to­ward the costly ren­o­va­tion of the Bob Woodruff Build­ing as well as the ad­di­tion of com­puter labs, swim­ming pool and Cub World din­ing hall at the Bert Adams Reser­va­tion — which serves a 13county area.

“This year was kind of a chal­lenge,” McCh­es­ney said.

He ex­plained how the din­ing hall was listed as a con­demned build­ing un­til re­cently, and this posed a prob­lem to those feed­ing the some 7,000 campers the reser­va­tion served this sum­mer

McCh­es­ney thanked Bill Smith, se­nior vice pres­i­dent of AT&T South­east for their ded­i­ca­tion to the Scouts.

“With Bill and AT&T’s help we were able to find the cash to do what we wanted to do,” McCh­es­ney said.

Tom Gay of Gay Con­struc­tion helped with the la­bor of the ren­o­va­tion, and McCh­es­ney thanked him as well.

“Our plan for this camp is to ex­pand and ex­pand and ex­pand some more,” McCh­es­ney said.

He said with more ca­pa­bil­i­ties the 1,250-acre reser­va­tion can serve more campers.

Tim Bentsen, Pres­i­dent of the BSA At­lanta Area Coun­cil, said the Bob Woodruff Build­ing was the heart of the reser­va­tion — which in­cludes Camp Emer­son, Gor­man and Jamison — be­cause all who visit will pass through it.

“This do­na­tion is go­ing to be a great start to our cap­i­tal cam­paign,” Bentsen said.

He ex­plained other donors al­ways looked to see how Bell­South had given when for­mu­lat­ing their own gift amounts, and since Bell­South and Cin­gu­lar merged with AT&T, donors will now fol­low AT&T’s lead.

“Scout­ing does so much for the com­mu­nity,” Smith said, “and I hope we show to­day that the new AT&T is ev­ery bit as com­mit­ted to the com­mu­ni­ties we serve as Bell­South was.”

State Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Pow­der Springs) at­tended the meet­ing along with State Sen. John Douglas (R-So­cial Cir­cle), State Rep. Doug Holt (R-So­cial Cir­cle), Cov­ing­ton Mayor Sam Ram­sey and sev­eral mem­bers of the Cov­ing­ton City Coun­cil and New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers.

Ehrhart re­mem­bered camp­ing at Bert Adams Reser­va­tion as a boy in the late 70s, and said he is now the proud fa­ther of a cou­ple of We­be­los.

Jenny Thompson/The Cov­ing­ton News

The big check: AT&T South­east Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent Bill Smith, left, presents a check rep­re­sent­ing the com­pany’s three-year $350,000 com­mit­ment to The At­lanta Area Coun­cil of The Boy Scouts of Amer­ica. AAC Scout Ex­ec­u­tive Don McCh­es­ney, right, ac­cepts the do­na­tion that will largely fund the ren­o­va­tion of The Bob Woodruff Build­ing at The Bert Adams Scout Reser­va­tion in New­ton County.

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