Our thoughts A rea­son to unite

The Covington News - - OPINION -

A week ago, the coun­try strug­gled as di­vi­sive­ness spread across Amer­ica. Videos on tele­vi­sion news net­works showed an­gry groups protest­ing against what they felt was a po­lit­i­cal in­jus­tice.

This week, the strug­gle in New­ton County went well beyond po­lit­i­cal di­vid­ed­ness, name call­ing, bul­ly­ing and pet­ti­ness.

Our com­mu­nity didn’t strug­gle this week, it suf­fered. Col­lec­tively, we grieved. And we will con­tinue to grieve.

On the heels of hear­ing about how hor­ri­ble things were (or were go­ing to be­come) be­cause of the re­sults of an elec­tion, New­ton County was struck with real hor­ror. We won’t be able to wait and see what hap­pens. We won’t get a re­prieve from our grief. It will for­ever be a part of New­ton County.

A deputy sher­iff’s of­fi­cer died Tues­day morn­ing af­ter fight­ing for his life af­ter an ac­ci­dent on his way to an emer­gency call in Oc­to­ber.

One of the men and women sworn to pro­tect us; one of many who head out the door daily not know­ing what dan­gers they may face in order to help com­plete strangers; one of many who deals with apa­thy and ha­tred from those who have never met them per­son­ally; one of our very own died in the ser­vice of New­ton County.

The flags at New­ton County build­ings were at half­mast, sig­nal­ing to all a time of mourn­ing.

We were re­minded this week how frag­ile things are. New­ton County Deputy Justin White went to work on Oct. 30 think­ing he would have Oct. 31 to hug his girl­friend and be with his daugh­ter. In­stead, he spent the next few weeks in the in­ten­sive care unit of an At­lanta hos­pi­tal while doc­tors waited for him to heal enough to per­form surgery.

Justin White didn’t heal, and on Tues­day an an­nounce­ment was made that took the air out of New­ton County.

That evening, Justin White’s Cap­tain, Sammy Banks, held back tears as he spoke to the New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers. His voice cracked as he spoke of the duty of the men and women who wear the uni­form of the sher­iff’s of­fice.

“We put our lives on the line ev­ery day for the ci­ti­zens of the county and we will con­tinue,” Banks said to the board. “We will still be here no mat­ter what day of the week it is.” Our sher­iff’s of­fice will con­tinue to work as it al­ways has.

We as a com­mu­nity must take pause to ac­knowl­edge and re­mem­ber what is truly im­por­tant.

When it comes time to point fin­gers, cast stones, post in­crim­i­nat­ing mes­sages, speak badly about our neigh­bor or ig­nore each other’s pains, we must re­mem­ber. We must re­mem­ber Deputy White and all who one day do not make it home.

Life is frag­ile. What we see on the na­tional news of­ten ob­scures that. Life truly is made up of mo­ments. Mo­ments that can be fleet­ing or can slowly slip away.

If we re­mem­ber what mat­ters ev­ery day, and re­mem­ber those like Deputy Justin White, our mo­ments will be worth more. Those mo­ments will gain im­por­tance. They will be­come the sum of our lives not lived in vain.

We can re­mem­ber Justin White by keep­ing his fam­ily in our thoughts and prayers. One way to show that is by do­nat­ing to help Mor­gan White, Deputy Justin White’s girl­friend, through a fund set up by the fam­ily. Dona­tions can be made at any branch of Bank of North Ge­or­gia by mak­ing a se­cure de­posit to the “Deputy Justin White Me­mo­rial Fund.”

For those who are not near a bank branch, dona­tions can also be mailed to the New­ton County Sher­iff’s Of­fice. Ad­dress the let­ters in at­ten­tion to the Deputy Justin White Me­mo­rial Fund at 15151 Al­covy Road, Cov­ing­ton, GA 30014. The memo sec­tion of checks or money or­ders should be made out to Justin White.

An on­line do­na­tion site has also been set up at https:// www.gofundme.com/2wss­cic.

It is mo­ments like these where New­ton County rises above and de­fines our­selves not as in­di­vid­ual groups of di­vided peo­ple, but as a united com­mu­nity.

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