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 FRONT PAGE - SEPTEMBER 1, 1999 - DANIELSVILLE, GA

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COMMUNITY

'One day at a time'
Madison County pastor and wife face devastating loss, find the strength to go on through serving others
BY MARGIE RICHARDS
How do you eat an elephant?
You eat him one bite at a time.


THE PEEKS
Pictured are Cathy, Tim and Andrew Peek.


That's how Cathy Peek describes how she and her husband, pastor Tim Peek of Evangelical Methodist Church, face the devastating tragedy in their lives - the loss of their only child.
Their son, Andrew, age 17, was killed earlier this year in an automobile accident on his way home from school.
"Everybody's suffering in some way," Mrs. Peek said. "You either have something you don't want or want something you can't have."
She says a friend from Africa, who also lost a son, shared the elephant saying with her. Mrs. Peek said it has helped her to see her son's loss that way - and to learn to face life without him - one day at a time.
"This is not a tragedy to triumph story," Mrs. Peek said. "There is no 'triumph' over something like this."
She adds that losing their son has given them "credentials" that they didn't want, enabling them to reach out to others who have suffered such a loss as theirs and to continue their longtime service to children with renewed insight.
CHILD EVANGELISM FELLOWSHIP
Both the Peeks have always had a passion for ministering to children and since Andrew's death, Cathy Peek has accepted a position as state missionary to the children of Georgia with Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF). CEF is a missionary organization located in 147 countries, including chapters in every state in the United States.
"Child Evangelism does not promote a particular faith," Mrs. Peek said, but attempts to teach children something about God's love for them.
She says the job is something she had discussed with Andrew before his death, adding that she formally signed with the organization on March 29 of this year - what would have been Andrew's 18th birthday.
She felt confirmation of her decision to accept the job when the first child she reached through the ministry was a 10-year-old boy - whose name is Andrew.
Mrs. Peek travels around the state providing a Bible Club for children, complete with stories, songs and entertainment, all with the goal of teaching children about Christ.
Rev. Peek goes with her when she does a club nearby, helping by playing the piano, singing and putting on a puppet show, much to the children's delight.
"Anyone can host a club in their church or neighborhood," she said. All they have to do is provide cookies and Kool-aid and have a burden for children, and I'll come and do the rest."
A PERSONAL MIRACLE
The Peeks know something about tragedy - but as they are quick to point out - they also know something about miracles and the power of God's love.
In September of 1994, Rev. Peek, who his wife says had never been sick or even took aspirin, was diagnosed with blockages to all four arteries of his heart. He was only 39 years old, but doctors marveled that he was still alive.
After surgery to correct the problem, Peek began experiencing symptoms again the next year. Doctors then told him there was little they could do.
He became so ill that he was hardly able to walk from the sink to the couch and was on oxygen around the clock. Nitroglycerin tablets - sometimes five at a time - became a way of life to deal with the pain.
During a month long hospital stay, Peek said he asked the Lord to allow him to play the piano at a communion service at his church the night before Easter and to preach the Easter service the following morning.
On Tuesday morning, April 11, 1995, just a few days before Easter, Peek said he experienced a "calmness" during yet another test.
He began to breath normally and removed his oxygen mask when he got back to his room, telling his wife he believed the Lord had healed him.
Much to the hospital's astonishment, his heart was found to be "totally normal" the next day.
He preached and testified at his church for Easter weekend a few days later.
He returned to the hospital's cardiac ward to minister to the other patients there. He looked so healthy a nurse didn't recognize him and asked him if he was one of the physicians.
He replied, "No I'm not a doctor, but I work for the greatest heart doctor in the world."
Once on 13 medications a day, he now takes only an aspirin and a cholesterol lowering drug each day.
'IT'S A HEART THING'
Mrs. Peek points to a heart pendant she wears, a gift from her husband after his miraculous recovery, saying they always say that what they share between them is "a heart thing."
Although their lives have changed drastically this year and in a way they never wanted, they still want to work for God and have found a measure of peace about what happened to their son. They choose to focus on the time they had with him, instead of the way he died.
"The Lord only gave us the one," Rev. Peek said. "But he made our life rich."
A talented writer, one of Andrew's New Year's resolutions was to write a book, according to his parents. He was also artistic and loved to draw.
Rev. Tim Peek has served as minister to the church, located in the Shiloh Community, for the past year and a half.
The family had settled quickly into the rural community life of the area, enjoying getting to know the people who live there and who attend their church. "Everyone was so welcoming and so good to us, right from the very beginning," Mrs. Peek said. They have continued to be supportive since the accident.
"You have to go where the Lord opens the door," Rev. Peek said, referring to his call to pastor the church here in late 1997.
The Peeks were at an EMC in Bayou La Batre, Ala. at the time, where Rev. Peek was serving as youth minister. Although he enjoyed working exclusively with the children, he missed pastoring his own church.
The Peeks admit that Andrew had some difficulty accepting the idea of the move at first; he was settled into high school in Alabama and was surrounded by his mother's family there. In addition, Mrs. Peek's oldest brother had just died in a fall from a building and the family was still reeling from this tragedy, especially Andrew.
"He was Andrew's favorite uncle," Mrs. Peek said quietly. But he made the adjustment, making new friends and becoming involved in the high school and in the youth group at church.
"Andrew loved everyone and seemed to be loved by everyone," his mother said.


GROWTH

Construction of mega-Ingles underway
BY FRANK GILLISPIE
Construction on the long-awaited Ingles MegaMarket in Dogsboro is finally underway.
Dave Bennett, manager for Leslie Contracting, Inc., said that the job will be completed by April, 2000.
The new building, at 65,000 square feet, will cover approximately one and one-half acres under one roof. The new building, which will be aligned with the present structure, will extend 324 feet to the south and 200 feet in deep. New parking lots, rainwater control and septic tanks will be included. The building will be almost twice the size of the present facility.
Plans to build a new Ingles at the site were delayed due to restrictions on the water supply from Clarke County, the purchase of a number of existing stores in the Atlanta area that had to be renovated and other factors. The key factor in the decision to start construction is the promise that the new Madison County water system will be available in April of next year.
Mr. Bennett said that he hopes to have the building ready when the water system is turned on.
The new Ingles will contain an enlarged grocery area, a video store, a large flower shop, sit down deli, enlarged meat and produce departments and other enhanced features. A larger loading dock and storage area will eliminate the need for vendors to park and deliver from the front of the store as is now the case. Customer service will be enhanced by larger bathrooms, including diaper changing stations and more checkout lines.
The new Ingles MegaMarket will anchor a growing business complex in the Dogsboro area.
Madison County is expected to benefit from increased sales tax revenue from the new Ingles and other retail businesses being planned for the area. County officials expect the increased revenue will finance the new water system and other infrastructure improvements.


Armed robbery reported at Golden Pantry
The Golden Pantry on Hwy. 29 south at the Dogsboro intersection was reportedly robbed around 10:13 p.m. on Tues., Aug. 24. Witnesses to the robbery included two clerks and a customer in the store.
The investigation is continuing, with no further details available at this time, according to Madison County Chief Deputy Bill Strickland.
NEWS BRIEFS

Mattox files ethics complaint against Clark
BY ZACH MITCHAM
District 3 recall chairman Jerry Mattox has filed a complaint with the State Ethics Commission against Ken Clark, who resigned as a commissioner in February after a lengthy recall battle.
Mattox, who is leading the effort to recall commissioner Patsy Pierce, maintains that the former District 4 representative violated the Ethics in Government Act in several ways during his fight against a recall effort.
He says Clark failed to register as a campaign committee in opposition to a recall, failed to provide periodic campaign disclosure reports, illegally received a campaign contribution in an amount greater than allowed by law, illegally received a campaign contribution from an agency of government and failed to disclose a contribution of more than $19,800.
"In this present situation, we have an example that clearly warrants the maximum penalties allowed by law," wrote Mattox in his complaint to the Ethics Commission. "Mr. Clark's complete and utter disregard of the election code exhibits a contempt for the people who elected him and for the law that governs elected officials."



County plans pay increases for employees
BY ZACH MITCHAM
Despite all of the conflicts in the Madison County government over the past couple of years, there's at least one point everyone seems to agree on - county employees deserve more money.
With Madison County pay lower than surrounding counties, good workers are often leaving county jobs for higher paying employment elsewhere.
So officials are planning a raise in pay for full-time employees in the upcoming years. But just how much and how soon has yet to be determined.
While increases are planned, commission chairman Wesley Nash believes the county can implement the changes without increasing property tax rates.
The Madison County Board of Commissioners met with county department heads Monday to discuss ways to give employees the pay they deserve.


The Madison County Journal - Danielsville, Georgia
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