I snapped a photo and wiped away a tear. Snapped another photo. Wiped away another tear.

Maybe journalists aren’t supposed to show any emotion. But I’ve never been one of those journalists. I’ve shed many a tear in my years of covering the news in Banks and Jackson counties.

I stood across from Mt. Carmel Baptist Church Saturday morning taking photos as public safety vehicles passed by in honor of Lisa McClure. Miss Lisa worked in public safety in Banks County for many years and is known by many emergency workers in surrounding counties. She started the E-9-1-1 department in Banks County.

I wasn’t crying when the first vehicle passed by but as they continued to go by the tears just began to fall as I took the photos. At first, I didn’t even notice that they were falling. Then, I had to stop and wipe them away before taking more photos.

When I heard Miss Lisa had died, I was in shock. I’m still in shock. Sure, she was older than I am but she seemed so full of life and energy. She certainly had more energy than I do.

I don’t think I ever saw Lisa McClure sitting down. Every time I was at a meeting or an event, Miss Lisa was scurrying around at a frantic pace. Setting stuff up, putting things together, taking up money, giving out programs. Always doing something. So much energy. Always helping. Always volunteering. Always doing something. Amazing, really. Certainly, inspiring. I’m tired just thinking about it. I think of her in constant motion.

Every ribbon cutting, open house, banquet, reception that I covered. Miss Lisa was there. I don’t think she missed one special event.

My mother has accompanied me to some events in Banks County and knows Miss Lisa. I told Mom of her passing and she said, “She’s the heart of Banks County.” My eyes filled with tears and I couldn’t speak for a few minutes. Mom summed it up perfectly, as she usually does. Miss Lisa truly was the heart of Banks County and I can’t imagine anyone filling that void.

When she retired from public service, she could have faded from the public eye as many people do. That was not the case. I think I saw her even more after she retired. She continued to serve her community through volunteering.

When you talked to Miss Lisa you always knew what was important to her. She would talk about her love of God, her love of her family, her love of her friends. All important things that we should all take to heart. She was a wonderful lady and I, like so many others, am blessed from having known her.

Angela Gary is editor of The Banks County News. She can be reached at angela@mainstreetnews.com.

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