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LEWIS: God sees; God knows; God does

As our world rages on, I have good news for Christians all around the world.

Please don’t forget God sees each of us. I guess that statement means the most to me when I feel all alone or that no one really cares. Psalm 34:15 says, “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are attentive to his cry.” Whether we find ourselves on the mountaintop today or in the valley, please remember God sees and hears. We are here for a reason; we are here to fellowship with Almighty God, and the maker of the entire universe in interested in everything about us.

God is looking and has a desire to help us in our time of need. 2 Chronicles 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”? We may need strength to get through this pandemic, or we may need strength to put one foot in front of the other to start our day. The greatest news I have is God sees us and He will give us strength to do what you’ve been called to do.

I want to remind each of us today, that God knew us before we were formed in our mother’s womb; He knew the mistakes we would make, and He still has a great purpose for our lives. Ephesians 2:10 says, For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”So the next time we don’t think we have a lot going for us, may we be reminded. “We were created by God.”

We may have hopes and dreams that we have shared with no one, but God knows our deepest heart’s desire. He’s not going to laugh at us or say it’s impossible. In fact, He says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and I will give you the desires of your heart, according to Psalm 37:4.

At other times we are hurting so bad on the inside but we put a front and act like everything is okay. We should claim this verse for our lives. Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is near to the broken-hearted; He saves the contrite in spirit.” At times we may feel all alone, but we are not alone. When we find ourselves in despair, just start to say “Jesus.” Then say it again and again. I can hardly say His name many times and I want to lift my hands. He will bring us out!

Finally, let us be reminded that God does. He keeps his promises. If you are praying for your family, hold on to the verse which says God will save our household. If you are sick; claim that your sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God. I guarantee you there is a promise for you no matter what your situation.

May our hearts be stirred as we are reminded that God sees us; God knows all about us and He still loves us with an everlasting love, and may we remember that God keeps His promises forever and always.

Spiritual Center at NGMC honors Pucketts

During their 60-year marriage, Verdis C. and Mary Puckett lived by the values of faith, humility, kindness, service, stewardship and most of all, love. Now, through a signature gift to the Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) Foundation, Mary and her late husband have ensured those same values continue to be carried out within Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) Gainesville through the V.C. and Mary Puckett Center for Spiritual Care.

“Verdis always cared so much about the people around him — friends and family, church members, customers and especially his employees,” said Mary. “I wanted to make sure that together, even after he passed, we could do something to help care for those around us. Having the Puckett Center for Spiritual Care carry our family name is a great honor, and I know Verdis would be proud.”

V.C. served in the United States Army, rising to the rank of First Lieutenant, while Mary had a successful career as an executive secretary for several businesses. Together, they owned Gainesville Iron Works from 1961 to 1995, and the business grew from a local steel supply firm to one with product and service distribution throughout the Southeast. They also owned Power Cranes, Inc.

“It’s hard to find words to express how grateful we are to the Pucketts,” said Chris Bray, president and chief development officer of the NGHS Foundation. “Their generosity and passion for helping others is evident as these renovations and enhancements will pay dividends for all who walk through the hospital doors for years to come.”

The Puckett Center for Spiritual Care reopened after being refurbished to meet the needs of the program. With 20 volunteer chaplains, four chaplain residents and seven full-time staff chaplains, the space needed an enhanced lobby, larger reception and conference space, lockers and bathrooms for round-the-clock chaplains, as well as a few new welcoming touches that reflect the services provided. The renovated space offers a more calming and hospitable environment for the volunteer chaplains and other guests.

“This is really for all of the people we come in contact with as a Spiritual Care department,” said Chris Jennings, director of Spiritual Care at NGMC. “We want to serve them in the best way possible, and this renovated space will help us achieve that.”

Along with the renovation, what used to be known as Pastoral Care at NGMC will now be known as Spiritual Care. As the department has grown, it has become apparent that NGMC serves a wide range of people with myriad religious backgrounds — making Spiritual Care a more fitting name. Members of the department providing spiritual care will be identified as chaplains, instead of clergy or pastors.

To learn more about the Spiritual Care department at NGMC, call 770-219-5077 or visit nghs.com/spiritual-care-services.

Department of Health launches COVID Vaccine Locator

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is launching a COVID vaccine locator on the DPH website athttps://dph.georgia.gov.

The tool allows users to search by county for a vaccine provider in their community, and provides location and contact information for the provider.

County health departments and private providers are included in the locator. Additional locations statewide will be added when providers are ready to safely administer vaccine, and as vaccine supply allows. All health departments and most other providers require appointments for vaccine administration. Because vaccine supply is limited, providers may not have immediate appointments available.

Effective, Jan. 11, Georgia will be in phase 1A+ of vaccine administration. That phase includes: healthcare workers (physicians, nurses, EMS personnel, laboratory technicians, environmental services, etc.); residents and staff of long-term care facilities; adults aged 65+ and their caregivers, as applicable; and law enforcement, firefighters, 9-1-1 dispatchers and first responders.

The process of administering COVID-19 vaccine is more complicated than other common vaccines, such as flu vaccine and requires providers to have more resources available, including an area where individuals can be monitored for 15 minutes after being vaccinated. Many providers with vaccine are still vaccinating their own staffs and patients and are not open to the public for vaccination yet.

As both Pfizer and Moderna are able to ramp up production of vaccine in the coming weeks, supply should better meet demand for each phase of allocation and administration.

"Until that time, providers and the public are urged to be patient as we work together to get vaccine distributed in the most efficient and equitable way possible," leaders state.

All Georgians, including those who are vaccinated, are urged to continue to follow basic COVID-19 prevention measures: wear a mask, practice social distancing, wash your hands frequently and follow the guidance of public health and the guidelines in the Governor’s Executive Order.

For updates on COVID-19, follow @GaDPH and @GovKemp on Twitter and @GaDPH and @GovKemp on Facebook.

Bennett receives Governor's Award for Arts and Humanities

Dr. Eddie Bennett, Gillsville, is one of the recipients of the 2020 Governor's Award for the Arts and Humanities.

He has been a social studies educator for 43 years, beginning in the Banks County School District. He is director of the Georgia Council for Social Studies.

"I consider the humanities a vital part of my education," he said.

The awards were presented by Governor Brian Kemp in partnership with the Georgia Council for the Arts and Georgia Humanities.

“I’m honored to recognize the organizations and individuals whose efforts have preserved and enhanced our culture and stories to create a better Georgia,” said Governor Kemp. “When our arts and humanities sectors thrive, we see prosperity and revitalization in communities across our state. I applaud the work of each of our recipients of the 2020 Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Humanities and the valuable impacts they have made in our state.”

"The arts and humanities play a vital role in making Georgia the best state in the country to live, work, and raise a family," said First Lady Marty Kemp. "Brian and I are so proud to honor the work of these incredibly talented individuals and organizations, and on behalf of all Georgians, we're grateful for their important contributions to the Peach State."

Ten members of Georgia’s arts and humanities communities were awarded with this honor following a competitive selection process from nominations submitted from around the state. The recipients represent a diverse group of individuals and organizations that have contributed to, and supported the growth of, Georgia’s thriving creative industries through community involvement, pioneering programs and long-term financial commitment.

Two Homer residents graduate at UNG

For the fall 2020 semester, the University of North Georgia awarded more than 1,000 degrees and certificates to graduates. Nearly 600 of those graduates walked across the stage of the Convocation Center Dec. 5-6 in 52 mini-ceremonies created to follow social distancing guidelines and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Elizabeth Dobbs of Homer graduated with a Certificate - Geographic Information Science.

Clifford Hardesty of Homer graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration - Marketing.

Positioned in the fastest-growing region of the state, the University of North Georgia comprises five campuses united by a single mission focused on academic excellence and academic and co-curricular programs that develop students into leaders for a diverse and global society. The University of North Georgia is a University System of Georgia leadership institution and is The Military College of Georgia. With more than 20,000 students, the University of North Georgia is one of the state's largest public universities. The university offers more than 100 programs of study ranging from certificate and associate degrees to professional doctoral programs.

Burchett named to Piedmont Dean's List

Tracilyn Burchett of Homer has been named to the Piedmont College Dean's List for the Fall 2020 semester.

Dean's List honorees achieve a 3.50-3.99 grade point average.

Parden named to Georgia College Dean's List

Harlee Parden of Homer made the Dean's List for the Fall 2020 semester at Georgia College in Milledgeville.

Two countians named to Dean's List at Piedmont

Two Banks Countians were named to the Piedmont College Dean's List for the Fall 2020 semester. Dean's List honorees achieve a 3.50-3.99 grade point average.

They are:

Hannah Simmons of Baldwin.

Ashley Smith of Homer.

Pat Ward, Baldwin, said this turnip came up voluntarily in a raised bed in the front yard. It measures 8 inches across; the size of a soccer ball, and 6 inches of the turnip is above ground. A quarter pictured beside of the turnip for comparison.