Community roundup: Food drive, donation to Y and more

Josh M. with Donna Player of Columbia County Cares.
Josh M. with Donna Player of Columbia County Cares.(Contributed)
Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 4:46 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 3, 2023 at 10:38 AM EST
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EVANS, Ga. - A Boy Scout working on his Eagle rank is conducting a food and supply drive for Columbia County Cares.

Columbia County Cares is a food pantry that serves more than 300 families a month. It relies on donations and volunteers to provide food, health and comfort items to families and their pets in need.

Boy Scout Josh M. saw a need for a spring donation drive to help with this. He is collecting for the entire month of April and doing several neighborhood food drives. He has also arranged for a temporary drop-off location at the Boy Scout Council offices, located at 4316 Three J Road in Evans and at the model home in Crawford Creek neighborhood in Evans.

Accepted donations are nonperishable food items, grits, oatmeal, cereal, dog and cat food, ramen noodles, cake and brownie mixes, saltine crackers, travel sizes of hygiene items, small sizes of dishwashing liquid and laundry detergent, and condiments.

For more information on how to donate throughout the year or to volunteer, visit

Busby’s foundation donates $1,000 to Family YMCA

From left: James Thomas of the YMCA, Rick Busby and Buzz.
From left: James Thomas of the YMCA, Rick Busby and Buzz.(Contributed)

AUGUSTA, Ga. - On Tuesday, Rick Busby with Busby’s Heating and Air presented the Family YMCA of Greater Augusta with a $1,000 check as part of the Busby’s Cares Community Contribution initiative.

The contribution was made to assist the Y with its annual fundraising campaign.

The Y operates more than 50 locations in eight counties across Georgia and South Carolina, including nine health and wellness facilities, a child development academy, Camp Lakeside, 27 after-school sites and 19 summer camp locations throughout the CSRA.

No one is turned away for inability to pay.

Each year, the Y gives out $2 million in scholarships to those in need.

Aiken Tech team earns innovation honor

From left: Dorian Newton, D. Eng., SRS Apprenticeship Steering Committee and Savannah River...
From left: Dorian Newton, D. Eng., SRS Apprenticeship Steering Committee and Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) Program Manager for the Apprenticeship School and Pipeline Training; Dean Crystal Ratliff, Ph.D., Aiken Tech Office of Student Success and Retention; David Jackson, SRNS Apprenticeship School Lead; Department Chair Aherial Polite, Aiken Tech Chemistry, Physics, and Nuclear Technology Department; BooBoo Roberts, SRNS Technical College Loaned Executive and Deputy Program Manager for Apprenticeship and Pipeline Training; and Dean Steven Simmons, Ed.D., Aiken Tech School of Technical and Continuing Education.(Contributed)

GRANITEVILLE, S.C. - Aiken Technical College’s Nuclear Fundamentals Apprenticeship Team has received the prestigious A. Wade Martin Innovation Team of the Year Award from the South Carolina Technical College System Foundation.

The annual award recognizes state technical college system employees who have worked together to make a significant contribution to their college or the statewide system.

The Nuclear Fundamentals Apprenticeship Program began in the spring of 2020 and has since had four cohorts to complete the program. In January, the program welcomed its largest cohort yet, with more than 100 apprentices.

During the program, the apprentices spend two days a week in nuclear fundamentals courses taught by Aiken Tech instructors and two days a week at the Savannah River Site, gaining practical, on-the-job experiences. Those who complete the program earn the Nuclear Fundamentals Certificate from Aiken Tech.

Gerald Jones Auto Group makes new acquisition

AUGUSTA, Ga. - Gerald Jones Auto Group is announces the recent acquisition of Fairway Ford of Evans, which will become the new location for Gerald Jones Lincoln.

Customers will be able to service their Fords, Lincolns and other vehicles at the location, 4333 Washington Road, and at Gerald Jones Ford at 3480 Wrightsboro Road.

“Our commitment to our customers is that we will continue to provide the same quality products and services that they have come to expect from our store, while also introducing some value-added improvements.,” the company said. “As always, Gerald Jones Auto Group appreciates the continued support and we look forward to serving our customers’ automotive needs for many years to come.”

North Augusta Chamber bestows honors at annual meeting

From left: Tom Allgood and Stevie Huff
From left: Tom Allgood and Stevie Huff(Contributed)

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. - The North Augusta Chamber of Commerce presented its 71st annual meeting and banquet Thursday at the Crowne Plaza North Augusta.

The chamber’s premier event saw a packed crowd of more than 300 attendees.

The Chamber presented two awards: Ambassador of the Year and Citizen of the Year.

Tom F. Allgood III was presented the award for 2022 Ambassador of the Year. The Ambassador of the Year award honors a chamber ambassador who has volunteered many hours of time, talent and energy to the success and growth of the North Augusta Chamber.

“Tom consistently supports the Chamber at various events each month, leads member educational workshops, and is always willing to pitch in where he can. His infectious personality always fills the room with joy and ability to anticipate your needs is incredible. He is the true embodiment of a dedicated volunteer”, says Chamber president Terra Carroll. Tom is the sales and marketing manager at Brookdale North Augusta.

Stevie Huff was presented the award for 2022 Citizen of the Year. A lifelong resident of North Augusta, Huff currently lends his time and talents to the Augusta GreenJackets Baseball franchise, G.L. Brightharp and Sons Mortuary, North Augusta Chamber of Commerce, North Augusta Parks, Recreation and Tourism, Aiken County Board of Voter Registration and Elections, and Crowne Plaza North Augusta.

“You wish you could clone him, but he manages to create that illusion himself by how much he shows up for the City of North Augusta”, says Jeannine Steinkuhl, director of sales and marketing at Crowne Plaza North Augusta.

Ossoff commends Augusta pastor, broadcaster

AUGUSTA, Ga. - U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff is recognizing Oasis Augusta Iglesia Pastor Angel Maestre for his service to the community with an Official U.S. Senate Commendation.

Maestre has served as head Pastor for the last 18 years, working to uplift Augusta’s Hispanic community through countless years of mentorship, selfless acts, and service.

Maestre also founded the first Hispanic radio station in Augusta — OASIS 97.3 — to better connect and inform residents of news impacting their community.

“Mr. OSSOFF. Mr. President, I rise today to commend Pastor Angel Maestre for his impact on Augusta’s Hispanic community.

“Pastor Angel Maestre is a beacon of Georgia, serving as the head pastor at Oasis Augusta Iglesia for the last 18 years. Over the course of his tenure, Pastor Maestre has worked to uplift the community through his countless years of mentorship, selfless acts, and service.

“Pastor Maestre has also founded the first Hispanic radio station in Augusta to better connect the community and inform residents of news impacting their neighborhood.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, Pastor Maestre helped inform the Hispanic community about vaccinations through his show, ensuring the community was well informed and staying healthy.

“Mr. President, as Georgia’s U.S. Senator, I commend and recognize the Pastor Angel Maestre for his dedication to Georgia and the Augusta community.”

VA Augusta nutritionist named Georgia Dietitian of the Year

Valerie Lively
Valerie Lively(Contributed)

AUGUSTA, Ga. - The Georgia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics this week announced that Valerie Lively, registered dietitian at VA Augusta Health Care System, is its Georgia Outstanding Dietitian of The Year.

Lively, who has served the Augusta dietetic community for more than 20 years, was presented the award Thursday evening at a ceremony in Atlanta.

“She has demonstrated leadership and service by consistently accepting challenging opportunities that provide a positive impact on Veteran care,” said Sheri Loflin, Clinical Nutrition Manager at the Veterans Affars Augusta Health Care System. “Valerie is an exceptional registered dietitian nutritionist with a genuine compassion for using her knowledge and skills to make a difference in the lives of others.”

Lively serves as the MOVE! Weight Management Program coordinator where she incorporates her expertise as a certified diabetes care and education specialist to help Veterans adopt and sustain healthy lifestyle behaviors.

“Honored is an understatement,” said Lively. “I feel so very fortunate to work with wonderful people at a great place and to be able to do good work.”