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Thank you, Elba!

The saying “time flies when you’re having fun” describes my summer in Elba as a Living Democracy student perfectly.  It seems like just yesterday I was moving into the Chapman home and attending my first event here, sixth grade graduation.

Since then, I have met people and experienced things that I never could have imagined. As I end my summer in Elba, I can barely put into words the feeling of gratitude and thankfulness I have for this town and the people who live here.

I have so many I would like to thank and appreciate so much everyone who has been part of this journey.

To the Elba Community Food Bank, I appreciate all the volunteers showing me how important it is to serve your community.

To the Elba Rotary Club, thank you for showing me your dedication to Elba and encouraging me to continue on in civic-minded living.

To all of the local churches who welcomed me during the last ten weeks, thank you all for a blessed time of worship each Sunday and your prayers.

I would also like to thank Sandy Bynum and the Chamber for inspiring me to always do what you can for your community and teaching me about the value of business. Thanks also to Nell Gilmer for inspiring me and the rest of Elba by not letting age limit your dedication to the town you love.

I appreciate Chelsea Cooper for picking me up every Thursday at the Giving Garden. She showed me that maintaining a project can be tough, but it is all about having a passion for what you do and sticking with it.

Thank you to Rhonda Brunson for helping out with the Book Swaps. I would not want to leave this project with anyone else. Your kind spirit and giving nature will keep the Book Swap going.

Of course, this summer would not have been possible without the Restoration154 team. I was blessed to have worked with Justin, Laurie, and Philip. They all have a true spirit of service, and I am glad to see they are using their gifts for the betterment of Elba.

Finally, and certainly not least, I am deeply grateful to the Chapman family. Jim, Laurie, and Bradley have been a phenomenal host family. The Chapmans are the nicest and most down-to-earth people I have ever met.

I will miss going on walks after dinner, rides in the truck, and the all our movie nights. Thank you for all the laughs, opening your home to this college kid, and welcoming me in like your own! 

Elba has become a second home to me, and I will definitely be making frequent visits. I am already looking forward to coming back for Friday night football games, fall planting days at the Giving Garden, and the Pumpkins on the Square event at Halloween.

I hope that Elba continues to prosper while holding on to its historic charm.  This special town will always have a special place in my heart.