President Carter, Thomas celebrate SAM's birthday - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

President Carter, Thomas celebrate SAM's birthday

October 16, 2007

Crisp County -- Thomas the Tank Engine was far away from his home on the island of Sodor - but he was still all smiles on tuesday for SAM Shortline's 5th birthday celebration.

"SAM is 5-years-old this month, so we will be cutting birthday cake, and we are just really exited," said Kathy Odom.

Odom, who helped bring Thomas and Friends to southwest Georgia, was excited for a good reason. Along for the celebration was legendary train conductor Sir Topham Hatt,  followed by the former conductor of the free world, President Jimmy Carter.

It was all aboard for President Carter and dozens of children and guests who departed on the train which took them across scenic Lake Blackshear.

Three year old Ryker knew exactly what he was going to say when he met President Carter.

"Nice to meet you," he exclaimed.

And he said just that when he met the President.

Carter greeted guests on the SAM Shortline excursion, a scenic train company he helped bring back to the railways 5 years ago.

"It's worked out quite well - I remember that day we were hoping to get an average of 75 people per trip to ride the train. As a matter of fact, we've gotten about 250 people per trip," said Carter.

While children were treated to a train ride with Sir Topham Hatt, it didn't end there. Later on, they were treated to story time with former President Carter.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner and best selling author shared a story with the young audience about none other than Thomas the Tank Engine.

It was a story time that 3-year-old Drayton McGinnis will remember for a long time.

"He sat on the front row and got to see Mr. Jimmy Carter," said Drayton's mom, Shannon McGinnis.

Not a bad 5th Birthday for SAM Shortline's where Thomas and Friends, along with the President, were icing on the cake.

You can catch Thomas and Friends with 8 rides per day October 19-21 and 26-28.

For information on how catch you Thomas on the tracks, you can visit the SAM Shortline website by clicking the link below.

www.samshortline.com.

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