Tara Grinstead Still Not Forgotten - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Tara Grinstead Still Not Forgotten

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November 27, 2007

Hawkinsville - - It's a mystery that grabbed headlines two years ago - the disappearance of popular Ocilla school teacher Tara Grinstead. Long after the national spotlight stopped shining on the case, Grinstead's family and friends continue to remember and honor her. Tuesday, they held a special ceremony in her hometown. 

 All you have to do is say the name Tara here in South Georgia and everyone knows who you're referring to. It's probably why so many people came out in her honor.

Candles in their hands represent the light that burns in their hearts.

"I've known Tara since she was a child, she lived next door to my family," says Pam Griffin.

That light brought them all here.

"We hope one day we will find Tara."

Friends, family, and supporters gathered at the Pulaski County Courthouse for a tree dedication. It's planted just outside of the courthouse.

"We did a maple tree. It has its prettiest colors in the fall. The fall was Tara's very favorite time of year," says Tara's older sister, Anita Gattis.

She is overwhelmed the city of Hawkinsville came out to support.

"It's great to have something in Hawkinsville, where she is from, where she was raised, where she had spent her life, and where she called home."

A minister from home stopped by to share her experiences with the beloved teacher. Like the time Tara wrote him from Ocilla where she was working. She asked him a question.

"If it would be possible if I could send her a box of offering envelopes that she might be able to send her tithe to the church regularly. It just struck me. I don't have members calling me to ask for offering envelopes," says Minister Don McClung.

He says it shows her dedication to help others. Part of the reason they planted a tree. To have something tangible to remember her by, something to keep their light shining.

"I think it's a wonderful thing for the community," Griffin said.

Some hefty reward money is being offered in the search to find her. $100,000 for any information leading to an arrest. Another $100,000 for her safe return.

Supporters continue to operate a web site with updates and information about the search to find Tara.

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