Tuesday, May 21 2013 4:28 PM EDT2013-05-21 20:28:18 GMT
One south Georgia superintendent says his school system is finally moving in the right direction financially. The Decatur County Board of Education unanimously voted to reduce the number of furlough daysMore >>
One south Georgia superintendent says his school system is finally moving in the right direction financially.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 4:24 PM EDT2013-05-21 20:24:40 GMT
As Moore, Oklahoma begins what is sure be a long recovery period, folks here in Georgia are revisiting their own safety plans. Tornado and other emergency drills are common in our schools, but one southMore >>
As Moore, Oklahoma begins what is sure be a long recovery period, folks here in Georgia are revisiting their own safety plans. Tornado and other emergency drills are common in our schools, but one south Georgia school superintendent says the preparedness should not just remain in the classroom.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 3:44 PM EDT2013-05-21 19:44:00 GMT
A Tift County cold case still haunts a family nearly 10 years a young mother's murder. It was September 2003 when the body of Candy Cook was discovered in a field near the Tift County airport. Her familyMore >>
It was September 2003 when the body of Candy Cook was discovered in a field near the Tift County airport. Her family believes someone knows who killed her, and they hope the person with that information will bring them the peace they need.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 2:28 PM EDT2013-05-21 18:28:33 GMT
Here are some online resources available to help you be prepared for an emergency: Southwest Georgia Public Health: This public resource targets communities in Southwest Georgia and includes suggestionsMore >>
Here are some online resources available to help you be prepared for an emergency.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 12:51 PM EDT2013-05-21 16:51:04 GMT
Information from the Tift County Sheriff's Office- On Tuesday, May 7, 2013, the Mid-South Narcotics Task Force along with the Tift County Sheriff's Office served a search warrant on the residence of 36More >>
The Mid-South Narcotics Task Force and the Tift County Sheriff's Office arrested 36 year old Daniel Eubanks, and seized over $100K in cash.More >>
FITZGERALD, GA (WALB) – He was a dominant figure on the football field. As a Sophomore, D. J. Searcy used his size and strength to become an integral part of Fitzgerald High's defensive line.
But when his teammates returned home Tuesday evening from football camp, they were without number 79.
"Searcy was a great player. The whole team loved him. It's not going to be the same without Searcy," said an emotional Stepman Stevens. The two were teammates and had been practicing this week at Florida Bible Camp.
Searcy was found unresponsive Tuesday in his cabin at the camp located near Lake City, Florida. He had just finished a morning practice. The teen was rushed to a nearby hospital where he died.
"There's one thing about Searcy, he might be gone but he will always live in my heart, no matter what," Stevens said.
In "Cane Country" where football is a way of life, a sea of purple lined the road leading to the field house to show their support.
Even representatives cross town rival Irwin County put competition aside to pay their respects.
A silence came over the crowd that had gathered as two buses loaded with players and coaches drove by.
Searcy's cousin Kathleen remembers D. J. as a gentle giant. "He was a great football player and he was like a big teddy bear," she said.
She says the family, like the community, is shocked over his death. "He was so young and had so much going for him," she said.
Grief counselors and local ministers were on hand to meet with players and coaches at the field house. People hugged one another and wiped dry eyes. The back window of Volkswagen Bug parked outside the school where Searcy was a rising Junior had the message "RIP Searcy #79."
"It's tough," said FHS Principal Randy Garrett.
Garrett, who also serves as defensive coordinator, was with the team in Florida when the tragedy occurred. He said "I'm not sure what the words would be to describe the emotions that they feel individually and collectively, and what we all feel as a team, a school, and a community."
And while the Friday night lights will glow a little dimmer this fall when Fitzgerald takes the field, the players and coaches agree, number 79 will be right there with them.
"This season's for him. No question," said Garrett.
When asked what Searcy would want from his teammates and coaches, Stevens didn't hesitate when he said, "Win the state champion for him. It's all for him."
For the rest of this week, all school related activities have been canceled.
An autopsy is scheduled to determine an exact cause of death and there's no word of any underlying health conditions.
Tragically, Searcy was the second Georgia high school football player to die on Tuesday.
A metro Atlanta football player who suffered heat stroke after a practice last week died Tuesday night. 16-year-old Forrest Jones played for Locust Grove High School.
He had been in a coma since his collapse and died at an Atlanta hospital.