State workers take Americus "vacation"

March 12, 2007

Americus -- Nearly two dozen capitol Secretaries showed up, and they didn't come empty handed. They collected donations from national restaurant chains and Georgia farmers to feed some of the hardest working clean up crews, the prison work details.

It's part of an effort that's saved the county nearly half a million dollars on their road to recovery. Each day more than 200 men in the prison work details from Lee County State Prison and Sumter Correctional Institute are on the ground in Americus cleaning up.

Their work saves the county more than $60,000 a day. Monday they were joined by volunteers from the Senate to continue the clean up effort.

Nearly two dozen State Senate employees put on their work clothes and took a vacation day from the Capitol to volunteer their time in Americus. The work inspired by, the Dean of the Senate, Senator George Hooks.

"We admire him for the job he does and I know how much he cares for his constituents," said Denese Sampson.

They've been preparing since last week, gathering donations from Chick-Fil-A and local growers to feed prison work details working hard in Oak Grove Cemetery.

"I'm proud of them, We don't condone what they're in here for, but we are grateful that the Department of Corrections and the inmate work crews came out under direct supervision and did this work, they have not stopped," said Sen. George Hooks.

"They just love to do things, and be active in the community, and be a part and contributing to the community. They really have a greater sense of worth when they're out here doing this," said Adam Boswell of the Department of Corrections.

Those crews have kept the city and county from paying a dime so far for the cleanup, already saving the local government nearly half a million dollars. "It's a cost savings, it's a service we could provide and it's estimated right now a just a little over $60,000 a day, saved to the county," said  Boswell.

It just shows what can get done when everyone pulls together. "It speaks so true of us as Georgians, I'm a native Georgian I don't mean to tout my own state, but that's what we do. When something happens in your community we come together, and no matter what, we don't care who gets the credit, we don't care how the job gets done, as long as we come together and get it done. So yeah, for us to be apart of that, it means a lot," Sampson said.

Volunteers had originally planned to pay for the sandwiches they brought today but said when Chick-Fil-A heard what the sandwiches were for they donated the food. One secretary's husband worked for Clorox who also donated cleaning supplies to assist in the effort.

Prison details from the Terrell County Probation Detention Center and Southwest Georgia Probation Detention Center have also provided work crews to help with the clean up in other counties.