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WHAT ARE YOU THANKFUL FOR?: Newton County leaders, residents give their thoughts
Happy Thanksgiving

The Covington News asked members of the Newton County-area government, civic, education and sports communities — and the News’ staff — what they were thankful for on Thanksgiving Day, 2022:

Covington Mayor Steve Horton:

“I am most thankful for our loving and merciful God, my family, and for living in such a caring community.”

Shannon Buff, Newton High School principal:

“I am blessed to have a wonderful, loving family and I am grateful to serve the phenomenal students, families, and faculty of Newton High School. I am incredibly thankful to God for my health and the many blessings that have been bestowed upon me.” 

Gabriel Stovall, publisher and editor, The Covington News:

“It is a God-given privilege and an honor to be back serving the Covington/Newton County community as publisher of The Covington News. That, along with the health and strength of my family and loved ones and the opportunity to spend extra time with them this season is what I’m most thankful for.”

Destiny Bryant, associate judge, Newton County Probate and Magistrate Court, and Kiwanis Club of Covington president:

“We have dynamic children in our community with very bright futures. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve our community’s youngest citizens alongside dedicated members of the Kiwanis Club of Covington.” 

Michael Wilson, girls basketball coach at Piedmont Academy:

“Coaching consumes so much of my time. I am grateful for my girls and the sacrifices they make in order for our basketball team to compete at such a high level but I am most thankful for my wife and children — she is more or less a single parent during the season yet she makes sure dinner is cooked each night and that we have family time as much as possible. She makes sure we have our nightly devotion and prayer time as a family which often times helps a long day end on a peaceful note. Without them and their dedication and support of my job I wouldn't be able to do what I love to do.”

Cynthia Blackshear-Warren, advertising director, The Covington News:

“I am thankful for my God and his blessings, my sons, grandkids, daughter in love, family, friends, health, job.”

Demetrice Perry-Stokes, track coach at Newton High School:

“Hey, l am most thankful for my family and friends that have played a positive role in my as well as my support system. I'm grateful for my life, health, and strength. This is my 40th year on earth and I am thankful for God’s grace, mercy and the strength he has given me to continue my destiny in spite of challenges or obstacles l face. I'm not just thankful during Thanksgiving, I'm grateful every day for all of my blessings and try to live every day to fullest because life is too short. Happy Thanksgiving.”

Alana Sanders, Newton County District 3 Commissioner:

“Although, there is a commercialized meaning of Thanksgiving I am thankful for the true meaning which includes family and being thankful for life. As a young child, I lost both of my parents to the battle with cancer, and family/friends are important. I am grateful that God and the residents of District 3 along with Newton County have chosen me to represent them. To the best of my ability, I show that I’m thankful continuously. I do not take being in his position for granted. This holiday is extra special because you never understand the true meaning of being a parent until a child leaves the nest and comes home for the holidays. I am truly thankful.”

Phillip B. Hubbard, Sports Editor, The Covington News:

“Every day, I wake up blessed and highly favored in all aspects of my life. I have a Savior who cares for me, a family who loves me, friends who support me and a job that I love doing alongside some awesome coworkers. In my opinion, it doesn’t get much better than that!” 

Taylor Jackson, boys basketball coach, Social Circle High School:

“Most importantly I am thankful for the love of Christ, for the love for my beautiful wife and children, and for the ability to make a livable wage doing what I love to do. And I am so thankful to continually have a group of young men who believe in me and trust me to coach them in the most wonderful game.”

Emily Whitwell, athlete at Piedmont Academy:

“I’m so thankful for my family for doing everything they can to help me meet my goals and live my dream!”

Lee Ann Avery, circulation director and advertising sales rep, The Covington News:

“I am thankful for all the blessings the Lord has given me; to name a few, my family, friends, freedom, health and my little dog Frodo!” 

Kristopher Williams, Alcovy High School principal:

“I am thankful for my family, my health, and the Alcovy/Newton County community for their support throughout the year.” 

Joel Singleton, girls soccer coach, Eastside High School:

“I'm most thankful for my family, my health, and my school colleagues and students. God is good!”

Brian Worton, advertising sales rep, The Covington News:

“There's an endless chamber of difficulties waiting to be thrown at my family, but I find comfort in knowing that we won't ever face them as individuals. It's difficult to be thankful for the soul crushing events that life brings to all of us, but I am thankful for the family I face them with. Thanksgiving leftovers are pretty great too.”

Lee Brown, assistant football coach at Newton High School: 

“I am most thankful for my family. We are truly blessed. Lastly I am thankful for The opportunity to do what I love and love what I do!”

Heather Richardson, girls soccer coach at Social Circle High School:

“This Thanksgiving I am most thankful for my relationship with Jesus, my family and healthy children, and a wonderful place to work and coach...Go Redskins!”

Demond Mason, Newton County District 2 Commissioner:

“During this Thanksgiving holiday season, I am thankful for my wife, my kids, family, friends, District 2 residents and all residents in the Newton County community. Newton County is a special community that is filled with love and amazing people, so I’m thankful that I’m able to live in a county that is moving in a positive trajectory.” 

Samantha Fuhrey, Newton County Schools Superintendent:

“I am thankful for our incredible Newton County System team, our extraordinary students, and committed families. I am grateful for the continued support of our community and business and industry leaders. And last, but not at all least, I am most thankful for my family and friends!” 

Joe Davidson, Rotary Club of Covington president and owner of PC After Dark:

“I am especially thankful for the extra time I have been getting to spend with my wife. I am thankful for my family. I am thankful to be able to be an active part of my Rotary Club and the opportunity to give back to our community through our club.  I am thankful for my business, my employees that make it all work and our customers who put their trust in us.” 

Jeff Cher, Eastside High School principal:

“I am extremely thankful for my family, my church, EHS and NCCS, and our entire community.  We all have been blessed in many ways.  I’m grateful for the present while we press towards an even better future. – 

Trey Bailey, pastor of Eastridge Church and District 1 member of Newton County Board of Education:

“My thankfulness in 2022 can be summed up in a word: 'together.'

“This year is my oldest daughter’s senior year of high school; in my mind this is the last six months my family will all be together under one roof. So, I’m finding myself very thankful for the few moments we have as the complete Bailey 5. I’m cherishing those rare times. I am incredibly grateful for my family.

“My office went through a reshuffling at the beginning of the year and it took me a little while to find my bearings. My team has been honest but grace-filled, fun but efficient, and they’ve done great work together. I’m thankful for my work team; they are my family away from home.

“Lastly, I’m grateful to live in such a unique and diverse community where, at last, I see people working hard to build unity again. We aren’t where we want to be yet, but I’m thankful we’re having the conversations and moving forward together.” 

Mack Hardwick, Alcovy High School boys basketball coach:

“I'm most thankful for God's grace.”

Kareem Hayes, Alcovy High School baseball coach: 

“I’m thankful for my family, friends, athletic program, community and my school.”

Tom Spigolon, News Editor, The Covington News:

“I am thankful for my family and friends and the opportunity to serve as news editor covering an outstanding community with The Covington News.”