On February 23rd, President-Elect George Barnhill welcomed the recipients of the 2023 Public Service Awards and their families to be honored for their service to our community. After a lovely meal, the honorees were presented a plaque and a monetary gift for their service. Program Chair and Ware County Sheriff Carl James read aloud each letter of nomination that was submitted by their supervisors.
Ware County Fire Department Firefighter of the year – Bill Kirkland Fire Chief Dee Meadows says that Bill Kirkland “is one that leads by example. He is one that is first to sign up for whatever is needed. He is always there for whoever calls his name.”
Ware County Fire Department Volunteer – Michael Lawhorn Speaking of Michael Lawhorn, Chief Meadows said, “ When someone is in the darkest time of their life and at the time in which they have the emergency they never wished to happen the professionalism of Mr. Lawhorn can be counted on.”
Ware County EMS – Paramedic Ethan Crews Ethan Crews “puts patients at ease and exhibits a sense of humor and rapport with patients in a very unique way.” His supervisor remarked that the thing he liked most about him was he just has “country good sense”.
Waycross Fire Department – Tomas Heard’s Determination and humor were words that Waycross Fire Chief David Eddins used to describe Tomas Heard. “He is always prepared for the task at hand and preparing for a task that might occur.”
Ware County 911 – Communications Officer Krystal Nelson
Eleven-year veteran Krystal Nelson is a dedicated member of the Ware County 911 team. “Her supervisor says she has worked many days, nights, and holidays through her years of service.” “She has a strong passion for helping and serving people and she feels it is her purpose to make a difference…”
Waycross Police Department – Sergeant JoShaun Baker Chief of Police Tommy Cox calls Sergeant JoShaun Baker a servant leader. Having an affinity for attention to detail, which serves the department well in an investigative position. She has been instrumental in the closure of many high-profile cases due to her drive and knowledge of criminal law and police department policy.
Ware County Sheriff’s Office – Corporal Jeff Nolan “On his casework – especially on crimes related to the distribution of narcotics, Cpl. Jeff Nolan takes his assigned job duties extremely seriously”, says Sheriff James. Cpl. Nolan was also commended for his assistance with the victim of an ATV accident, tracking down an apparently suicidal man and helping to return him to the hospital, helping with several overdose victims, and making sure that a lost toddler was taken care of until it could be returned to a guardian.
Cpl. Nolan helps people.


President Craig Head explained that juvenile offenders have adjudication hearings instead of trials. Juvenile Court is for offenders under 17. It is a special court that protects youth from lifelong consequences. Offenders come from the poor, affluent, homeless, runaways, in other words, youth from any background. Juvenile offenders do not have the same constitutional rights as adult offenders. Their hearings are usually done by the judges themselves and in cases of adult offenders, the trial is being done by their peer judges. By law, offenders may not be kept at a detention facility for more than 72 hours.
If a juvenile is accused of a highly egregious crime he or she may be held in an adult facility. Usually, the first encounter a youth has with the juvenile justice system is his arrest by a law enforcement official.
Other ways that youth could enter the system is by referrals by parents, school delinquency victims, or probation officers.
Judges in Juvenile Courts have more flexibility in sentencing than in adult courts. Jeffrey Parker is the Juvenile Court Judge for Ware county.

Unity for Service

Our Motto - Unity for Service
The motto was adopted in 1917.
Its originator, Charles Berkey,
said the motto was inspired
by the 133rd Psalm, which says
“Behold how good and pleasant
it is for brethren to dwell
together in unity.”

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