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Look in my heart and let love keep us together

A fact about Winter Storm Pax is although it put our Screven County on ice it did not cool down everyone’s temperament about their power being out. Some people spun the temperature dial around to the boiling point.
The wake of the storm has been extremely difficult on many. As this edition of the Sylvania Telephone graces your hands to read, it was projected that all our Screven County residents have their electricity restored. We hope for the same in our also hard-hit neighboring counties.
City and county employees and crews from far and wide have been working at a feverish pace to bring light to our living rooms, kick start our freezers to salvage our food storage, and ignite our water heaters for a hot shower at home.
The Ice Man known at Pax cracked off limbs from oaks, elms and, of course, pines to defile what just days earlier were well-kept lawns. The winter blast has been described by some as our own February tornado minus the circular swirling winds. This natural disaster came by way of raindrops that slowly froze on our tree branches and power lines.
That icy weight was simply too much to bear.
One crashed tree was quickly followed by another and then another Feb. 12 as many already were sitting in the darkness only broken by the illumination of the glimmer of small candles or the light rays of flashlights that – for the fortunate -- were in easy-to-locate spots in residences.
Despite the ongoing difficulties, we have survived mostly because of the goodness of others. Family, friends, neighbors, and those individuals who just saw a need came together to help. Limbs were toted; mega branches were chain sawed; and yards were raked.
People came together because it was the right thing to do. Georgia Southern football coaching legend Erk Russell’s motto of “Do Right” rang true in Screven County.
On Sunday afternoon, I attended the 129th anniversary of the Greater Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Railroad Street in Sylvania. During the uplifting service, I and two others -- Jerry Hunter and Avon Bangs – were honored by the church family for our service and dedication to the community.
While I am extremely honored to receive a distinction along with Mr. Hunter and Ms. Bangs, my recognition must be accepted on behalf of the Sylvania Telephone as a whole. It is a team effort. We all work as one toward the goal of informing you the readers of happenings in wonderful houses of worship like Greater Bethel AME; in super groups like our area Homemakers clubs; and on the Gamecocks’ many school fields of play.
I am well assured that is why the message of visiting Pastor Anthony Scott Sunday in was so fitting when he spoke at Greater Bethel AME. The reverend from Jerusalem AME Church in Brooklet sparked the congregation two days after Valentine’s Day with a message that love prompts people to do for others.
“It is about showing up so God can show out,” voiced Scott to the gathering at Greater Bethel AME that is pastored by Rev. Benny Wilkey.
While traveling the roads of Screven County, our Telephone staff witnessed the young and the young at heart assisting each other. Schools were closed because to the vast numbers of residents without power, but school-aged youth were not sleeping in or texting away on their Smartphones. No, they were outside helping. Some were working so hard they openly admitted they would have rather been in the classrooms instead.
“It ain’t about you. God blesses you so you can bless someone else,” Scott said in his sermon. “Love is giving your very best no matter how they may respond to it.”
Scott explained that life and the revolution of events that surround it creates many ups and downs, but when things come down and you are falling, Jesus has got you in his hand.
“God is blessing us each and every day,” said Scott, denoting that some of those blessings come via earthly helping hands. “Love is the oil we need for the wheels of our affection.”
We all have been and continue to be affected by that evil Pax. Some regained power to their homes within a few days, while others struggled days longer without electricity. Our oddball winter of devastating weather for a clump of days followed by 70 degree spring-like conditions for a series of days thereafter left us in many a quandary.
What, however, has not been in question is how this community cares for one another. Neighborly residents could be seen last week carrying limbs in Rocky Ford; pulling branches in Hiltonia; sweeping driveways in Newington; shoveling debris in Oliver; wheel barrowing uncountable pine needles in Sylvania.
Thank you to all who opened their homes to those without power; provided blankets to individuals who were cold; cooked and delivered hot meals to fellow residents and utility workers; cleaned up and shaped up their neighbors’ yard before tackling the chore of handling their own; and those you prayed to our Heavenly Father to support us through our strife, but also to thank Him for delivering us from the perils of the storm.
As bad as Pax was, it could have been worse.
We are blessed so we can bless others.

Enoch Autry is the publisher-editor of the Sylvania Telephone.