Town hall meeting held for GED students
by Neil McGahee
May 01, 2013 | 1596 views | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
State Sen. Barry Loudermilk, right, addresses the audience at Tuesday evening’s town hall hosted by Advance Adairsville. He was joined by State Sen. Chuck Hufstetler and State Rep. Christian Coomer. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
State Sen. Barry Loudermilk, right, addresses the audience at Tuesday evening’s town hall hosted by Advance Adairsville. He was joined by State Sen. Chuck Hufstetler and State Rep. Christian Coomer. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
slideshow
Jonathan Narucki, one of the GED students in the audience, listens to State Sen. Barry Loudermilk’s answer to his questions about Social Security. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Jonathan Narucki, one of the GED students in the audience, listens to State Sen. Barry Loudermilk’s answer to his questions about Social Security. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
slideshow
In a sometimes revival-like atmosphere, accompanied by sprinklings of “amen” and “tell the truth,” three members of Bartow’s legislative delegation — Senators Chuck Hufstetler and Barry Loudermilk and Rep. Christian Coomer — lauded Adairsville’s community response to the January tornado at a town hall meeting of 35 General Educational Development (GED) students, families and friends.

“We hear so many negative things about our world today,” Coomer told the meeting of Advance Adairsville, a nonprofit dedicated to the city’s well-being. “But recently we saw all the good things about this world as people came together from across our community, our state and even our nation to help us recover and rebuild. About half of the houses destroyed by the storm were uninsured. We have gone from an insurance recovery program to a charitable recovery program, and we continue to see volunteer crews come in week after week to work on homes that could not have been rebuilt without their help.”

Loudermilk said that many people are concerned about the United States and the economic challenges it faces.

“Our debt is so immense that even if you taxed the entire nation 100 percent, it still wouldn’t pay our debt,” he said. “And the economic recovery is slower than we expected so some people are concerned about the future of our nation. But we have what I call American exceptionalism, and a great example is the situation our community faced after the tornados last year and three months ago.”

The meeting was part of Advance Adairsville’s recently created GED program dedicated to preparing students who never completed high school to take the GED tests, said Sharon Southerland, the group’s president.

In addition to the academic preparation, Southerland said the students, which range in age from 17 to 50, are taught social and communication skills.

“This meeting is a part of the communication skills preparation,” she said. “They asked questions of our speakers and they will write an essay about what they learned.”

Jonathan Narucki, 21, a GED student from Adairsville, asked Loudermilk if Social Security benefits would be available to him when he retired.

“Not unless there are changes,” Loudermilk answered. “People are outliving what Social Security was meant to sustain. Just like this community responded with innovative ideas for helping others, Social Security needs innovative ideas to survive.”