On Saturday morning, members of the Guyton community met with Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie and deputies of the Effingham County Sheriff’s Department in the first ever Unity in the Community event.
The event, held at the Guyton Gym at the corner of 5th and Magnolia Street in Guyton, was a coordinated effort to bring parents, kids and other community leaders together with members of law enforcement in an effort to show both solidarity and fellowship.
The event also gave Guyton residents an opportunity to get introduced to those deputies who patrol the streets and respond in cases of emergencies.
Sheriff McDuffie spoke to attending citizens and fielded questions from the crowd on how the relationships between kids, the Sheriff’s Department and the community can grow. He then helped introduced his Deputies and other staff members from the Effingham County Sheriff’s Department.
“The sheriff pretty much took control today, answered several questions to the people in the community who got up and asked questions,” Salina Lee, Project Manager said. “Everybody was, they were here, you know when I asked them to come out and do this they were here. So, that meant a lot just to see so many uniforms in the building, that meant so much to me.”
Lee coordinated the effort to put the event together with help from the Sheriff’s Department and other sponsors, including Southern Kafe, Smalls Funeral Home, Nixon Lawn Care, Learning is Key, Rolling Out Magazine and a number of various mothers who made donations.
Also speaking to the audience was Officer Davis.
“I’m a Certified Federal Officer, Special Operations Response, Team Hostage Negotiator, Certified Sniper and Union President,” Davis said. “I just want to tell you young people - some things that you do when you’re young can damage you when you’re older and you’re trying to become different things. We all make mistakes.”
Davis added that he learned that everything you do always has a witness.
“When I first got the job, the FBI did my background check,” Davis said. “They went and talked to people - my old classmates, teachers, football coaches and neighbors. Sometimes you do things and it affects you - you may not think people are watching but they are watching.”
Davis explained what his father told him growing up.
“I was always taught by my dad that if you want to see a change, step up and do something about it,” Davis said. “Get your degree and go into criminal justice - there are plenty of opportunities.”
After Davis concluded his comments, Lee thanked the crowd for being there and hoped that the next Unity in the Community event would draw an even larger crowd.