Hometown Heroes

Do you know someone who has done something amazing in the community? Nominate them by emailing

Major Clay Smith

Columbia County Sheriff's Office

As the head of Management Services Bureau, Clay uses his thirty-four years of law enforcement experience to oversee a wide range of departments and services provided through the Sheriff’s Office including Community Services, Information Technology, Records, and several other divisions. “I really enjoy having positive interactions with the citizens of Columbia County through some of our programs such as the Citizens Law Enforcement Academy, the Citizens Firearms Class, and a Day with a Deputy,” says Clay. “My favorite programs are probably the Scam Awareness presentations I do with different groups, many of them at churches and with senior groups. I get to interact with my audience and they get to share their stories. Then, sometimes six or seven months later, they call me and tell me they didn't fall for a scam because they remember the presentation.”

For more information on programs offered through the CCSO, call the Community Services Division at (706) 541-2856.


Meredith Gentry, Board Member

That’s What Friends Are For

“Our primary mission is to educate the public on the importance of spay/neuter and offering low cost vouchers to families in the community that have low income or who may be struggling financially to pay for these types of veterinarian's procedures,” shares Meredith. The group also works with organizations and veterinarians in the community to bring feral cat colonies under control and provide care for stray animals who become injured.

As a completely volunteer-led nonprofit organization, all donations go directly towards helping animals. Fundraisers are held throughout the year and include a doggy beauty pageant, on-line auctions, and individual fundraisers and sponsorships for specific needs as they arise.

Visit or follow the group’s Facebook page for more information on how to support their work in the community.

Charles Welch


Charles Welch has been coaching and disciplining men for many years and two years ago he decided to branch out further and create CORE Life, a nonprofit organization. “CORE Life is Christian discipleship for men. I believe most Christians don’t understand that when they become Christians, they’re not just signing up for the code of conduct. What actually happens is when we give our life to Christ, He gives His life to us,” says Charles.

  “The core is that our hearts get renewed by Christ. I want men to understand that and begin to know that the power they have inside them to live the Christian life, make a difference in the world, and bring people to the kingdom of God,” says Charles.

Charles offers one-on-one discipleship coaching, small group discipleship coaching, resources, and weekend conferences and retreats. For more information, call Charles at 706-726-1017 or visit

Danelle Butzin

Danelle Butzin was pulling into her neighborhood and noticed some smoke. She figured somebody was just having a fire but something told her that she should drive over there and check. She pulled up to someone’s home and saw the smoke was coming from their backyard. As she approached the backyard she saw a woman that was crying. She told Danelle that her yard was on fire. Danelle quickly called 911 and grabbed a water hose. She started spraying the yard to keep the fire from spreading. She was able to put out 70% of the fire before the fire department arrived. Thanks to Danelle’s courage, she was to take action quickly and help the woman. “God talks, but do we always listen? I don’t always, but that day I did,” says Danelle. Thank you for your braveness Danelle!

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