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Patrick Feistel

Featured Article

Hometown Heroes

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

Kari Viola-Brooke, Executive Director

Child Enrichment

“Since 1978, our mission has been to provide a voice and a path forward for children who have experienced abuse and neglect. We do this through two programs,” explains Kari. “Our CASA program, Court Appointed Special Advocates, where we recruit and train community volunteers to advocate for children in foster care. Children paired with a CASA volunteer, who is a dedicated advocate, will spend half as long as they normally would in foster care and reach permanency quicker. We also have our Child Advocacy Center where we do forensic interviews. When there is an allegation of abuse, whether that's sexual abuse, physical abuse, witness to violent crime, or child sex trafficking, we are the ones who interview the children.”

As a nonprofit organization, Child Enrichment relies on community support and offers several different ways for community involvement. These options include becoming a CASA volunteer, seeking education by completing one of the center’s free trainings on how to recognize signs of abuse and how to understand how adverse childhood experiences impact kids and adults, and donating money or supplies.

For more information, visit

Patrick Feistel, Executive Director

Garden City Rescue Mission & Life Development Center

“Every person is a precious soul that God created. Everyone on our streets is someone's son, daughter, grandson, and so forth,” shares Patrick. “These are people who at one time were children with big dreams and hopes. Some have been the victims of horrible abuse; some have made horrible mistakes; many are tangled in a web of problems they can't navigate through themselves.” Through the support of individual, church, and community partnerships, Garden City Rescue Mission has, over the last 22 years, provided a safe place for over 7,000 people who are homeless and in dire need to take a shower, have a warm meal, and find much needed clothing, support, and resources.

Currently, Garden City Rescue Mission, which is located at 828 Fenwick Street, is in the middle of the “Rescue the Rescue Mission” fundraising campaign, a 90-day effort to raise money needed to purchase the property where the shelter currently operates. For more information, visit or call 706-724-6960. Donations can also be mailed directly to P.O. Box 2493, Augusta, Ga. 30903.

Rebecca Van Loenen

Augusta Locally Grown

Thirteen years ago, Augusta Locally Grown started as an online farmers market with two women owned farms. Now, they have over sixty predominantly women owned farms, the online farmers market, three in-person farmers markets, and multiple wellness programs. “We accept EBT dollars to make it affordable for everyone and we also have a lot of educational programs that go on to connect the community to local agriculture,” says Rebecca Van Loenen, Executive Director of Augusta Locally Grown.

     “Every year, we take a group of participants who have diet related diseases. It’s a six month program with monthly clinic visits where your biometrics are taken and you have a one-on-one consultation with a dietitian,” says Rebecca. Participants are given a personalized meal plan and leave the appointment with a dollar amount to purchase healthy foods for them and their family. 

For more information or to volunteer with Augusta Locally Grown, please visit You can find Augusta Locally Grown on Facebook and Instagram at @augustalocallygrown.

Dr. Scott Pethke

Augusta Lung Associates

Dr. Scott Pethke moved to Evans in 2011 in response to lingering effects of Hurricane Katrina on local businesses and he specializes in pulmonary and critical care medicine. Augusta Lung Associates, which Scott joined as a practicing partner in 2012, is an independent medical group with four physicians who provide care for patients with lung related diseases and ailments such as asthma, COPD (emphysema), acute and chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, lung cancer, and tobacco use disorder. They also evaluate patients for, and manage patients with, sleep apnea. One aspect of his practice that Scott enjoys the most is the relationships he develops with patients. “When you meet people who have chronic diseases and you manage those diseases over time, whether it’s a few months, a couple years, or a decade or more, you develop a relationship with that person and that's definitely fulfilling,” says Scott.

  • Patrick Feistel
  • Kari Viola-Brooke
  • Dr. Scott Pethke
  • Rebecca Van Loenen