Letters to the Editor

This is Viewpoints for Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016

Hazard pay

With military jobs classified as exceedingly dangerous (bomb disposal for example), hazard duty pay is given. Combat pay is given to military personnel assigned to areas requiring the wearing of body armor and the carrying of a weapon. If these military requirements for hazard duty and combat pay were applied to today’s police officers they would be likewise compensated. If that required raising the price of vehicle tags or driver’s licenses or the gas tax I would pay with the biggest smile you’ve ever seen.

Travis L. Middleton, Peach County

False social media attack

Each fall brings with it cooler weather and the colorful change of seasons. For Goodwill and other nonprofit organizations, we also welcome the giving hearts of the holidays and the reminder that New Year’s Eve is the deadline for tax-deductible donations.

Less welcome is another annual guest: A distorted social media message designed to harm reputable charities during this season of hope. It features amateurish graphics emblazoned with the headline, “Think before you donate.” Donors should indeed ponder which charities they choose, but they shouldn’t base their decisions on phony claims from an Internet meme that repeatedly has been debunked by reputable websites such as Snopes.com (www.snopes.com/politics/business/charities.asp).

Its falsehoods about Goodwill are especially troubling. These include the claim that Goodwill is “owned” by a man named Mark Curran, who receives an enormous salary at the expense of the charity’s mission. False. As a nonprofit organization made up of 178 worldwide autonomous affiliates, including Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and the CSRA, Goodwill doesn’t have an “owner.” Each affiliate is governed by an independent, volunteer board of directors and no one named Mark Curran has ever been associated with any Goodwill.

Additionally, Goodwill’s mission doesn’t suffer from overpaid executives; more than 86 cents of every dollar of our Goodwill’s revenue fuels its life-changing mission of providing education, job placement and career services. You can find those services in any Job Connection, where nearly 25,000 job-seekers received free assistance from Goodwill just last year. Sometimes the narrative includes the false claim that Goodwill operates at the expense of individuals with disabilities. This simplistic attack takes aim at the federal special minimum wage program, which helps vulnerable members of society experience work and the dignity of a paycheck. Of the more than 423,000 individuals with severe disabilities employed through this program nationwide, fewer than 2 percent work for any Goodwill.

Besides: None of our Goodwill’s employees earn less than minimum wage. In fact, more than 84 percent of our Good Vocations employees at Fort Gordon and Robins Air Force Base have moderate to severe disabilities, and earn an average wage higher than $10 per hour. That isn’t just admirable; that’s phenomenal.

We hope you’ll agree, and remember these facts when making decisions about your own charitable giving. Please think before you donate; when you do, we hope you’ll consider donating and contributing generously to Goodwill.

Stephen Denton Jr., board chair,

Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and the CSRA

Wonderful world

Recently, a lady was seen exiting her vehicle on South Houston Lake Road near Leverette Road, and dashed into traffic to remove a fox from the center of the road that, apparently, she believed to be suffering from injuries. But she found it to be mortally struck by a vehicle that sped away. A witness felt that this “good Samaritan” had performed a kindness to the animal and other drivers. How many of us would go to the trouble of assisting an animal we believed to be in distress and removing it from traffic?

In spite of the fact that we complain and lament and view this old world with much discontent, deploring conditions and grumbling because we perceive that there’s so much injustice in the world, it’s a wonderful world. Yes, it’s a wonderful world because of people like the lady who took time to render assistance to an animal whom she believed to be in distress.

Jack H. Steed,

Warner Robins

Simplistic solution?

We are a nation divided by gender, race, color, creed, ethnicity, age, social, economic status and political persuasion. This year’s presidential race only made matters worse. Both major party candidates demeaned each other and their opponents backers.

In his 1980s best-seller, “All I Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” Robert Fulghrum told us to “play fair, share things, don’t hurt people, put things back where you found them, don’t take things that aren’t yours, and say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.” Fulghrum added, “Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and ecology and politics and equality.”

Is going back to the basics too simplistic? Perhaps. But it may be worth a try. It may quell the demonstrations and riots which erupted after the election and bring us back together as one nation. That, indeed, would make America great again.

Robert L. Lehane,

Fort Valley


On behalf of the State Bar of Georgia, I wish to extend congratulations to Macon Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Tillman E. “Tripp” Self III on his recent appointment by Gov. Nathan Deal to serve as judge on the Court of Appeals of Georgia, effective Jan. 1, 2017.

Judge Self presently serves as chief judge for the Macon Circuit and was recently appointed to serve on the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia School of Law and became a member of the State Bar of Georgia in 1997.

The State Bar of Georgia appreciates our working relationship with the Court of Appeals of Georgia in our ongoing efforts to promote the cause of justice, uphold the rule of law and protect the rights of all citizens. We look forward to working with Judge Self and wish him well in this new position.

Patrick T. O’Connor,

President, State Bar of Georgia