Published Wednesday, February 20, 2013
By ALEX MCRAE
Organized entertainment was not on the bill, but local residents packed the Centre for Performing and Visual Arts Thursday, most of them driven by a desire for community service that outweighed any lingering fear of heavy-gauge needles.
Those needles were out and drawn all day long to make the 2013 “Big Give” community blood drive a smash hit.
The Big Give is sponsored by the Coweta Community Foundation and held in cooperation with the American Red Cross. This year’s event — the second annual — honored the late Dr. Gerald S. Troutman, who served the community for years as a minister and friend. Troutman was on the Community Foundation Board.
“It’s been a great day for the Big Give,” said James Welden, a member of the Community Foundation board. “We’re doing it this year in honor of Gerry Troutman by doing his favorite things — being with good friends, eating good food and helping the community.”
Welden said the turnout had been “great” and it was hoped that 100 pints of blood would be collected during the day.
“The seats [where blood donations are taken] have been filling up as soon as they were empty,” Welden said. “People keep coming and coming. This community has always supported good causes and this is no exception.”
Welden also thanked Walt Guiterrez of Toyota of Newnan for helping sponsor the event and securing a food truck from Atlanta’s Varsity Drive-In. Donors were encouraged to snack — after they had given blood.
After registering in the Centre’s main lobby, donors were directed to one of the conference rooms, where Red Cross workers stood ready to draw blood as safely, quickly and painlessly as possible.
Foundation chairman Amy Sweet was all smiles at the registration desk, watching as person after person signed up to donate.
“It’s a great day and we’re having fun visiting with people and doing something good for the community,” Sweet said. “It’s a serious cause but we have a good time and that makes it even better.”
Kathy Lockwood said she donated at last year’s inaugural event and plans to keep coming back.
“I needed blood one time and know how important this is,” Lockwood said. “I wanted to do what I could to help.”
Retired Coweta educator Geraldine Welch, who has supported countless community efforts over the years said, “I’m happy to be here and I’m glad we have such a great turnout. I’m not surprised. Coweta County always supports good causes.”
Troutman, to whom this year’s “Big Give” was dedicated, held an honorary doctor of divinity degree from Newberry College, and Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary presented Troutman with the Dr. J. Luther Mauney Leadership Award. He was particularly pleased when Lenoir-Rhyne University presented him with the 2009 Alumnus of the Year Award.
Troutman served as pastor of congregations in Greeneville, Tenn., and Atlanta. Before becoming bishop, he also served as secretary and president of the LCA’s Southeastern Synod of the Lutheran Church in America.
Troutman served on the staff of the Division for Ministry and Synodical Relations of the ELCA and as director of development for Lutheran Ministries of Georgia. He was an interim/ transition pastor in several congregations – including Resurrection Lutheran Church on Highway 34 in Coweta County, Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Atlanta, St. Timothy Lutheran in Forest Park, and Advent Lutheran in LaGrange.
In 2009, Troutman was honored by the ELCA’s Southeastern Synod when he was named Bishop Emeritus.
Locally, Troutman was a member of the Newnan Rotary Club and the Coweta Press Club, for whom he presented scholarships. He was grand marshal one year for the July 4 parade in Newnan.
He was a member of the Newnan-Coweta Chamber of Commerce, chairing the chamber’s convention center task force. Troutman also served on the board of the Keith Brooking Children’s Foundation and was active with Resource Coweta, a coalition of helping organizations and ministries.
Troutman was a graduate of Leadership Coweta and had served as a chaplain for police and fire departments and held leadership in school, youth sports and civic organizations.
Dr. Marihope Shirey Troutman, retired local educator, and the longtime Lutheran leader had been married 52 years at the time of his death.
Coweta Community Foundation’s funding interests include, but are not limited to, women’s and children’s issues, public safety, education, and the arts. CCF maintains a broad and ongoing grants program which does not discriminate with regard to race, sex, religion, national origin, handicap, familial status or age.
Established in 1997 by the Newnan-Coweta Chamber of Commerce, CCF exists to help make the quality of life better for all Coweta County citizens. The 501(c)3 organization is governed by an entirely volunteer-staffed board of directors.
The foundation’s primary goal is to accept, manage and disperse gifts and bequests from individuals, organizations, corporations, and estates.