After a more than a decade gap, there is again a Thomson-McDuffie Easterseals Christmas ornament. The 2020 ornament, featuring the Government Center, is now on sale in locations around the community.
The first McDuffie County Easterseals ornament was sold in 1993 and featured the Thomson Depot. Through the years, 16 ornament designs were created and sold. Until now, the most recent one was the Christmas ornament featuring Union Baptist Church in 2009.
The rebirth of the Thomson-McDuffie ornament sprang from a committee which was working on the 150th anniversary of McDuffie County celebration.
“We had a small workgroup called marketing materials,” said Chase Beggs, planning & zoning director McDuffie County Planning Commission. “We pretty much got together every other week and talked about different ideas to promote the anniversary. The biggest thing was the festival, so I brought up the ornaments that we had in the past through Easterseals.
He explained the idea was to revive the Easterseals local landmark ornament by designing a 2020 ornament that could be sold at the festival.
COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines have postponed observances of the 150th anniversary, including the festival, but the 2020 Easterseals ornament concept continued.
Sales of the ornaments, now and through the years, has always benefitted Easterseals East Georgia, which is headquartered in Augusta but serves a very large, multi-county area.
The 2020 ornament can be purchased at The McDuffie Progress, the city utility department and the commissioner’s office in the government complex, Beggs Funeral Home, Richards Florist, and the Augusta location of Easterseals East Georgia. The 2020 ornament sells for $20. Some of the older ornaments sell for less.
Although the 2020 ornament will be sold at several locations around Thomson, the previous year ornaments can only be purchased at the McDuffie Progress. Each year’s ornament has featured a different historic icon from McDuffie County.
At the Progress you can purchase ornaments which depict The Depot (1993), The Courthouse (1995), The Brickyard (1996). Bowdre-Rees-Knox House (1997), Wrightsboro Church (1998), Thomson High School (1999), Thomas E. Watson House (2000), Hickory Hill (2002), The Usry House (2003), 1810 Country Inn & Winery (2004), The Rock House (2005), Bowden-Johnson House (2006), Sweetwater Baptist Church (2008), and Union Baptist Church (2009).
What is Easterseals?
“Easterseals is an organization over 100 years ago to assist people with disabilities to become independent and be more productive and live within society and overcome boundaries for their acceptance in society,” said Lynn Smith, CEO of Easterseals East Georgia.
“When the organization started it typically worked with younger people, little children, and we have a lot of people where that’s that is triggered in their mind,” Smith said.
She explained that the organization has developed over time and as children have grown up they continued to need services.
She said most Easterseals facilities have a mission and some are children centers, however Easterseals East Georgia has always been a workforce development facility.
“We do provide training. We provide assistance in how to write a resume. We do anything related to job seeking and give them extra skills and then we assist with placement then monitor them after they get the job,” she said.