Perdue visits service center

By Shannon Jenkins

During a whirlwind visit to Henry County on Friday, Gov. Sonny Perdue toured a crowded Red Cross service delivery site located at McDonough Presbyterian Church.

The governor and First Lady Mary Perdue moved through the church packed with Hurricane Katrina evacuees and local volunteers as an entourage of county and city officials, police escorts and media members followed close behind.

After the tour, the governor and his wife nestled into an outside corner near the entrance of the church to answer questions from a crowd of television and newspaper reporters.

"This is a great outpouring of spirit," Perdue said. "It's heartwarming to see."

The governor seemed especially impressed with the operations at the center were conducted and how the volunteers worked with the displaced.

"They're not treated as numbers. They're not treated as foreigners," he said. "They're treated as human beings."

Seeing the outpouring of compassion first-hand, Perdue said, "It makes me proud to be a Georgian."

While speaking of the efforts being made in Henry County, the governor's voice temporarily cracked with emotion. He quickly composed himself and continued praising the county, volunteers and church community for their roles in the relief effort.

Perdue said the McDonough center was the best example of organized effort he's seen so far since Hurricane Katrina ravaged Louisiana and Mississippi on Aug. 29.

"Many people want to do something," he said. "This is the place where it's being done."