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‘Very Important Ducks’ celebrated before race

Heritage Cadillac-SAAB-Mitsubishi Co-owner Sabrina Crawford chats with business owners during Clayton County CASA’s “Very Important Duck” reception. The event was held to thank businesses, like Heritage Cadillac, who are sponsors of CASA’s annual Darlin’ Duck Derby.

Heritage Cadillac-SAAB-Mitsubishi Co-owner Sabrina Crawford chats with business owners during Clayton County CASA’s “Very Important Duck” reception. The event was held to thank businesses, like Heritage Cadillac, who are sponsors of CASA’s annual Darlin’ Duck Derby.

— Nearly 40 smiling and laughing “ducks” gathered Thursday in small corner of the Chili’s restaurant in Morrow.

These “ducks,” actually representatives of the 27 corporate sponsors of Clayton County CASA’s annual Darlin’ Duck Derby, were gathered for one last party before the fundraising race takes place this weekend. They shared chips, chicken wings, wine, water and everything in between. Chili’s was also announced as the winner of CASA’s “Duck-O-Ration” tour.

They were at the restaurant to be recognized as “Very Important Ducks,” said CASA officials.

“It gives them a chance to laugh, but it also gives us a chance to talk about a serious issue — child abuse — and knowing these businesses are financially supporting us is huge,” said CASA Child Welfare Services Coordinator Gerald Bostock.

photo

Curt Yeomans

Clayton County CASA Board of Directors member Angel Ramos (right) and his wife, Enellie (left), chat Thursday with sponsors of the group's annual Darlin' Duck Derby during a "very Important Duck" reception.

photo

Curt Yeomans

Clayton County CASA celebrated the sponsors of its annual Darlin’ Duck Derby Thursday during a “Very Important Ducks” reception.

With the “Very Important Duck” reception behind them, CASA officials now have only the Duck Derby itself to pull off this duck season. The derby will be held Saturday, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., on the lawn of the Historic Clayton Courthouse, located at 121 South McDonough St., in Jonesboro.

Racing ducks will be available for purchase on the morning of the derby, with the race set to take place between noon and 1 p.m. Ducks can be purchased for $5 per duck or $25 for a “Six Quack” of ducks.

The event is held each year to raise funds for Clayton County CASA, which acts as advocates of children during court cases, and when they have been abused, said Bostock. That’s why the support of several businesses in the county is important to the group, he added.

“It’s the financial support, but more importantly, it’s their support not only for the community, but for victims of child abuse,” said Bostock.

Heritage Cadillac-SAAB-Mitsubishi co-owner Sabrina Crawford said businesses should stand behind CASA simply to make sure the children have a voice in the world. Heritage Cadillac-SAAB-Mitsubishi and Clayton News Daily are “Diamond” level sponsors — the highest level of sponsorship possible — for the duck derby.

“Each child they work with needs our support,” said Crawford. “If we sit back and do nothing, who’s going to be their voice?”

R.J. Lewis, chief operating officer for Proactive Management consulting, a youth services provider which works with Clayton County CASA, said businesses that are part of the community should be actively involved in the lives of children who live in the community.

“The youth are our future and we have to work together to make sure they are on the right path,” said Lewis. “It goes back to that whole ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ concept, or as I like to call it, ‘reach one, teach one.’ ”