On Aug. 20, nearly 100 members of the Georgia Retired Educators Association gathered at Patriot Hall in Ringgold for their annual Area 15/16 meeting.

The meeting, which was hosted by the Catoosa Retired Educators Association, brought together members from 15 counties in Northwest Georgia.

Area 16 Director Barbara Howard welcomed the crowd and Catoosa Retired Educators Association President Andrea Sims led everyone in the “Pledge of Allegiance.”

The theme for this year’s meeting – “Share the Light” – was chosen by GREA President Mickey Wendel and emphasized “support, service and fellowship.” Each year the president of GREA chooses a charitable organization to support. This year, Wendel chose Children’s Hospital of Atlanta.

Carolyn Mayo, president of Chattooga Retired Educators Association, shared an inspirational message based on Bible scripture and an experience she and her husband had visiting a cave. Mayo says the caving tour group was led by a guide far into the depths of a cave. The guide turned off his light. “I never knew what total darkness was until then,” said Mayo.

“Darkness was upon the face of the deep,” Mayo quoted from Genesis 1. “And God said, ‘Let there be light;’ and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good.”

Mayo went on to quote writer Alan Bloom, “Education is movement from darkness to light.”

“Light gives of itself freely and asks nothing in return,” said Mayo. “Martin Luther King Jr. said darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. I challenge you to consider what you are doing to be the candle in someone’s life.”

Entertainment was provided by Andrew Stone, who shared how his maternal grandfather sold the land for Boynton Elementary school to the county. Stone’s mother taught at Boynton for 30 years and Stone was the fourth generation of his family to attend the school. After thanking the teachers present for the work they had dedicated their lives to, Stone sang an a cappella rendition of “Thy Word.”

In addition to comments by GREA president Wendel, attendees of the meeting heard from GREA President-elect Jo Ann Tomlinson, GREA Executive Director Bill Sloan and a number of other people associated with the group.

Breakfast refreshments included juice and desserts, including cakes decorated with lighthouses to accentuate the theme of the event. Lunch was provided by Bailey’s Barbecue.

To learn more about Catoosa Retired Educators Association, email Andrea Sims at dns30736@yahoo.com. To learn more about Georgia Retired Educators Association, visit garetirededucators.org.