Fundraiser goes to help organization distribute books to children

Inspiration comes in various forms throughout life, and Ferst Readers of Polk County wants to make sure that children are given opportunities early to see some of those dreams through free book donations to local youth.

So to keep that mission going strong, the organization will be gathering area authors together at “In the Woods” on Sunday, February 24 for their 5th annual Afternoon with the Authors fundraiser.

This year, Ferst Readers have invited four different writers to come and share their stories at the event, two of which hail from right next door in Floyd County. Book lovers will want to come out and hear Merrill Davies, a longtime writer and former English teacher and Janet Byington, the former District Director for the U.S. Congressional district, talk about their literary efforts over the past years.

Davies has always been a writer, but during her 31 years as a high school English teacher she mostly wrote short articles or poems as she had time. Since her retirement in 2003 she has published four novels, and her collection of poetry was just released by Nurturing Faith, Inc.

She is the wife of William S. Davies, known for his efforts to help the homeless of Rome and Floyd County with shelters. A library in one of the shelters bears her name.

Byington in her retirement also became an author.

Born and raised in Summerville, she spent a majority of her adult life in Rome where prior to her retirement she served U.S. Representatives as the District Director, the Co-Principal of St. Mary’s Catholic School and managed its Capital Campaign to renovate the school.

She’s also known for her volunteer efforts including President of the Rome Junior Service League, President of Rome Area History Museum, Senior Warden at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, President of the Paradise Garden Foundation, Director of Georgia Women of Achievement and has served on several other Boards in her community.

Byington’s literary efforts have produced several inspirational books for both children and adults.

The two will also be joined by Susan Sands and Vickie McEntire during the Ferst Readers’ afternoon event coming up on Feb. 24. The event will start at 2 p.m. and continue on through 4:30 p.m.

Besides the opportunity to hear from the authors, there will also be a silent auction of cakes for attendees to bid on, along with autographed copies of books from many popular and favorite authors.

Every dollar raised from the event goes toward supporting Ferst Readers of Polk County.

Those interested in more information about how to help Ferst Readers or become a part of the organization can visit