Manchester trip...
Never underestimate the power of a determined woman

Joanie Pinter, Staff Reporter

Never underestimate the power of a determined woman! This statement was especially true this past weekend as the staff of your local newspapers, The Advertizer- Herald, The North Trade Journal, The Holly Hill Observer and The Santee Striper headed for Manchester, Georgia for their annual conference.

We had to leave around 5 o’clock in the morning on Friday to make the trek across South Carolina to west Georgia to be there by the meeting time of 1:15 p.m. The minivan was packed to the gills as we headed out. Jerry Holman, writer for the Advertizer- Herald, was driving when we hit a patch of clouds and a spritz of rain. He turned on the wipers and lo and behold, they were broken. Fearing that we would have to use them as we drove further, our publisher, Joyce Searson decided that the best use of her phone would be to Google a local fix-it place and head there ASAP. On the way to find it, we saw another one and Searson immediately shouted to Jerry to turn in there. Well, what an experience! It was a drive through auto repair shop. We did not even have to get out of the car. The fellows fixed the problem right then and there. Joyce gladly paid the bill and we drove on.

The conference was great, accommodations were nice, food was more than adequate, late night Karaoke was fun and shopping in Warm Springs was fabulous. It’s a quaint small town with a lot to offer the tourists.

As the conference let out, we made one last effort to buy out the stores and head home. We decided to stop for lunch, and then proceeded down the Interstate. Near Augusta, we had a problem. A Suburban with two men in it kept pulling up to the side of our van and started making signs at us. We thought they were making “gang-like” signs and continued to stay the course. After a few more miles, we understood them to say we had a flat rear tire. We signaled a thank you gesture for their help and drove off the interstate to check the problem.

As we pulled into the a gas station, we actually heard the air escaping from the tire. Searson, once again, said she would handle the situation. We unpacked the van, now even more crowded with shopping bags, and tried to find the spare tire and jack. ARGH! The tire was under the car, but the jack was incomplete and we realized we really needed help. Searson put on her new hat and fluffed herself up and spotted a gentleman pumping gas into his car. She walked over to him and in her best Southern Lady in Distress Voice, asked if he could help. He said he would be happy to help. We still don’t know if it was Searson’s persuasiveness or the hat that got him.

A few minutes and several sweat beads later, our new friend had completed the job. Searson offered to pay him for his trouble, and he at first refused. But after she insisted, he accepted the offering and went back into the store to clean up. As we repacked the van, she approached him to ask his name. She told him we were with the newspaper and wanted to include him in the next issue. He gave her a card, which she handed to me, thus this article.

Searson has always had a soft spot for military personnel and when we realized that our helper, Terry Palmer, was military, she expounded on how our country could always rely on the military. Any crisis, they are there to help and we were in a crisis. We truly appreciate our new friend and his willingness to help. Without him we would be stuck at the gas station on Wheeler Road in Augusta. We also would like to thank his family who waited patiently in their car while Palmer helped us out.

So, thank you Terry Palmer, Team Lead, Human Resources Specialist Personnel Services Assessment Team from Fort Bragg, NC. We are in your debt. And many thanks to the two fellows on the interstate who gave us the signal that we were in trouble. What if…we had not had guardian angels riding with us on Saturday evening? I shutter to think.