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Passing the torch: Waller elected president/CEO of LCW

Little Children of the World directors and advisory council held a special called conference on June 5-7, in Etowah, Tenn., to honor Dr. Bettie Elwood and her husband Dr. Douglas Elwood, who retired from their leadership positions May 31. They elected Glenna Houk Waller of Barnesville as the new president and chief executive officer. Serving as chief financial officer and vice president for the past 11 years, Waller is the wife of Lamar County Sheriff Larry Waller and daughter of Dean and Peggy Houk of Barnesville. Bettie Elwood is her aunt. The LCW Georgia office is at 333 Sims St. in Barnesville. The ministry was incorporated in Atlanta in 1987. It was an emotional moment when Elwood asked Waller to place her finger in the official seal of LCW. She said she was passing the seal on to her to demonstrate her approval and blessings in turning over her LCW responsibilities and privileges she had carried the past 22 years. The theme for this historical event was ‘Looking Back With Gratitude.’ Bettie began in Dumaguete City, Philippines, with 10 boys who were taken from the streets and placed in a temporary shelter. LCW now touches the lives of over 5,000 people in 14 communities. Its ministry includes 618 sponsored children, eight preschools, a health clinic, two soup kitchens, a livelihood program, School on Wheels, a handicapped program and 90 students attending college. Its Chapel of the Doves has an average Sunday school and worship attendance of over 1,300. Three dorms provide residential care for over 50 children and youth. Boxes of supplies and gifts donated mainly by Georgia residents are shipped from Barnesville to the Philippines several times a year to meet the needs of the poorest of the poor. The Georgia office staff spent numerous days planning the banquet to honor the Elwoods on Saturday evening, June 6. Board chairman Gerry Champagne of Seattle, Wash., gave the welcome and introductions. Sue Paul, a council member from Adairsville, offered a prayer followed by Janice Lewis, moderator of the advisory council from Bloomington, Ill., with opening remarks. Brian and Gloria Elwood and daughter Ali gave a few endearing words for their father and mother. A video from Little Children of the Philippines was shown to express gratitude to the Elwoods. Peggy Houk, board member and long term volunteer, spoke on ‘Looking Back With Joy’. She distributed a timeline she had compiled noting LCW historical highlights from 1987-2009. Following the meal, one of the newest advisory council members, Margie Mangham of Barnesville, having recently returned from the Philippines, provided entertainment. She portrayed the fun-loving character of Minnie Pearl. A standup comedian, Mangham kept the group of 42 constantly laughing to the delight of the Elwoods. The highlight of her presentation was the song she wrote and sang to fit the fairy tale story of the Elwoods’ earlier years. Waller expressed her thanks for the privilege and opportunity of serving as vice president and treasurer. She accepted the responsibility entrusted to her by the board to serve as president and CEO. She urged everyone to help her carry on the legacy the Elwoods began ‘“ to change the world one child at a time. Wooden plaques of honor, scrapbooks and gifts to the LCW endowment fund were presented to the Elwoods. The evening ended with the author of the LCW theme song, Ann Stansell, a sponsor/donor from Griffin singing ‘Don’t Turn the Children Away’ as she played her guitar. The Barnesville office, in addition to sponsorship and finance, adds the responsibility of publications, website and volunteer program. The Jericho Street Echoes and SS Sponsorship newsletters will now be published and mailed from the Georgia office. The staff in the Barnesville office includes administrative assistant Lisa Goddard, office assistant Leah Sneed and Laura Beth Sneed in charge of publications. Anita Cole, Betty Gibby and Margie Mangham of Barnesville serve on the advisory council. Local volunteers assist in the LCW office. Barnesville is now the home of the international office including ministry to Dumaguete City and Leyte, Philippines, and Haiti. ”LCW is very thankful to the many groups of volunteers and donors from Barnesville who have always faithfully supported this ministry,” said Waller. “In Georgia 149 people sponsor one or more children. Many have also traveled with me to Dumaguete City and personally touched the lives of the children.” Sponsorship is $30 a month and brings help and hope to a child, completely changing their lives and their future. To make a difference in the life of a child through sponsorship or go on a mission trip to the Philippines contact Waller at the office or call 770-358-2771. ”Tomorrow the world may be different because you were important in the life of a child,” she said.

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