There are some people whom you recognize as “special,” and even though you are not with them on a regular basis, you count them as favorite friends. Elovoyce Greer is one of those special people for me, as she probably is for many others.
When Elovoyce came to speak at the recent Retired Educators Association meeting, I realized that many present-day residents are not aware of things she did in the 1980s and 1990s and the effects they had. Although what she has done is important, more important is what she has been and is.
She was president of the Dawson County Woman’s Club the year after I joined, following Betty Turner, and one of the accomplishments of her administration was the appointment of a committee to do a feasibility study concerning the restoration of the (now) historic courthouse; then it was a decrepit derelict, in partial use but about to be condemned. Although that restoration was almost a decade in being completed, Elovoyce pushed the starter button.
She was either editor or main reporter for a newspaper for a while and later edited a newsletter for Sole Commissioner Joe Lane Cox — a practice which I am happy to see that County Manager Kevin Tanner has revived.
If I were writing this as a journalistic article instead of a column, I would do research and report on the services she performed on various boards, in her many different church activities, and in other ways.
I probably came to know her best when she served as project manager for Dawson County’s participation in the Governor’s All-Georgia Communities Program. Not only did Dawson County receive that designation, but the work of committees that were then formed laid the groundwork of many later projects.
After visiting with her at the REA meeting, I looked in one of my file cabinets and pulled out the big blue book prepared and published by Georgia Mountains Regional Center in late 1991 or early 1992, entitled “Dawsonville —Dawson County Comprehensive Plan 2010.”
Elovoyce did not continue as chairman until the end of the project, which resulted in that evaluation, but she got it organized. I think I will check with present commissioners and city council to see if they have copies — or are really aware of its existence.
Later contacts with the Greers were through the Friendship Force.
Morris and I joined the Big Canoe/North Georgia Chapter (which is actually where the organization was born), where Larry and Elovoyce were active, and joined them in hosting and traveling.
We also traveled with Elovoyce when she was coordinator of many short excursions for the “Golden Voyagers,” sponsored by Dawson County Bank.
In all the activities in which I was involved with her, I knew that she was innovative, energetic, efficient and fun-loving. I also knew that she was unabashedly Christian.
All those characteristics were evident in “Camp Grandmagoochee,” which she described at the REA meeting.
Last year, The Christian Index (a well-known church publication) featured the 25th anniversary of that Greer tradition; earlier it was described in the Dawson County Heritage book. Created originally, Elovoyce says, from “a selfish desire to have our grandchildren all to ourselves for a week each year,” the camp has become an important way to leave a legacy of family and Christian values.
They really do have a full week of camp at the Greer home in western Dawson County, complete with a regular routine: flag ceremony, crafts, recreation, study — and all activities are built on a “faith-based theme” each year.
Because the four Greer siblings are scattered, some in different states, this camp tradition is an excellent way for the cousins to know each other better and to have a strong sense of family. And they are so fortunate to have grandparents who make being part of the family such fun.
The world could use more Elovoyces.
Helen Taylor’s column appears periodically in the Dawson Community News.