When recently retired educators Turner Guidry and Georgia Bethel attended the annual Founder's Day dinner at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church on August 22, the couple did not know they would receive special recognition for their years of service. Parishioners at the church presented them with a generous check that will be used to establish a college scholarship fund for meritorious students in this area. Georgia says, “Turner and I were both completely surprised, humbled, and honored when presented with the scholarship fund in our honor. I know what a worthwhile opportunity this presents to our local students.”
Once Turner and Georgia have established the criteria for awarding the scholarship, a deserving student will receive $500 per year. Eventually, as the fund grows, four students will receive scholarships at the same time.
Turner, who is also a deacon at Good Shepherd, retired after more than 40 years in the field of psychology. He was the Clay County schools psychologist, also teaching some classes. Always serving God as well as performing his professional duties, he formed 100 Strong, a middle and high school group whose goal was growing 100 or more youth dedicated to following a drug-free, alcohol-free, smoke-free life. In addition, he started the “Mud Puppies,” a group of Christian boys who met to talk about God but also occasionally rode motorcycles. Turner still gathers a group of men and boys at Good Shepherd for breakfast on Thursday mornings. His Brotherhood of the Fire meets weekly around the campfire at his and Georgia's home for boys and men to endeavor to grow into men of high Christian character.
Of his life's work, Turner says,”It has truly been an honor and a blessing to serve the children and staff of our schools. We have an excellent faculty and superb administration and board of education here in Clay County. Georgia and I are grateful for the generosity of our church in providing scholarships for our seniors as they go forth to college. We are truly honored to be named in this scholarship.”
Georgia humbly describes herself as “more of a behind the scenes warrior.” Before retirement she was involved in teaching scenarios from exercise classes to Sunday School to Cub Scouts. For 23 years she served as special education teacher in 5th through 8th grades. Like Turner, she says that she “always thought of these jobs as a ministry and knew that God was guiding me.”
Together, Georgia and Turner were involved in a Good Shepherd youth group that combined with a group from Oak Forest Methodist Church to shepherd 21 youth and adults on a mission trip to a deaf village in Jamaica.
Now, in retirement, while Turner continues as deacon at Good Shepherd, the couple will volunteer in the community, and they plan to travel.
Establishing this scholarship fund in Georgia and Turner's honor is part of Good Shepherd's continuing efforts to engage the world as God's shepherds. For more information about programs at the church, see the website: goodshepherdhayesville.org.