Pike County organizations receive $1,250

Published 10:12 pm Monday, September 10, 2012

It pays to be nice.

Organizations in Pike County were awarded a total of $1,250 at Monday night’s county commission meeting all because a good-hearted man received a returned email from Pike County’s Emergency Management Agency director.

James Payton, a Sam’s Club employee since 1997, was looking for a volunteer opportunity with an EMA office and had little luck.

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“I sent emails to every EMA office in North Alabama,” Payton explained. “Every single one of those directors ignored my email.”

Instead of ignoring Payton’s desire to help, Pike County EMA Director Jeanna Barnes welcomed him.

For every 25 hours that Payton volunteered in Pike County, Walmart made a $250 donation. Employees are eligible to obtain four donations per year, with an added one if they make a donation to a food bank.

All five of Payton’s donations from Walmart went to Pike County – $250 to the EMA, $250 to the Boys and Girls Club of Pike and Surrounding Counties, $250 to the Salvation Army Food Bank and $500 to the Pike County Volunteer Firefighters Association.

Payton was studying to be a meteorologist, but switched fields when Alabama was hit by tornadoes on April 27, 2011. Payton is hoping his experience as a volunteer will help him if he ever has the opportunity to be an EMA director.

“God bless Pike County,” Payton said. “I love coming down here and I am grateful for the opportunity to help.”

Also at Monday night’s meeting, the commission voted to approve the repaving of a portion of Needmore Road and a portion of County Road 5513; to approve an ATRIP project application; to approve annual bids for the Pike County Road Department; to allow Board of Registrar budget funds be paid to staff the office through September; and to renew an annual contract with the Department of Youth Services Detention Center.

In addition to those agenda items, commissioners failed to pass a 2013 budget Monday night. Commissioners Robin Sullivan, Homer Wright and Ray Goodson prefer a budget that would give county employees a three percent raise and allow them two days off at Thanksgiving and three days off at Christmas. Commissioners Jimmy Barron, Charlie Harris and Oren Fannin prefer a budget that would not include a raise for county employees and would limit holiday time off to one day at Thanksgiving and one day at Christmas.

The next scheduled meeting of the Pike County Commission is Sept. 24. Commissioners must pass a balanced budget prior to Oct. 1.