by Katie Teems, NHT AmeriCorps Member
When I first arrived in Thomas late August 2016 as an AmeriCorps member for New Historic Thomas, I learned that Thomas was more rural and more magical than I thought it would be. Then, the winter happened. This Georgia girl was not mentally prepared for the cold. Thomas' "mild winter" by local standards proved to be bitter cold and tough on my morale. But, I got to trudge in the snow, shovel the sidewalks, and go sledding and cross country skiing for the first time in my life.
While in Thomas, I have met so many wonderful people who quickly embraced me as a part of the community. I've loved being able to wander around Front Street and run into people who I knew. I've loved being able to walk home at night and see the Milky Way, even with the glare from street lights. I've loved how "traffic" meant a few cars on Front Street.
My service with New Historic Thomas has allowed me so many opportunities to learn and accomplish cool projects. I had the chance to start the Thomas Times newsletter and see its following grow. I got to work with a committee and professionals to create a business map promoting Thomas—it's still in the works but coming very soon, by the way. I had the chance to work on addressing Thomas and Davis' needs through helping to write a comprehensive plan. I also got to co-teach a Mountain Laurel Spanish Camp! Most importantly, though, serving with New Historic Thomas has allowed me to become a helper and friend to Thomas and its lovely, interesting, lively, and resilient residents—"locals" and "transplants" alike.
I am so grateful to have lived and served in Thomas and Tucker County for a year. As I'm writing this, it is still mid-August. I plan on returning to Georgia for the total solar eclipse on August 21st. I have applied to positions in the Atlanta-area and am excited to see what I will be doing next. I plan on returning to Thomas to visit, so it's not "goodbye," Thomas; It's "see ya later."
New Historic Thomas has selected a new AmeriCorps member who will be taking over for me in mid-September. She'll be working on a variety of projects, including the Thomas Times. To anyone who's reading this, make sure to give her a warm welcome!