GARLAND — Commissioners took turns looking at a drawing reflecting some of the local history. In the near future, drivers passing through town will get a larger and brighter glimpse of it too.
During its Tuesday meeting, the board approved a design with minor changes for a mural which will be placed next to the Sampson County Sheriff’s Annex, near Rotary Park. The project is being lead through Garland’s North Carolina Small Towns Economic Prosperity Program (NC STEP).
NC STEP Facilitator Mary Brown and member Jackie Newton Johnson, presented a design by artist Robert Hall. The total cost of the work is $5,000. NC STEP will pay $3,500 and is currently collecting $1,500 to make up the difference from people interested in the project. The purpose is to enhance the look of the town and to represent its history.
Brown said the design reflects the past, present and the future. It features a water tower, railroad tracks, children near an elementary school and the Garland Shirt Company. A major highlight is Dr. Amos Johnson and his aide, Henry Lee “Buddy” Treadwell, who are labeled as “medical trail blazers” on the artwork, for their innovation of the physician assistant (PA) concept, which was recognized and implemented by Duke University.
Johnson discussed why the two medical professionals were selected for the mural. She said they made history by working together through laughing and building a trust together.
“The small town of Garland helped improve the health of millions of people with the PA program,”Johnson said. “When they created that PA program, that gave the doctor time for his family, without ignoring his family. His patients still got excellent care although he was not there.”
Johnson continued and said the mural is an opportunity to celebrate its heritage and mentioned other nearby towns who do the same. As an example, she brought up how Elizabethtown acknowledges astronaut Curtis Brown.
“We too should celebrate our doctors with great pride,” Johnson said. “(They) will forever be remembered by the entire world for their contributions to the medical field. This was a great contribution.”
“Let’s advertise our contribution to the world, so as people pass, they may see that greatness truly does grow in Garland,” Johnson said.
The commissioners were impressed with the presentation about the mural and the story of the medical professionals.
“We thought it was historical,” Brown said to the commissioners.
Commissioner Carolyn Melvin thought the names of the men should be displayed, but was also aware of the limited space.
“There’s not enough room on the wall to recognize every single thing that has happened great in Garland,” Melvin said about people, businesses and other accomplishments.
For the project, Brown said an idea surfaced to add names to the railroad track of other individuals who donated.
Before voting unanimously, the commissioners made suggestions to add Brooks Brothers, which operates out of the Garland Shirt Company and the town’s seal. A projected completion date was not presented during the meeting, but funding for the NC STEP grant is expected to expire in the fall.
“We appreciate your comments and we have explored all of these thoughts and we’ve been inclusive,” Brown said to the commissioners.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.