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Courthouse ornaments honor essential workers

Every year students in Franklin County submit ornaments to help decorate the county courthouse Christmas tree, and this year the tree is dedicated to supporting essential workers.

The tree will be displayed on the first floor of the county courthouse from Dec. 3 until Jan. 4 during normal business hours.

“Even though everything is going on with COVID, it is still important to keep the spirit,” said Franklin County Extension Director Katernia Cole-Coffey. “It is a good thing to maintain those traditions and celebrate the holidays as much as you can while still being safe about it.”

Students may submit sturdy non-breakable ornaments decorated to represent essential workers by Nov. 20. Ornaments can be submitted at the front door of the courthouse to one of the security guards.

Cole-Coffey said each year the courthouse has a theme for the ornaments. This year’s theme felt like a teachable moment for students and a way to say thank you.

“Since the pandemic, everyone has been dedicated and committed to making sure we are all taken care of and have everything we need,” Cole-Coffey said. “A lot of people have really stepped up in this difficult time, and we are very thankful to them.”

Franklin County Probate Judge Barry Moore said it is important to thank essential workers for the job they do every day but especially during this difficult time.

“Sometimes a lot of the stuff they do goes unnoticed,” Moore said. “We thought this was the perfect opportunity to say thank you.”

Cole-Coffey said having students make ornaments themed around essential workers is also a good way to promote different careers in the workplace.
“I think this pandemic has really educated everyone on what all really goes into their day-to-day lives,” she said. “When you understand how things work and how there is a process, you tend to appreciate it a lot more. This is everything from the farmers working with animals all the way up to the grocery store clerks working to add boxes to shelves.”

Students are encouraged to use bright colors on their ornaments to contrast with the green tree. Essential workers can be anyone from nurses and firefighters to farmers and fast food workers.

Moore said once the courthouse receives the ornaments, members of this year’s Franklin County Junior Leadership class will add the ornaments to the tree and decorate it.

“We are very excited to see all of the ideas the students have and get the community involved,” Moore said. “This year won’t be like every other year, but we are still trying our best to make it a happy holiday.”

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