Virginia Garrison, president of BCRE, retired from Cartersville City Middle School after 30 years and said the organization works support education the community.
“Our organization helps members stay informed of different laws and keep up-to-date on issues affecting retired and current educators,” she said. “At our meeting in September, AMBA will inform our members of the insurance available to them at group rates.
“We also try to stay connected to the community through service. We collect box tops and soda tabs and distribute them to different schools in the area. During Christmas, we collect paper products for Hickory Log, a home for mentally challenged men.”
BCRE has 55 members and meets at least eight times a year with events that include hearing candidates’ perspectives prior to election day, celebrating Black History month in February and presenting awards in May for community service and leadership.
BCRE is a local affiliate of the statewide organization, Georgia Retired Educators Association. Jesse Hunter is the area 15 director of GREA, a 24,000-member organization that works to protect the interest of retired Georgia educators.
“The mission of GREA is to unite retired educators and to improve benefits. We also encourage retired educators to link together to serve the community,” he said. “The Bartow/Cartersville organization is active in participating in food drives annually and awarding scholarships to outstanding students who plan to become a teacher.
“At the Georgia Legislature, we lobby to ensure benefits continue to be fiscally sound. We also monitor the actions of the legislature as they enact laws. Each year, someone attempts to freeze benefits for state employees and retirees and force them to supply their own healthcare. We have a full-time lobbyist who works against such measures.”
Hunter, who is also a 30-year retiree from Georgia education, said it is vital to not only protect retired educators but also the current.
“We need consistency in the pursuit of our goal to educate Georgia children. Anyone who works in the field needs a firm grasp on the goals, not pushed back and forth by differing forces, which makes for an uneasy system for teachers and students alike.”