Connie Rutherford

At PWC, it was "lights, camera, action!" this week, as a news crew from WALB-TV in Albany, Georgia, arrived. They were following up on a recent request by Georgia officials to delay implementation of major improvements in the state mental health system, as ordered by the Department of Justice. Perry Wellness Center was chosen to demonstrate that quality mental health programs are alive and well in Georgia, and we're proud that they selected us to make this point.

But the real star of the show was our own Connie Rutherford. Connie's been with PWC for four years. In her own words, when she first came to the center, "I was high strung at times; other times I was mean; other times I was secluded from people. I didn't know what was going on with my body and my mind." The turning point was when she was given a garden plot and told, "Connie this is yours. Do what you want with it. You can plant anything."

"Someone trusted me enough to give me a whole garden – it was just wonderful," Connie reflected. This statement of faith renewed her confidence in herself and led to major changes in her life. "I am more responsible, I am more alert, and I am more caring," Connie notes. "I love myself more, and I thank God for a day when, rather than waking up and saying, 'I hate to go through this day,' I'm happy because I have got something to look forward to."

While we've long praised the benefit of gardening for healthy living, Connie's moving words are an inspiration: "To plant a seed in the ground and know you put it there, and it grows to be a beautiful plant or vegetable, is a good feeling... To know I created this. I can grow flowers, I can grow vegetables. And people buy them. It is amazing."

Yes, Connie, it really is. And so are you.

To see the complete story, go to the WALB website.

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