NEWS RELEASE: December 2023
What a phenomenal year Bethany has been blessed to have.
Edwin E. Akins, Chairman of Trustees, announced that William R. (Bobby) Smith, member, former clerk, and now Deacon Emeritus of the Statesboro Primitive Baptist Church, has recently resigned from the Board of Trustees of Bethany after serving a total of 58 years. Bro. Bobby joined the Board of Trustees of Bethany in 1960 and has served in many capacities, including Chairman, a position that he held for over four decades. During this time, he has seen Bethany grow from the humble beginning of Faith Cottage Bethany Home for Ladies (founded 1923), the addition of Bethany Home for Men in 1951, and the addition of Bethany Assisted Living of Vidalia in 1999.
Given the highly regulated skilled nursing home industry and the desire of the Board of Trustees to ensure that the quality of the healthcare being provided at the long term care facilities remains at the highest level possible, in 2013,the Board of Trustees affiliated with PruittHealth, a Southeast regional leader in long-term health care, sold the long term care facilities and the assisted living facility in Vidalia and Millen to PruittHealth, with a vision to design and construct a state of the art assisted living and memory care facility in Statesboro. The founding of The Lodge at Bethany, the first Assisted Living Community in Statesboro, Bulloch County, Georgia, was a life-long vision and dream of Bro. Bobby, and he has certainly been the steady and calm force to bring this to fruition.
Even though his love of education resulted in the Education Building in Vidalia being named in his honor, it was the desire of the Board of Trustees to honor his 58 years of untiring service to the organizations of Bethany. To honor his dedicated service to Bethany and the Board, the Board of Trustees conferred the title of “Trustee Emeritus” to Bro. Bobby, and on October 18, 2018, a Live Oak Tree was planted on the front lawn of The Lodge at Bethany as a symbol of hope and prayer for those whom Bethany serves.
Bro. Bobby thanked the Board of Trustees for the opportunity to be a part of the long and honorable history of Bethany and pledged his continued support and love for the organization. “Today, the Lodge at Bethany is here to serve, and I pledge to continue in that service in my role as Trustee Emeritus. Bethany has always been a part of my life and always will be.”
The first stated belief of Bethany is that “We are called to serve” based on Mark 12:30-31. Bro. Bobby Smith was given to us to serve. He has completed 58 years of service to others. The Lodge at Bethany is the result of dedicated service by him and other individuals through the years that believed and acted on the “call to serve.”
Carolyn Phillips, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Bethany organizations, has announced some changes in the membership of the Board of Trustees, the governing body for all of the Bethany corporations that support the Community of Care in Statesboro, Georgia.
Mr. Waters was elected to Board membership on the Board of Trustees of Bethany to fill an unexpired term left by the retirement of R. L. Akins in October of 2023. He is a Bulloch County native, having grown up in the Upper Black Creek Primitive Baptist Church and throughout his lifetime has been a member of the Mount Union Primitive Baptist Church, Ambrose, Georgia, Shannon Avenue Reformed Baptist Church, Plant City, Florida, and then upon returning to live in Bulloch County, Mr. Waters and his family became members of the Lanes Primitive Baptist Church in Stilson Georgia in 1997 and have remained there, currently serving in leadership positions within the Church as a Deacon and Secretary of the Board. For Mr. Water’s entire professional career, he has served with Helena Agri-Enterprises and predecessor organizations in various capacities since he began in 1985 and until he retired in 2022. He is married to Lisa Sanders Waters and has two adult sons, Scott Waters (who is a licentiate minister in the Primitive Baptist denomination) and Chad Waters.
Mr. Jones was elected to the Board membership of the Board of Trustees to begin an initial term on 01 January 2024, after the retirement of Edwin E. Akins. Mr. Jones returned to his hometown of Statesboro, Georgia in 2020 after living and working for many years in the Washington, D.C. area. A graduate of Statesboro High School, he went on to earn a degree and an officer’s commission from the United States Naval Academy. He served on active duty as a Naval Flight Officer and completed successful operational deployments throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Following his naval service, Mr. Jones committed his career in the private sector to building and delivering systems and capabilities that ensure the safety and security of our nation, its allies, and our communities at home. With a background that includes leadership, sales and client services, program management, marketing, partner management, talent acquisition, strategic planning, and executive support, he currently serves as the Director of U.S. Federal Sales at L3Harris Technologies, a global defense company, where he delivers mission-critical communications solutions to customers in the U.S. government market. Prior to joining L3Harris, Mr. Jones served in various engineering and project management positions at Lockheed Martin and drove the sales growth and success of several software companies, including SAS – the world’s largest privately held software company. He is a member of the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association, the U.S. Naval Institute, the Armed Forces Communication and Electronics Association, and the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association. Jeff is a lifelong member of the Primitive Baptist denomination, and he currently serves on the Board of Deacons of the Statesboro Primitive Baptist Church.
Chairman Phillips commented: “R.L. Akins and Edwin Akins both served honorably the best interests of Bethany for a number of years. R.L. served a total of six (6) years and Edwin served for twenty-nine (29) years. Both of these individuals provided great insight into the formative years of the Bethany Community of Care that exists in Statesboro, Georgia today and their influence and wisdom will be enjoyed for years to come by Residents and Families as individuals are served within the organization. Edwin’s leadership not only as a Board Member, but as the Chair and Vice-Chair for many years, has been meaningful during the initial planning, construction, and opening of not only The Lodge at Bethany, but also The Cottages at Bethany. We remain grateful for the combined years of service that these individuals have given to this organization.”
Chairman Phillips commented: “Not unlike R.L. Akins and Edwin E. Akins were, so Kenny and Jeff are committed to the Beliefs, Invitation and Values of Bethany and we welcome their expertise and experience, passion and commitment to service as the newest members of the Board of Trustees.”
Bethany continues the mission established in 1923 with the founding of Faith Cottage in Vidalia through the ministry of The Lodge at Bethany, a forty-eight (48) unit Assisted Living Community, located in Statesboro as well as the expansion of the Senior Community in the construction of twenty-three (23) Independent Living residences, The Cottages at Bethany.
Bethany, 77 Bethany Way, Statesboro, Georgia 30458, www.bethanyhealth.org. 912.764.7960.