Suwannee Democrat

Jasper News

February 7, 2013

New tobacco prevention specialist selected in Hamilton

Jasper — A new tobacco prevention specialist, Colby Hooper, has been selected to serve on the Tobacco Free Partnership for Hamilton County to take over the duties of LT Tony Brady Ogburn, who was killed in a tragic Christmas Eve car crash.

At the Jan. 15 meeting of the Hamilton County Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention Coalition and the Tobacco Free Partnership, everyone bowed their heads in a moment of silence to remember Ogburn, who served as the tobacco prevention specialist and liaison between Hamilton County students and the Tobacco Free Partnership. He was also vice president of the Hamilton County Chamber of Commerce.

“This is a sad time for us,” Executive Director Grace McDonald said to the group of about 20 members in attendance.

Twenty-four-year-old Ogburn, a resident of White Springs, died in a single vehicle crash on Dec. 24, shortly before midnight, along with another young man Stephen Micheal Cordle, 22, of Lake City. Cordle’s wife and another female passenger in the car sustained injuries in the crash.

“Even though he had only been with us for just six months, he really did a lot and had been very active in the coalition and the partnership,” McDonald said of Ogburn. “We’re missing him,” she added. “I know he wants us to go on and we will go on.”

McDonald asked if anyone in the group wanted to share their memories of Ogburn and Sharon Gay said she hadn’t know him very long, but she knew his family.

“He represented them well,” Gay said. “Everything I ever heard about him within the community was pleasing.”

Brenda Carter said Ogburn made a huge impact on a lot of people, which she said was apparent by the number of people who attended his funeral service.

HCSO Sergeant Emily Lumpkin said, “Tony was a nice, gentle young man who always strived for perfection. He did a lot for our coalition in the short time that he was here.”

With Ogburn gone, McDonald was tasked with finding a replacement for him and she did so quickly.

“We’re very happy to bring onboard Mr. Colby Hooper,” she said.

McDonald said she was assisted by various health departments in finding a replacement for Ogburn as tobacco prevention specialist for Hamilton County. The Suwannee Coalition she said also helped and suggested Hooper who had been active with SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco) while in high school in Mayo, and then continued to work with the organization as an adult. McDonald said they needed someone who had experience in the field and Hooper fit the bill.

One thing McDonald and Ogburn had been working on last year was getting a smoking cessation class set up at PotashCorp in White Springs, the county’s biggest employer. Potash Corp’s first class was held at the beginning of January.

Another project the partnership was working on was helping the Hamilton County School District make some changes to their tobacco policy for all district facilities. A public hearing is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 11 at 5:45 p.m. in the board room of the administration building to discuss the issue.

“We’re pleased that he’s (Hooper) here to help us continue the work and to move on with our youth here in our county,” said McDonald.

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