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News 3 Neighbors: Jimmy Connally

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COLUMBUS, Ga. -

   Jimmy Connally has become a fixture at Allen Elementary School.  He's the official greeter who welcomes students as they come in the door each morning Monday through Friday.

   Jimmy says, "I enjoy it because I fell and broke my back and can't walk without assistance, so it gives me something to do."

   He lives just five doors down the street from the school.  His volunteer efforts started some four years ago when he noticed an exterior wall that needed attention.  Jimmy asked if it would be okay if he pressure washed it, which he did.

   Jimmy also got the ball rolling on improving the school's landscaping.  He helped get grass growing in front of the school and helped spread a bunch of pine straw.  The tables and umbrellas that adorn the entrance to the school is another project Jimmy was involved in.

   Angi Idel is the principal at Allen Elementary.  She said once Mr. Jimmy started doing the work outside, they became friends.  "I saw he had such a good heart and so we just invited him to come in.  The rest is history."

   Once classes begin, Jimmy checks in the students who get there late.  When asked what he enjoys most about volunteering at Allen, Jimmy says, "Getting high fives.  I get a lot of hugs.  I get to interact with them (students).  A lot of them will come talk to you."

   Idel describes Mr. Jimmy as more like a grandfather and a friend to the students.  "They trust him.  They love him.  And I think it does them a world of good to see him."

   When reflecting on his role at Allen, Jimmy says, "As you and I both know, if you don't give, you don't get.  I'm a firm believer in that.  If you don't give back, you don't get." 

   Idel says, "We are thankful for him, very thankful that's he's willing to give his time to come in and to play an important role in the lives of our children everyday."

   Jimmy does have a personal connection to Allen Elementary.  That's where is son attended school.

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