AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– We begin today with an opportunity to meet this year’s Jefferson Award winner, Dr. Beth Newton.

She’s from Thomson, and she spent 40 years in education from classroom teacher to administration, elementary school to college level. At the same time, she raised her family and volunteered in church activities and civic clubs, all the more impressive when you learn how she turned her pain into purpose… after tragically losing her son in a home invasion back in 2016.

Through their charity, Something for Alex, Beth leads a variety of projects to help others.

“We were so happy this year to be able to give college scholarships. Our mission is changing the world one random act of kindness at a time. When someone’s having a bad day, just reaching out and giving a helping hand, a smile can make a difference.”

And we are so pleased to have Beth Newton with us in the studio today. She is our 2023 Jefferson Award winner, and she’s getting ready to represent the CSRA at the National Jefferson Awards in New York City.

But before we get the that, tell us the story about the letter you received after Alex died, and the “God moment” it was for you and your family.

“Thank you for the opportunity to be here. It was about a year after Alex was killed
in Atlanta that I got this letter from someone I did not know from Denver, Colorado, named Matt. And in it was a seven-page handwritten letter and some pictures about a trip that Alex had gone on with Matt in 2012. And on that trip, Matt had not packed correctly. And it was New Orleans, chilly, chilly nights and chilly mornings. And he didn’t have any long-sleeve shirts. And Alex saw that Matt was cold and wanting to, you know, get warm and have a better time, so he offered him the shirt off his back that he was wearing. And he loaned it to Matt for the entire weekend. And that action of Alex seeing a need and showing some kindness to someone he had just met really planted a seed with Matt.”

“Once Matt had learned about Alex’s death, he knew he had to do something. So he honored Alex at his wedding reception by collecting coats and hats and gloves from his guests. And they collected over 180 pieces of clothing and had a ‘Something for Alex’ at their wedding.”

“It was so touching. And just to know that he wanted to honor Alex and then let me know of how he did this. And it was our godsend to know how to turn our pain into a purpose.”

Now, Something for Alex is a non-profit agency in Thomson that serves the surrounding community. Beth will be sharing the good work they do when she meets other Jefferson Award winners from around the country this October in NYC.

“And I’m just going with an open mind to, of course, share our story but also learn from others in what we might could do, you know, to help our community in the CSRA more… Just the few times we’ve had a zoom with the other recipients to hear their stories, oh, my gosh! It touched me to think that there are others out there that are showing kindness and love and help because that’s our mission.”

You can learn more about Beth’s story in the video clip above. Find out more about Something for Alex by clicking here.