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      Dougherty Commissioner takes a swing to save First Tee

      The closing of the First Tee of Albany was heavily discussed at Monday TMs Dougherty County commission meeting.

      Commissioner John Hayes has said he wants to see the program brought back"before the 90 day limit, after which the land becomes property of the city.

      It does gives Dougherty Countians a facility, a vehicle that allows us to begin the development of young people and we really need to take advantage of that and not let it go away, says Hayes.

      First Tee is now closed, but once it was open to young women and other minority youth to teach more than just the game of golf, but something more enriching to the human soul.

      We taught things like sportsmanship and honesty and integrity, and a lot of what we think would be core values to be a good person, says First Tee Board Chairman Jim Rusin.

      Values that Hayes believes also lend themselves to responsible hard working individuals who can benefit the community.

      Rusin says with dwindling donations, they couldn't keep up with the estimated $150,000 it would cost a year to keep the program going. But Hayes hopes to bring in reinforcements.

      I would tell you that I have personally approached the Boys Club and the director of that organization and there have been some positive feedback, adds Hayes.

      First Tee has mentored 5,000 teens in the past eleven years.