Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

October 5, 2013

Swim event supports James Eunice Charity Fund

VALDOSTA — Families devastated by the loss of a child grieve in different ways, but they always have one thing in common — their lives will never be the same.

John Eunice quotes his wife. “Tammy always says, ‘You don’t choose what happens to you, but you do choose how you react.’ She wants to be able to say when she goes to heaven that she didn’t waste a thing she was given. Neither did James.”

The Eunices’ son, James, died in a boating accident while hunting in January 2011. At 17, James was a senior at Valdosta High School with aspirations to play football at the University of Georgia, where he was heading the next fall. UGA Coach Mark Richt honored the family at James’ funeral with a UGA jersey and continues to honor him by keeping his name on the team roster in his memory.

Despite the loss of the youngest of their three children, the Eunices began looking for ways to celebrate their son’s life. A typical boy with loads of energy, James was also very forthright in his beliefs.

“James would want us to share what he shared — to love God and love others unconditionally.”

The Eunices began raising funds for dive suits for the sheriff’s department by holding cookouts at Sam’s Club every weekend, and after meeting their initial goal, began setting many others.

The James Eunice Charity Fund has donated $200,000 to date, with no plans to stop. The family presented a check to the Boys and Girls Club for $500 to provide training for the staff on defibrillators to assist children in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest. Through the fund, the family has provided 47 scholarships at five high schools — Valdosta, Valwood, Lowndes, Brooks and Thomasville. They have also given to many charitable organizations, including That Others May Live foundation, which raises money to assist the families of PJs, or pararescue jumpers, who die on active duty in the Air Force.

“It was PJs from Moody who found James,” says Eunice. The sheriff’s department did not have the cold water dive suits necessary but the Air Force did. PJs volunteered to help locate James’ body in Ocean Pond.

Eunice is retired from the Air Force, and the support of their military family along with friends made traveling the world from base to base have helped sustain them since James’ death. But the biggest blessings have come from former strangers; people who feel compelled to volunteer and support the various fundraising efforts.

Text Only
Local News
  • ARociewilliams_002.jpg Woman shares nearly a century of lessons

    With nearly 100 years of life under her belt, Ocie Viola Williams has plenty of advice to share with the world. Her top two pieces of advice: know the importance of education and don’t expect a teacher to raise your child for you. 

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • psst1 photo page copy.jpg PSST! finishes peachy season

    Peach State Summer Theatre concluded its 2014 season Sunday, a season which broke attendance records for the professional musical theatre company.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_2381.jpeg Award-winning young professionals share success secrets

    The Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber’s MetroOne Young Professionals hosted a panel discussion on Tuesday at the Hilton Garden Inn to highlight successful business practices.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140726_summerlibrary002.jpg Library celebrates end of summer reading program

    With the first day of school just around the corner, students are soaking in the last few weeks of summer vacation. The end of summer also means the end of the South Georgia Regional Library’s 2014 summer reading program.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • artseason1 copy.jpg A sneak peek at some area arts organizations’ 2014-15 seasons

    Beethoven. Tennessee Williams. Non-stop art. Two versions of “The Wizard of Oz.” The 2014-15 arts season is coming.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • sabalmap.jpg Sabal Trail explains its position

    Representatives from Sabal Trail Transmission recently sat down with The Times to provide an update on the ongoing pipeline and potential economic development opportunities associated with the project.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072514-MoodyComp007.jpg Moody AFB crews race in load competition

    Moody Air Force Base hosted a weapons load competition Friday morning, a maintenance group tradition in which two 23d Maintenance Group A-10 munition load crews raced against the clock to load munitions onto an A-10C Thunderbolt II.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • moonshine bust.jpg Police close illegal drinking house

    After receiving numerous complaints, the Valdosta Police Department shut down an illegal alcohol sales operation Friday.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • election.jpg Black earns most votes in runoff

    State Rep. Ellis Black led the votes for state Senate District 8 Friday with seven of seven counties reporting certified results, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140724-LAT1.jpg Little Actors Theatre ready for summer show

    Since 2004, the Little Actors Theatre has provided a place for children ages 6 to 19 to express themselves through acting.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

Top News

Do you agree with the millage rate increases?

Yes. We need to maintain services
No. Services should have been cut.
     View Results