More Than Magic: Equal Parts Elbow Grease and Heart Define This Administration in the Face of a Natural Disaster

Fairburn is situated to succeed, to borrow a few words from the city motto. Meeting Mayor Elizabeth Carr-Hurst and City Administrator Donna Gayden prove the truth of these words and puts one at ease, knowing this part of South Fulton is in good hands. The hard work and dedication these leaders pour into the City of Fairburn is reflected in their words and actions. 

Here, they recall the recent tornado in South Fulton:

Mayor Hurst: 

I arrived at the sight only to feel as if I were a cast member in the movie “Twister.” Devastation set in when I saw so many houses destroyed and residents standing around in despair wondering, “Where do I go from here?” I immediately dispatched an “SOS Cry” to my City Administrator, Councilmembers, Chief of Police, Fire Chief, Property Management, Public Works and Recreation team. We had all hands on deck to fully assist our neighbors. Together, we boarded windows, picked up debris and comforted residents during a time of great upheaval. For weeks, the City of Fairburn extended its shoulder to the City of South Fulton as one team, working toward one goal: serving the community. I realize life cannot be taken for granted. Anything can happen in the blink of an eye. I’m grateful to God that despite the horrific scene, Mayor Edwards didn’t have to prepare a speech, nor did any resident have to make funeral arrangements. 


CA Donna Gayden:

Mayor Elizabeth Carr-Hurst and I sprang into action early on the morning of March 20 upon learning the news. We dispatched our City’s resources of Public Works employees to assist in the cleanup. The mayor stated, “Our neighbors in the City of South Fulton are hurting and are in a crisis. It is the right thing to do, as we are all here to serve.” Mayor Carr-Hurst, under the weather herself, was onsite walking the streets, removing debris and talking to the affected citizens. 


When asked about the good news happening around town and inquiring about some of their favorite spots, the duo had much to share:


Mayor: As a newly appointed mayor, we are in pursuit of encompassing a phenomenal “team effort” to promote and carry Fairburn to its greatest accomplishments ever. In doing this, we want every citizen to recognize that “Fairburn truly is ‘fair,’ in that we are endeavoring to strategically meet citizens’ needs and concerns. Projects addressed are being answered and managed within a very timely manner to improve the upkeep of the city. Sidewalks are being installed to ensure the safety of citizens as they walk, jog or run outside. Streets are being improved by paving, restructuring and painting vivid lines so drivers can see clearly at night. 

Walking, music and eating are therapy for my soul. Once a month I take some “me time” and stroll through Downtown Fairburn. I love looking at the lighted arena as my head bops to the rhythm of fine music performed by profound artists from across the nation on our newly built Frankie Arnold Stage and Courtyard. I head to Oz Pizza, which serves the best pizza in town, and order my favorite dish, the “Mack” with extra cheese. Mmm-mmm good! 

Donna added, “Fairburn is a thriving multi-faceted and progressive city. We are small and quaint enough for the people who live a calm, simple life, yet we are active enough for the millennials on the move. This summer, the City of Fairburn showcases the Duncan Park Pool and Splashpad, a wonderful haven for children and families. We make sure activities and programs are available to the youth, especially during summer when they are not in school. Along with baseball, basketball and soccer, we offer Mental Fitness, a STEM youth program that helps keep kids physically AND mentally active. For heathier eating and community fresh products, we invite families to attend our Fairburn Farmer’s Market at the Frankie Arnold Stage and Courtyard every Friday. The Stage and Courtyard is also where we host free concerts, comedy shows and movie nights for residents. 


Donna shared her favorite thing about serving as City Administrator. “The best part of my position as City Administrator is the residents that I get the opportunity to interact with, whether it be at City Council meetings, at the store or while grabbing lunch. When managing, I’m reminded of Jeremiah 31:3: “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore, I have drawn you with lovingkindness.” As City Administrator, it is my duty to inundate my constituents with an agape love, leaving them with the same love I have for our phenomenal city. Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the staff of the City of Fairburn. I am fortunate to meet and communicate with every employee in the city.” 


The Mayor feels equally blessed with her position. “The best thing about being the mayor is the ability to humbly utilize my leadership position to serve the residents of Fairburn. Serving the community creates an inevitable bond between myself and stakeholders. God didn’t place me in this position to glorify the title, ‘Mayor,’ but to do the work of a servant for His people.”