A Tifton family is using a tragic murder to fight violence in Tift County. They’ve started an organization designed to show younger people ways to settle differences without losing a life.
This is the mother and two aunts of David Tyrone Barnes. He was murdered in Tifton in January. The family has made it their mission to try to make sure other families do not have endure such pain.
«We are doing things in the community,» said Brenda Lawson, Barnes’ aunt and CEO of the David Tyrone Initiative. «We are nowhere where we were. We ain’t where we want to be. But, we ain’t where we were.»
They’ve started the David Tyrone Initiative. They’re working with the Operation BICOH organization to educate Tifton’s youth how to avoid violence. Former baseball star Tony Gwynn’s foundation also works with BICOH to bring community’s together. Tony’s wife says she is proud of Tifton.
«It does my heart good to see that they are trying to collaborate to make things better for the youth in the community,» said Alicia Gwynn with the Tony Gwynn foundation.
The change is already being seen. The same area that saw multiple murders in the beginning of the year has not seen any recently.
«We can say that we haven’t had any. For that, give me a high five! We are going to continue to work and we are going to continue to pray for our youth,» said Brenda Lawson and Tift County Comissioner Melissa Chevers in a joyous conversation.
Alicia Gwynn has seen successful people, like her husband, on top of the world. She says there is one key to making progress in life.
«Working together,» Gwynn said. «Unity creates power. If everybody could come together and join their forces together, they could bring a lot of power to help this community and help the youth in the community.»
The David Tyrone organization’s main focus will be to help younger people with anger management problems. And they want Tift County’s support.
«Participate in all the events and help us to get the word out about this foundation who is going to be doing these things to support them and their children,» Lawson said.
The tragic January night brought pain and anguish. But the family and the community has transformed that into joy and hope for Tift County’s children.
The David Tyrone Initiative now has an office on Highway 41 south in Tifton. It is only one block away from the location where Barnes was murdered.