SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Since this is the last chance I'll have to speak to most of you before the year ends, I thought this would be a good opportunity to look back at the year that was 2017.
This year started with the winds of change blowing in our nation's capital. A new kind of president surrounded by a different view of how things should be run. Time will tell whether he is right and whether we remain on a path to greatness. But in the meantime, our country and democracy remain strong.
Different kinds of winds blew into our area as for the second time in as many years, a hurricane wreaked havoc on our area. Irma didn't pack the punch that Matthew did last year, but it did create much more of a flooding issue. But as we do, we came together as a community and weathered the storm.
Up in Athens, Kirby Smart returned some of the bite back into the Dawgs' bark. In just his second year, Smart has the Bulldogs in the National Championship Playoff. Unfortunately for Georgia Southern, it was a dismal year that will bring us a new coach along with a new opportunity to get after them in 2018.
2017 will as be the last year for Armstrong State University as by mid next year, it will be fully merged with Georgia Southern. Next year we will also see the impact of this year's sale of Memorial to HCA as well as the police force demerger between the City of Savannah and Chatham County.
Sadly, 2017 will go down as one of the deadliest in terms of mass shootings in our country's history. 208 people in all, 26 at a church in Texas just a few weeks ago, 59 at a summer concert off the Vegas strip and the rest just innocently living their lives all taken by the hands of cowards.
Consider this: As you enter a new year, do so with a greater sense of compassion, a greater sense of compromise and an even stronger desire to make the world a better place. Through it all, the politics, the heartbreaks and the setbacks, we must all remain resolved in our faith and knowledge that each new year brings an opportunity for greater things to come.