SPECIAL TO THE SENTINEL

The Douglas County government will honor a longtime employee Monday.

Davidae Walker, assistant director of Douglas County Rideshare/Connect Douglas, is retiring Nov. 30 after 31 years of service.

Walker will be presented with a proclamation from the Board of Commissioners during a retirement breakfast Monday at 8:30 a.m. at the county Transportation Center.

She joined the program in 1989 when Rideshare was just two years old and its purpose was to support the state’s Clean Air Initiative and to give commuters another form of transportation to work.

Walker, a former newspaper reporter, was behind the public relations and marketing efforts for Rideshare.

As the demand for commuter vanpools grew, so did the need for drivers. Without a marketing budget, Walker utilized her public relations partners who donated food, gift items and beverages to support the Volunteer Driver educational training and rewards program. These programs included Defensive Driving Classes, Drug Testing, Driver Meeting and Rideshare Appreciation Night..

Some of the Rideshare public relations efforts included then Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue’s Task Force for Clean Energies Bill; United Way’s Day of Caring; September Saturdays; Taste of Douglasville; the Cultural Arts Council Chili Cook-Off; Christmas and Fourth of July parades and Douglas County’s own Earth Day Celebration Transportation Fair.

As a spokesperson for Rideshare/Connect Douglas, Walker educated and presented the program to organizations such as the Douglas County Youth Commission Douglas County Citizens Academy, Douglas County Board of Education Social Workers, Tallatoona Agency, and Senior Center Services.

Walker learned that community service was an excellent way to market the Rideshare program. She was a founding Board member of the Douglas County Connection, a satellite of the CAC.

She also served on the boards of the Higher Standard Foundation and S.H.A.R.E. House and served as chair of the United Way campaign for Douglas County and as transportation coordinator for the United Way Homeless Initiative.

Perhaps her most impactful outreach project was her remarkable work with the Douglas County Boys and Girls Club. Inspired by her son’s successful participation in their after-school program, Walker accepted a position on the Douglas County Boys and Girls Club’s Board (DCBG) and became president during the historic growth and fundraising for the Teen Center. As chair of the DCBG Youth of the Year leadership program, club members are prepared to compete for college scholarships and job opportunities.

Walker has received numerous accolades for Rideshare and her community work. They include presentations from the Junior League as Woman of the Year, DCBG Board Member of the Year and Douglas County Rising Star.

Of her life’s work in Douglas County Transit Services, Walker said, “I would not have been able to do any of these things without my faith, my family and the people who believed in me enough to forge professional relationships so that I could be of service to its citizens and community partners. It has indeed been a wonderful journey.”