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Apr. 19—Sporadic periods of light rain Sunday afternoon did not deter the group gathered under the large white tent outside of Christ Church Frederica. Members of the Golden Isles Youth Orchestra played selections and refreshments were served as invited guests attended the program, hosted by the Communities of Coastal Georgia Foundation.
The aim was share news of a joint project with two special guests — columnist and author Ronda Rich and her husband and television producer, John Tinker.
After introductions by Paul White and Jennifer Fussell of the Foundation, Rich took to the stage to offer up details. And she did it by doing what she does best — telling stories. One of those was about the distinct moment that set her on her course to become a writer. It happened near the same spot where she currently stood.
It was there that the young Rich first met Eugenia Price, a beloved local author who published a series of historical fiction books set on St. Simons Island.
The encounter stuck with Rich for the rest of her life. And now, she wants to honor Price in a fitting way — by sharing her story. Rich was approached by her close friend and area real estate broker Pat Hodnett Cooper, who sits on the board of the foundation. The charity organization financially supports other nonprofits through donations it receives. With those, it funds a number of grants and scholarships for various programs.
Most recently, the foundation joined with the United Way of Coastal Georgia to offer the Community Emergency Needs Fund to assist other organizations impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
But the foundation also has another element, one that is perhaps lesser known — it owns the copyright to Price's works. That, Cooper told Rich, was something the foundation wanted to speak about with Rich and Tinker (whom she famously refers to as Tink).
They wanted to see if Price's work could be used to create a television series similar to the Hallmark series Tinker is currently producing "When Calls the Heart."
Both Rich and Tinker felt that could be an option, and they set about exploring ways to bring that vision to life. The couple hired a professional to review Price's books and share which would best lend itself to the screen. That, Rich told the audience, was Price's book, "Beloved Invader."
"Tink and I are going to pitch it to Netflix and Hallmark to see if they're interested," she said.
But that's not the only thing they have planned. They also are planning a documentary on Price's life. That's something that Tinker feels would come to fruition sooner than the scripted show.
"What you have here is so special, and we think the more immediate opportunity would be the documentary which would allow more people to rediscover Eugenia Price and who she is ... and of course, the community too," Tinker said.
The couple plans to fund the project with profits going back into the foundation's coffers. The foundation is grateful for the support in continuing their work.
"I think that this is a great opportunity to really showcase the foundation. We can take these books, which were penned long ago, and help them live on in perpetuity and keep them going," Fussell, the foundation's marketing director, said.
"It will continue to help chart their legacy," said White, president of the foundation.
But in order to properly tell Price's story, Rich and Tinker are seeking the help of those in the community. They are asking for help in sketching out stories from her life.
Anyone with information about her life can share that with her by emailing email@example.com.
"We're looking for stories to pour into this. We know folks have stories and anecdotes which we feel will be the most important piece," Tinker explained.
"We just want to tell her story the best way we can, because she deserves it," Rich added.