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Gwinnett County has a new fire chief and his appointment is making history for the department.
Fred Cephas, who has been Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services’ deputy chief since 2020, was appointed by county commissioners to be the new fire chief on Tuesday. Cephas will be the county’s first Black fire chief in the department’s nearly 52-year history.
He will officially become fire chief on April 1. Cephas will replace soon-to-be-former chief Russell Knick, who is leaving the fire department after about five years as chief to take on a new role in the County Administrator’s Office.
Cephas is a native of Mobile, Alabama, and a U.S. Air Force veteran, having served as a Department of Defense aircraft rescue firefighter. He joined Gwinnett’s fire department in 2001. He rose through the department’s ranks over the years and served in a variety of capacities. Some of those capacities included strategic planning, accreditation management, operations, and as a licensed polygraphist. He then became deputy chief, making him the second highest ranking member of the fire department, three years ago. Cephas earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from Shorter University.
Last week Georgia Gwinnett College counselors traveled to Collins Hill High School to offer seniors at the school a unique opportunity — an instant decision on admission.
Called Instant Decision Day, these events allow college hopefuls to meet with GGC admissions counselors, who evaluate their transcripts and help them fill out GGC application forms. Students who met GPA requirements are provided an instant admissions decision on the spot.
Twenty-one students were admitted to GGC at the Collins Hill event, which was held on March 2. GGC has offered more than 50 Instant Decision Day events to schools in Gwinnett County and metro Atlanta since September with more to come, Lisa Boone, GGC’s assistant director of admissions. Boone said the program has expanded this year to high schools as far east as Savannah and as far south as Valdosta. The school’s future plans include expansion of the Instant Decision Day program to Georgia’s border states. With the support of the University System of Georgia, GGC recently established a waiver so that students in states that border the Georgia will pay in-state tuition
Piedmont Eastside Medical Center welcomed a new chief executive officer this week.
The hospital, which is located in Snellville, announced on Wednesday that Larry Ebert became Eastside's new CEO on Monday. Ebert previously served as CEO at Piedmont Walton Hospital in Monroe for the last five years.
He replaces Trent Lind, who had been Eastside's CEO for more than seven years but recently left to join Community Health Systems in Franklin, Tennessee. Ebert has been with the Piedmont system since 2017, when he became the executive director of strategic operations at Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center. He then became Piedmont Walton's CEO in 2018.
During his time at Piedmont Athens, Ebert oversaw the planning and execution of strategic efforts, such as the coordination of a master facility plan as well as a key construction and renovation project on the hospital's main campus.
And, during his time at Piedmont Walton, Ebert oversaw that hospital's integration into the Piedmont system; worked on the creation of a joint program between the hospital and the nursing program at Athens Technical College's Walton campus; recruited primary care and specialty clinicians; tripled the hospital's medical staff; and launched and expanded new service lines. Ebert earned his bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Tech University and his Master of Healthcare Administration from Louisiana State University. He and his wife Jessica are the parents of triplets Gavin, Preston and Abigail.
Sixteen Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine students and faculty members exchanged their Christmas holidays for a mission trip to Guatemala where they impacted the lives of almost 1,000 patients.
First, second and third year DO students, along with a DO student from the PCOM South Georgia campus, staffed several clinics located near Antigua, some in remote mountainous areas.
Donald Penney, MD, the chair of clinical education and a clinical professor of emergency medicine at PCOM Georgia, served as the chief medical officer for the trip arranged through International Medical Relief, a nonprofit mission organization headquartered in Colorado. According to first year DO student Alice Manning, the trip to Guatemala was “an amazing and eye-opening experience.” She explained that each clinic had several stations including triage, community education, health care and dentistry. In the community education area, Manning enjoyed informing patients about proper handwashing techniques and hygiene, along with providing information about diabetes and dentistry. Manning shared that she used many skills learned in medical school including taking patients’ histories and vitals and using osteopathic manipulative medicine. She used OMM for neurologic motor exams, upper extremity range of motion tests, special tests for carpal tunnel syndrome, and diagnosing rotator cuff strains.
She noted that a highlight of the trip was using a pocket ultrasound so a pregnant woman could see her baby for the first time.
During the trip, the students’ routine included debriefing sessions each day after clinics to discuss issues related to the day’s work. Some of the students used their free day to hike Pacaya, an active volcano. Manning was fascinated to see a local cooking a pizza on top of lava at the volcano’s peak.
At the Southwest Gwinnett Chamber’s First Friday breakfast for March the organization honored Norcross High School’s Corbin Blum with its monthly Character Award.
The award was created to recognize outstanding students whose attitudes and actions embody the organization’s mission, passion, and commitment to excellence and community action.
Blum serves as the Council Service Chair on the school’s student leadership council and has been selected for several academic honors societies. He participates in karate, ultimate frisbee, band, and golf and serves as a camp counselor during the summers. He looks forward to attending college.
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