The small town of Barnesville, Georgia boasts a population of slightly over 6,500 people. Located about six miles west of I-75 and nearly midway between the cities of Macon and Atlanta, the community once served as a center of buggy manufacturing in rural Georgia. Today, it lies on the fringes of the Greater Atlanta Metropolitan Area and serves as the home of Gordon College, a small liberal arts college within Georgia’s state college system.
Recently, people in Barnesville received national media attention because of their generosity in assisting a homeless premed student. Local police discovered the young man, 19-year od Fred Barley, sleeping in a makeshift tent on the campus. He had borrowed his younger brother’s bicycle to travel some 50 miles from Conyers on the eastern edge of Atlanta to the college. He lacked any other means of transportation.
After discovering the young man camping at the college in order to register to attend a second semester, officers kindly put him up at their expense in a local hotel. As people in the area learned of Fred Barley’s plight and his determination to succeed, many of them offered assistance. The owner of a restaurant extended a job to him. Other residents of the small town launched an online campaign using social media and other sites to help raise funds for the college student. He received donations of some $184,000 to assist his educational goals. Fred Barley thanked the community for their support and promised to use the resources wisely.