OUR VIEW: Crowns and Frowns

Bill Graham / The Meridian Star

Volunteers Nate Damstra and Curt Marcus of Orland Park, Illinois helped build a home in Meridian for Mavis Scott and her son Malcolm. 

A CROWN TO THE WORLD RENEW volunteers from Orland Park, Illinois who were in Meridian this week to help build a new home for a woman whose house was severely damaged in the April 14, 2018 tornado that struck Meridian, Marion and other parts of Lauderdale County.

Through the help of United Methodist Committee on Relief and Partners in Recovery, an appointed board in Lauderdale County created to help victims of that tornado, and other donors and volunteers, the World Renew volunteers have been building a home on 7th Avenue. The property was one of the $100 lots acquired through the city of Meridian.

This week’s World Renew volunteers worked through rain and mud as the frame of the house neared completion. Another set of volunteers will follow them next week and others will follow over the next six weeks. There will be no charge to the home’s owner, a widowed woman and her son who is disabled.

Partners in Recovery notes it has secured grants to pay for the materials to build this home and other remaining homes in need of repair, but the group is in need of money to hire skilled labor professionals needed to complete the work and complement the work of volunteers.

Along with their volunteerism, the World Renew group secured a $20,000 grant for building materials. Another group from Iowa is also part of this effort.

Kim Waters, of Partners in Recovery, writes that some Meridian residents affected by the 2018 storm are living in homes that are still leaking and damaged.

She hopes local residents believe in Meridian as much as these out-of-state volunteers.

We agree. Meridian came together a year ago to build an all-inclusive playground in Northeast Recreation Park. This hard-on-its-luck neighborhood deserves a similar community response.

Contributions can be mailed to The Community Foundation of East Mississippi - Disaster Relief for Lauderdale County Fund, P O Box 865, Meridian, MS 39302, donate online at www.cfem.org and select Disaster Relief for Lauderdale County Fund or call 601-696-3035.

A CROWN TO QUITMAN HIGH SCHOOL graduate Tarvarius Moore, who these days plays in the defensive backfield for the NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers.

It would be easy to forget your small town roots just a couple of weeks after playing in the Super Bowl. But while the Kansas City Chiefs may have gone to Disney World, Moore returned to a place more special to him. He took the time to sign autographs and speak with the people in Quitman he’s known his whole life. They’re the people, he says, he thinks of before each game.

A crown for Quitman, too, for welcoming Moore home with an evening in his honor at the school.

“They’ve molded me into the person that I am and have done so much for me throughout the years, so it’s always a good feeling to be able to come back and just give back,” Moore told sports writer Matt Case.

SPEAKING OF DISNEY, A CROWN TO THE CAST AND CREW of the musical Frozen Jr., a collaboration between Lauderdale County students and Meridian Community College that concludes its run at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 16 at MCC.

Athletes often get the most recognition, but these student artists require many hours of hard work to shape their talent into a crowd-pleasing musical production.

Actor Mary Margaret Freeman, a Clarkdale High School senior, identified an extra special aspect to presenting Frozen — its theme of family love and overcoming adversity.

“I feel like people need to understand that lesson and I feel like Frozen is a sweet and colorful way in telling that lesson,” Freeman told reporter Bianca Moorman.

We salute the cast’s and crew’s effort and message.

A CROWN TO MERIDIAN COUNCIL OF THE ARTS for providing a $42,500 grant that will allow 20 members of the Meridian High School choir to sing at Carnegie Hall and tour New York City.

If you’ve heard this choir, you know they’re deserving of this opportunity and that they’ll wow their audience.

Congratulations go to the MHS choir and Director Alanna Burns.

A FROWN FOR THE LOSS OF LECILE HARRIS.

Mr. Harris, a rodeo clown who died Wednesday at age 83, delighted fans biannually at the Ralph Morgan Rodeo in Lauderdale, throughout the rodeo circuit and on national television and film audiences over his 65-year career.

The world can ill afford to lose a man gifted at making others smile.

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