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Community spirit shines in Butler

In recent weeks, I have had some wonderful opportunities to see the people of Butler County pull together and make a positive difference in the place we call "home".

On May 4, Southside Baptist Church hosted a very enjoyable event for females, ages 8 and up, called "Ladies' Night Out."

Since it was only a week away from Mother's Day, the emphasis for the evening was on moms.

Many moms, grandmas and daughters-some adopted' just for the evening-turned out and had a great night of delicious homemade treats, a variety show composed of truly talented folks (all female), and many special moments, some hilarious, some poignant-not unlike the relationships we moms and daughters have over the years.

There aren't many times in the Camellia City where we have a chance to hear heavenly 3-part harmonies on "Dixie", listen to an authentic Scottish lady bagpiper (fully kilted) perform a medley of American folk songs or watch a great mime performance of a typical young woman's day-all in the same place on the same night. (And there was a whole lot more.)

Congratulations goes out to the event's essay contest winner Ann Blackmon for her touching words on "What Mom Means to Me."

Ann Bearden and the ladies of Southside and Mt. Pleasant's Women's Missionary Union did an outstanding job putting this evening together. Ann tells me they hope to hold such events at least every six months or so.

If so-count me in!

I also had the opportunity to cover the Exchange Club's Youth of the Year Banquet at Greenville High recently.

The club members were most gracious and made me feel very welcome.

The club honored several outstanding Butler County seniors, each of whom wrote fine essays on the subject of "Igniting the flame of volunteerism in American youth."

Jonathan Brogden, Rodney Wilkerson, Tatiana Richards and that brown-eyed dynamo herself, Youth of the Year Meredith Mosley, are all to be commended for setting a terrific example for the youth as well as the adults of Butler County. (You'll hear more about these folks in an upcoming article about the evening's events.)

I myself was a volunteer at the first-but we hope, not last-Tri-County Special Olympics held on May 10 at Tiger Stadium.

Kudos to Dr. Reed, Principal John Black, Coach Stonicher and all the GHS student volunteers who donated their moral and physical support to this wonderful, worth-while event.

And all those marvelous elementary students who had the opportunity to take some time out of their schedules and cheer on the athletes-you guys were GGGREAT!

The hard-working staff of the host for the event, our own Butler Activity and Training Center, did a great job, making a marvelous memory for all 130 special athletes.

The sense of pride and accomplishment shone in the participants' eyes and smiles.

It was the generous donations of supplies, materials, food, monies and, most of all, time and TLC from area churches, businesses, schools and organizations that made it all possible – community spirit strikes again!!

This past weekend one of the biggest displays of genuine, heart-felt community spirit could be seen and heard at the fairgrounds as the American Cancer Society's annual "Relay For Life" took place.

This was the first one I attended (last year my dad was recovering from his tractor accident about this time).

I surely hope it won't be my last.

I had a wonderful time.

Scads of folks-all ages, all races, from different churches, communities, clubs, businesses, schools, health care organizations-from all over this county turned out for an evening (which turned into a morning) of fun, games, food and family.

Almost 50 teams engaged in bake sales, yard sales, raffles and other fundraisers in the weeks prior to the event to raise much-needed monies in the battle against that cruel foe, cancer.

As cancer survivor Bennie Payne said, "This is FUN . . . it's a celebration, not of cancer itself, but the fact we are fighting back and we are surviving."

Yes, a great family time for a great cause-and it was so much fun getting to see (and get the photographic evidence) of my pharmacist and long-time family friend, Frank Thigpen, smooching with a piglet.

Way to go, Mr. Frank!

Hubby and I will be away for a few days for a brief visit to "Nawlins'" and then some time enjoying sun, surf and sand down at Orange Beach with my sis Sara and her husband, Tony.

This means I'll miss most of our brand-new editor's first week on the job-but I know I can count on you folks to give her a warm welcome. Cause-"We've got spirit, yes, we do"-community spirit.

Lately, it's been shining so brightly.

Let's keep it going, shall we?

God bless and have a great one.

(D-Day vets-don't forget to touch base with me; leave a message at 382-5145.)