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County’s foster parents honored

It was 19 years ago a little girl named Amanda Marie Coker came into the world. That same day, a tradition was born when the first banquet honoring Butler County’s foster parents was held by that baby’s proud grandmother.

On Tuesday night, Amanda and her grandmother, Susan Murphy, stood together as part of the 19th Annual John D. Murphy Memorial Dinner. The event, held at Walnut Street Church of Christ, is named in honor of Murphy’s late husband.

The annual banquet, catered by Nannie’s Fine Dining, is a joint effort between Murphy, the Butler County DHR, the Greenville Jaycees and a number of sponsoring businesses and individuals.

Foster parents received movie passes from The Edge and monetary gifts “you must spend only on yourselves,” and had their names entered into drawings for a number of door prizes.

Ben Blackmon, athletic director and head football coach for the Greenville High School Tigers, shared with those in attendance his philosophy on how every person can make their life count.

Blackmon, whose mother for Butler County DHR in the foster parent program for a number of years, used the acronym “DASH,” referring to the dash between the birth and death dates on a tombstone:

D stands for Direction; A for Attitude; S for Sacrifice, and H for Humility.

”So many times people do not know where they are going in life, have no sense of purpose. Set goals, long-term and short-term,” Blackmon said.

“Practice an attitude of gratitude everyday. It’s impossible to be grateful and unhappy at the same time. And remember, enthusiasm is contagious.”

The coach, who is also a husband and father of two, reminded the audience sacrifices in life build character.

“And never forget where you came from on your way to the top. Don’t think you’re indispensable, for the graveyards are full of irreplaceable men. Practice humility,” he encouraged.

The DHR staff, along with Bobby Skipper and the Greenville Jaycees, who supply new backpacks and school supplies for the children each year, passed out back-to-school items to the foster children.

2009 Sponsors were Butler County Bank, Montgomery Technology, Da-For, McBride’s Hilltop Chevron, Dunklin-Daniels Funeral Home, Ruby Tuesday, Cracker Barrel, The Edge, Alabama Power Service Organization, Terrell Enterprises, Francine and Ray Wasden, Bank Trust and Hysco. Wal-Mart also served as a sponsor and their team set up, served and cleaned\up after the event.

“Without all the work by Wal-Mart and DHR, it would be nearly impossible to have this event,” Murphy said.