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Foster parents honored for putting “love into action”

The county’s foster parents were honored and recognized for their efforts to bring love and stability into the lives of local children in need this week.

The Annual John D. Murphy Memorial Dinner was held at the Walnut Street Church of Christ, with a number of education, business and civic leaders joining the fosters parents and their children for the occasion, catered by Nanny’s Fine Dining.

Event organizer Susan Murphy, herself a former foster child, introduced her granddaughter, Amanda Marie Coker, who came into the world at the time of the first banquet.

“We’ve done this every year for 20 years, except for one – and that’s the year John died. Next year will be my last one, because I said I wanted to give this 20 good years,” Murphy said.

Lt. Anthony Barganier of the Greenville Police Department, father of three, grandfather of one and foster father to his triplet nieces, spoke of the importance of any parent developing a good sense of humor.

“You have to nurture it, just to keep your sanity at times,” he said with a smile.

He lauded foster parents for taking on “the monumental task of putting love into action to break the cycle of hopelessness sometimes seen in the eyes of a child.”

Barganier spoke of the fact all children are the future of the community, and all need and deserve training and nurturing.

“There are so many pressures on young people today. We have to stay vigilant as parents and as foster parents,” he said.

Barganier used the acronym “SUPER” to close out his talk.

“The letter ‘S’ stands for seeking out opportunities to help our youth through our churches, schools and communities, whether you are or are not a parent. ‘U’ is for understanding, keeping an open dialogue with your children. ‘P’ is for prayer. Pray for our youth; everyone can do that. ‘E’ is for encouraging our youth. You never know how your words can affect a child. And finally, ‘R’ means serve as role models for our youth. There’s a lot of bad role models out there, but there are also a lot of good ones that don’t live in million dollar homes . . . they go to work, punch that clock and provide for their families every day. And that’s why I believe you are all super,” said Barganier.

The foster parents present were presented with plaques and their names were drawn for a number of gift certificates donated by local businesses.

All of the foster children received backpacks and school supplies courtesy of the Greenville Jaycees.

“I could never do all this without the support of our sponsors. They are wonderful,” Murphy said.

2010 sponsors were: Butler County Bank, Alabama Power, Dafor Heavy Timber Fabrication, REF, Middleton Oil, Terrell Enterprises, BB&T, Bank Trust, Mark and Evelyn Causey, Ray and Fraincine Wasden, The Edge, Cracker Barrel, Ruby Tuesday, Shoney’s and Wal-Mart, which supplied 12 workers to help set up, serve and clean up in addition to their donation.