Last Friday, September 11 – the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C. – was marked by two traditions. The Town of Tunica’s annual Patriot Day program featured DeSoto County firefighter Chris Johnson (left), who participates yearly in a stair climb in Oklahoma in memory of a first responder who died in the attacks. Later that day, Rosa Fort High School’s Homecoming Parade filled Downtown Tunica’s streets with music, marchers and Court honorees.
Exhibit, convoy, festival spotlight veterans
On September 24, 2010, the life of Quita Dawson and her family changed forever, when she learned that her eldest child, 19 year old Brandon, had been killed in Afghanistan by an improvised explosive device.
Now, five years later, the anniversary of her son’s death is getting new life with a larger celebration of Tunica’s fallen hero and the many veterans who lost their lives in times of war.
In conjunction with the Tunica Chamber of Commerce, the Dawson/Weeden/Williams family is planning the first Hero Fest MS on Saturday, October 3, “in honor of those who serve and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.”
Hero Fest will be a day of family fun and entertainment, with live music at 11 a.m.; arts and crafts all day; an all-day car and motorcycle show; and a Jr. ROTC drill competition at 2:30 p.m., all on the grounds of the Tunica Arena & Expo Center on Highway 61 north of the town of Tunica.
The anniversary’s signature event, the Pfc. William Brandon Dawson Enduring Freedom 5K Run/Walk, kicks off the day at 8:30 a.m. The race raises funds for scholarships to graduating high school students in Coahoma, DeSoto and Tunica counties. Six $1,000 scholarships under the umbrella of the Chamber Education Foundation have been awarded since the inaugural event in 2011.
Healthy Home links families to local services
Just a couple of years ago, Torrey and Nona Norwood were trying to figure out how they could both work and make sure childcare was provided for their family of seven. Their oldest child was being cared for by grandparents, but they had a set of twin girls, another daughter, and a son, all under the age of seven.
Their solution came through the Healthy Homes Mississippi program offered by Mississippi Department of Human Services. Among the many resources offered by the program, Torrey’s family benefited mostly from the program paying for childcare for his four youngest children, he said.
“The main thing is it allowed us to continue to work,” Torrey said. “It just opened the door so other opportunities could come.”
Childcare expenses can be burdensome for families both single and married. Tomaka Henderson-Cotton, the Tunica-area Family Support Supervisor, said the program recognized this issue and decided to lift that burden off of eligible families participating in the program.
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