O’Beirne hosts Australian hosts

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 17, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; For 13 months, Natchez native Meg O’Beirne studied in Sydney, Australia, as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar.

During that time, O’Beirne was hosted by Malcolm and Jill McKenzie of nearby town Camben, &uot;and she became like another daughter to us,&uot; Jill McKenzie said.

Now the McKenzies are taking the opportunity to visit their &uot;daughter&uot; and her hometown.

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The couple visited Natchez Saturday through Wednesday and will visit today in Jackson with O’Beirne.

While they’re in Jackson, the McKenzies will tour O’Beirne’s workplace &045; advertising agency The Godwin Group &045; and Millsaps College, were she attended college.

The McKenzies have already had plenty to do in Natchez, from having a private party held in their honor at the antebellum house Routhland to touring Natchez and viewing the film &uot;The Natchez Story.&uot;

But they said the people of this area are what impressed them the most.

&uot;There’s just such a friendliness here,&uot; Jill McKenzie said.

&uot;The warmth of the welcome we’re received here has just been wonderful,&uot; Malcolm McKenzie said.

He said that’s what makes Rotary programs such as the Ambassadorial Scholarship program, and the Rotary Youth Exchange with which he is also involved, so important &045; establishing lasting friendships, even across the globe.

Ambassadorial scholarships are funded by Rotary Foundation. Since the beginning of the program in 1947, more than 34,000 scholars from 110 countries have received scholarships at a cost of $396 million.