Send us ideas for hometown heroes

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Miss-Lou has had no shortage of heroes this year.

So I am expecting to receive dozens of nominations for our annual Unsung Heroes section, which will publish next month.

The centerpiece of the section is always our selection of the Citizen of the Year.

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Last year we recognized the Natchez National Historical Park, whose employees&8217; efforts over 15 years in our community have made a huge impact on tourism and preservation.

Our Unsung Heroes, chosen from nominations by the community, were also worthy recipients of the designation.

We recognized three couples who have given their time and talents to the community:

Tony and Kim Fields, whose musical talent may only be overshadowed by their friendliness;

Kirk and Judy Bartley, known for their volunteerism, their compassion and their optimism; and

Helen and Buddy Rayne, who a friend called the &8220;lifeblood&8221; of the Habitat for Humanity chapter in Natchez.

Other residents recognized for their work in the community last January included:

Donna Crisp, whose visits to a friend with a chronic illness were tremendously encouraging

Wink Collins, whose encouraging words in the form of &8220;Wink&8217;s Wisdoms&8221; showcase his friendly nature

Brenda Moore, a Ferriday vice principal who volunteers for a variety of community organizations

Edith Latham, who did not let illness stop her from offering help and encouragement to friends

Tommie Jones, who as special education teacher at Natchez High has touched the lives of hundreds of teachers and their families

Margaret Weed, who has volunteered for countless organizations in the community and for her church.

Over the years, we have recognized dozens of people for their efforts in the community.

For many, the nomination was a surprise, because they never expected to be recognized for all of the work they do in the Miss-Lou, because that&8217;s not why they volunteer.

This year, especially since Hurricane Katrina hit in August, we have had so many unsung heroes in our community who reached out to those in need.

It seems as if every day since the hurricane hit I have heard a new story of generosity, whether it&8217;s a grandmother who opened her doors to a dozen family members or a stranger who found and apartment or a job for a new resident.

The hurricane certainly brought out the best in our community, but we&8217;re a community whose volunteers shine year-round.

I hope you&8217;ll consider who has been an unsung hero in your life and submit their names for our special section.

The special section will publish Jan. 29. The deadline to submit names for unsung heroes is Jan. 19.

You can e-mail your nominations to me at

or mail them to me at P.O. Box 1447, Natchez, MS 39121.

We&8217;ll make sure we get photos of the winners &8212; and we&8217;ll keep it a secret if you don&8217;t want the Unsung Heroes to know who nominated them.

Everyone deserves a little recognition for the things they&8217;ve done, and this is a great opportunity to tell someone how much their work means to you and the entire community.

Kerry Whipple

Bean is editor of The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at 601-445-3541 or by e-mail at