Thanks for helping all of our heroes

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Home With Heroes Foundation Inc. extends blessings to each and every person in our communities this season, especially to our veterans and those on active duty.

This is our first report to our communities. We believe we owe it to you who have supported us with your contributions, participation and backing to let you know what we have done, and what we intend to do.

Of course, Home With Heroes isn’t the only organization in the Miss-Lou helping our veterans and active duty personnel. Operation G.R.I.T.S. for Soldiers has sent more than 3,000 gift boxes to our men and women overseas; Veterans of Foreign Wars has held events and supported local veterans; Miss-Lou Veterans Coalition has provided graveside farewells to our veterans and honor guards at ceremonies; Wreaths Across America recently was responsible this year for nearly 1,000 wreaths on the graves of our veterans interred at the Natchez National Cemetery; local schools and churches continually honor our veterans. So, there is a vibrant community here to honor and help our veterans and their loved ones.

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Yet, there is so much to do. As a veteran, I can tell you the need here and across the nation to help those who serve and have served is impossible to estimate. Yet, we try to do our part. We have excellent leadership: Jimmy Allgood is our vice president, and our board consists of Teresa Busby, vice president of Copiah-Lincoln Community College as chairman; Calvin Butler, program manager for WMIS/WTYJ and county supervisor as vice chairman; and board members Donnie Verucchi, veteran and past state commander Veterans of Foreign Wars; Forrest “Al” Johnson, judge; and Pattie Reed Jones, founder Operation G.R.I.T.S for Soldiers. Our support team captains are Robert Morgan, veteran, and Ronnie Blackwell, supporter.

So, in 2014 (our first year in operation), Home With Heroes is proud to say we have:

• Contributed $1,450 to area organizations helping veterans, including Copiah-Lincoln Community College Foundation, Veterans Emergency Fund, Wreaths Across America, and Operation G.R.I.T.S. for Soldiers. We are on track to more than double our contributions in 2015.

• Sponsored the first Robert “Bob” Mims Patriot Golf Tournament at Duncan Park. Our 2015 tournament is June 27, so clean clubs and practice up. Mr. Mims was a World War II pilot and prisoner of war.

• Sponsored the first Jesse “Jess” Hash Memorial Patriot Bowling Tournament. Our 2015 tournament is Nov. 8, so practice up. Hash was a Vietnam Veteran.

• Participated in the 2014 Operation G.R.I.T.S. gift box send-off of more than 300 boxes to our men and women serving overseas.

• Participated in the American Flag Retirement Ceremony Nov. 8; participated in the Co-Lin Veterans Day Program Nov. 11; participated in the Veterans Parade Nov. 9, handing out more than 200 U.S. flags; participated in the Jefferson County Hospital Wellness Day.

• Sponsored the first Miss-Lou Honor Ride to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, a deeply emotional experience with WWII veterans from the Miss-Lou and Brookhaven area. Ask anyone on that ride, it was an event to remember. Mark your calendars. Our next Honor Ride is set for Saturday, March 7, 2015.

• Launched the Wilson Brown Memorial Project to honor Medal of Honor recipient Wilson Brown.

As you can see, our calendar has been full. It will fill up in 2015 with more projects and fund-raisers. Please keep watch, and like our Facebook Page: Home With Heroes, or post your favorites on our website:

If you wish to join us or help us financially, please call: 601-442-0980 or email

Our hope and goal is that no area veteran should feel unloved or disrespected.

Thank you.


G. Mark LaFrancis, is a 23-year Air Force Veteran, and president of Home With Heroes Foundation Inc.