Giving Community

As many as 550 people turned out for an April fundraiser for Lonny Parson, pastor at the Honey Grove Cowboy Church, as he was undergoing treatment for health concerns. Regional communities are so giving it’s not uncommon to see such large turnouts.

It is often said that a person’s worth can be measured not in how much they have, but in how much they give of themselves. And if this is the case, the people of Lamar County are worth a whole lot.

In the slightly less than a year I have lived in Lamar County, I have never stopped being impressed at the community’s giving nature.

Benefits and fundraisers are commonplace here, and when one of the community is in need, it is not uncommon to see an event center, church or other location fill to capacity as the other community members come out in full force to show support.

Take, for instance, the benefit this weekend to raise money for the family of the late Kim Hancock. I arrived at the Paris Elks Lodge a couple hours into the benefit and had difficulty parking as every parking space was taken. Cars lined the sides of the street for close to a block. Yet, when I spoke to event organizers, they said it had been even more crowded earlier in the day.

This is not the first time I have experienced this. It seems every time there is a community member in need, hundreds of good, kind people are ready to lend a helping hand.

Then there was the Warrior Fun Run, hosted by Honey Grove ISD’s Parent-Teacher Organization. The event was to raise money that will be spent to improve the schools for the children. Temperatures eclipsed 100 degrees Saturday, and just being outside caused sweat to drip down my face, but that didn’t stop roughly 100 people from participating in the run. About 100 more bought tickets to participate in advance and weren’t able to run in the extreme temperatures, event organizers said.

Every Monday and Wednesday, dozens of people give of themselves by donating their time at the Downtown Food Pantry to bag roughly 40,000 pounds of produce to ensure that hundreds of local families have healthy food to eat.

Then, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, volunteers again give their time when the food pantry opens for distribution, working to help customers find what they’re looking for, help put groceries in cars if necessary, and keep the store clean and orderly.

And whenever there is a community event, such as the Point In Time Count, hosted by the Lamar County Homelessness Coalition, dozens of volunteers are sure to show up to ensure things run smoothly.

In my time here, I have seen firsthand time and again just how willing people are to give of themselves. And no matter how many times I see it for myself, it never ceases to impress me.

This community, and its sense of community, is truly special.

Tommy Culkin is a staff writer for The Paris News. He can be reached at 903-785-6972 or at tommy.culkin@theparisnews.com.

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