Tragedy brought out the best in the Delta

By BY MARK H. STOWERS COLUMNIST,

Good Mornin’! Good Mornin’!

Tragedy has a way of sifting folks.

In both good ways and bad.

Two summers ago as black smoke billowed out of soybean fields on both sides of Highway 82 near Moorhead, a tragic moment brought out the best in plenty of folks.

First responders from across the Delta leaned in closer to their cell phones and radios to decipher the news of a plane crash.

Those who could, rushed right in to access and figure things out.

They gazed upon the pieces of a military plane and its passengers that had somehow plummeted 20,000 feet almost instantaneously.

They began what would be a month of search work to help piece the tragic puzzle together for others to make some kind of sense from.

But more than the first responders that work medical, fire and police protection all around us, it was the other “first responders” who stopped to help.

Larry Kelly who owns Larry’s Fish House in Itta Bena began feeding the hordes of military that assembled nearby.

He dug deep in his own pocket to fill the hungry stomachs and offer as much southern hospitality never seen before.

The humble fish fryer became a favorite of the military assembled, something we’ve known for decades – he’s absolutely the best when it comes to any and all things catfish.

Begrudgingly, he accepted some pay for his service but it was his service that he was all about. Giving back.

The military men, I’m told, had a problem wrapping their brains around understanding the love and compassion and giving shown them when they were the ones in town that were supposed to be doing the giving.

Water, Gatorade and other essential supplies piled up at their makeshift headquarters from Delta folks who just wanted to help.

The help and donations were accepted and appreciated and a special place in military men and women’s hearts was cemented for Delta folks.

Folks like Mrs. Brenda Grubb and all of her Moorhead Garden Club friends dug into helping the families of the loved ones lost.

They mothered, they cared, they angel-ed the families and continue to do so today.

Helpers number in the hundreds and maybe thousands and they continue to amass.

None looking for the spotlight on themselves but holding a candle for those in need, for all of those connected to the tragedy.

They were just doing what they know to do. Help a friend, help a neighbor, help a stranger in need.

This Saturday, the second memorial for the victims of the Yanky72 tragedy will be held at 6 p.m.

Many will be on hand to hug the families affected. Tragedy brought out the best in Delta folks. It always has, always will.

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