A rose to Mississippi State University graduate student and band member Martin Kinsey, who joined with university band members across the country to participate in “Be the Match,” a program that provides bone marrow for patients battling more than 70 diseases, including leukemia, lymphoma and sickle-cell anemia. According to the National Marrow Donor organization, more than 18,000 patients nationwide are in need of a bone marrow or a stem-cell transplant. Of that number, only 40 percent will be matched with a donor. “I’m not the kind of guy that likes being in the spotlight, Kinsey said. “This was something … I felt like I should do.” MSU associate band director Graig Aarhus said 94 other MSU band members have signed up to be donors. We are impressed. People interested in the program can learn more at www.bethematch.org.
A rose to the Starkville Area Habitat For Humanity, which celebrated its 30th anniversary last week. During those three decades, Habitat staff and volunteers have built more than 60 homes for qualifying low-income residents. Home ownership has proven to be a transformational influence on the lives of poor families. Home ownership stimulates work ethic, educational advancement, healthy living and citizenship like few other factors. It’s not simply a roof over someone’s head. It’s a secure foundation for a better life. We salute all who have participated in this journey and thank you for your commitment improving the lives of the less fortunate, but deserving families.
A rose to former Mississippi Governor William Winter who was presented with the Freedom Award from the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis on Thursday. Winter, who served as governor from 1980-84 and was the driving force behind the state’s largest education reform movement in its history, remains a rare commodity among Mississippi’s politicians — a true statesman. His story of evolution from status-quo segregationist to committed worker for civil rights for all Mississippians is an example and inspiration for all Mississippians. At age 93, Winter remains an active advocate for all that is good and decent and hopeful for our state and its people. The recognition he has received is well-deserved.
A rose to Starkville moms Diana Outlaw and Jennifer Seltzer, who are using photography as a conduit for understanding and self-expression for autistic children. The two Mississippi State University researchers are launching “Seeing Through Their Eyes,” a program that allows autistic children to share their points of view by photographing the same subject.
The women, both mothers of autistic children, hope the program will foster greater acceptance of these children who are often misunderstood or under-appreciated. “These are smart, engaging kids, who want to be active in the world, and people need to understand that,” Outlaw said.