A rose to our community for its response to what has been a difficult week. Almost from the moment the EF-3 tornado swept through the city of Columbus a week ago, along with the flooding that swamped parts of Lowndes County, we acted as one. First responders, utility crews, government and community agencies joined scores of regular citizens in a broad effort to help, comfort and encourage those most affected by the disaster. The work continues, and will continue for some time, but let’s take a brief pause to recognize all the efforts, big and small, that came as a response to this terrible event.
A rose to the Mississippi State women’s basketball team, which achieved what many thought to be impossible this year. Last year, the Bulldogs made it to their second consecutive national championship appearance and claimed the first Southeastern Conference championship for any MSU women’s team. Losing four seniors off that team made prospects of duplicating either of those efforts unlikely. Even so, with four new starters — and even with the loss of one of those new starters to a season-ending injury in January — the Bulldogs have secured a share of the SEC title by virtue of Thursday’s win over LSU. A win in today’s final game of the regular season at South Carolina would give the Bulldogs the outright SEC championship. As for making it back to the NCAA title game, the odds are daunting, but if this season has taught us anything, it’s that it’s not wise to underestimate the Bulldogs.
A rose to Renee Sanders, who “celebrated” her selection as the executive director of the United Way of Lowndes County by working around the clock in response to the EF-3 tornado that swept through Columbus last Saturday. Sanders had been serving as interim director following the resignation of Danny Avery in June. The United Way board voted Thursday to make Sanders, who had worked as the agency’s volunteer coordinator since 2015, the official director. Sanders’ familiarity with the organization, along with the leadership she has displayed during this crisis, affirm her selection as the new leader of our United Way. We wish her every success — and some much-needed rest.
A rose to Zachary’s Restaurant, for whom being a good neighbor appears to have become a habit. For the second consecutive year, the restaurant has been awarded the Restaurant Neighbor Award by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. This prestigious state award honors restaurants that go above and beyond in community service and philanthropy. It aims to inspire other restaurateurs to get or stay involved in their local communities. Zachary’s raised more than $40,000 for local and national causes over the course of 2018. It also provided more than $30,000 worth of in-kind services to charitable organizations. Causes supported by Zachary’s are wide-ranging but focus mainly on local nonprofits and community causes.