Thank you to all who made Supper on the ’Sip possible

Published 5:34 pm Saturday, October 6, 2018

To the editor:

On Thursday, Sept. 27, the gates of the Old Mississippi River Bridge opened allowing hundreds of people to Live United by attending the inaugural Supper on the ‘Sip: Dine and Stroll the Old Mississippi Bridge.

As simple as this may sound to some, it was a seven-month journey filled with hard work, determination, creativity, fear, faith, and love. A small committee was formed and led by two amazing community heroes Ali Quad Hopson and Lori Burke. For years, these ladies have served on United Way Boards, Cabinets and multiple committees because they understand the importance of United Way as it relates to our community. Having them lead the charge for this ground-breaking community event was inspirational to all who followed!

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Dr. Jill Pierce and Susan Upshaw coordinated a very large group of individuals who made it their mission to recruit our amazing restaurants. On this very night, we had the best restaurants in the state of Mississippi Living United!

Once a restaurant committed to the event, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Ingram worked with the owners to ensure a great experience for all. We had 14 amazingly talented restaurants lining the bridge, sharing a taste of their favorite menu items. I encourage our community to frequent these restaurants, as they have proven to be community team builders over and over again.

Tammy Boolos coordinated the efforts of a t-shirt competition so that one of our local artists could receive recognition for his or her amazing talent. Larry Walker won the competition and hundreds of t-shirts have been sold. With the support of H&M Promotions, who assisted in the production of these t-shirts, we have been able to further support the mission of United Way and our partner agencies.

Jennifer Grey and her committee allowed our guests to not only be entertained by local musicians, but to see a live painting of the event. Between the sounds of trains, Ralph Miller and Eddy Cresap shared their gift of music with our guests. While Claiborne Cooksey painted a gorgeous portrait of the event that will be given to one of our lucky guests, upon completion. Larry Walker and Becca Stewart captured the memories of this amazing event and will allow United Way to post these memories on our Facebook Page for all to enjoy.

Yes, the beauty of the Mighty Mississippi was magnificent, but the decorations provided by Stacey Teller and her committee made it an extra special evening. The entrance was amazing and the 200 foot table down the center of the bridge was symbolic. I must admit that once I passed the restaurants and arrived at the beginning of this massive table filled with over 200 guests, my eyes began to water! To me, it symbolized the strength of our community!

I would be remiss if I did not express my deep gratitude for the support we received from the Warren County Bridge Commission, Herman Smith and his staff. Throughout the entire journey, Herman walked beside the committee to ensure we met the guidelines of the Bridge Commission, while adding suggestions and man power that strengthened the event. The pride these men feel for the bridge was definitely apparent to all who were involved in the journey to this amazing night.

There were so many individuals in our community who made this event a success and for this we are extremely grateful!  Blogs were written, social media posts were shared, people were encouraged to attend, newspaper articles were written, thank you notes were mailed, unending support was shared, prayers for good weather were spoken, the list could go on forever.

And for our community as a whole – thank you! Once again, you have proven how amazing you are!  The United Way of West Central Mississippi is blessed to have the community support necessary to bring to life our vision of being the connecting link to enhance the quality of life. With the support of your yearly sponsors like Lady Luck Casino, Supper on the ‘Sip: Dine and Stroll the Old MS River Bridge provided everyone an opportunity to stroll the MS River Bridge, take in the beauty, listen to great music, and enjoy the delicious food of 14 local restaurants.

But most importantly it provided everyone with the opportunity to gain a better understanding of United Way and our partner agencies. Yes, the beauty of the Mighty Mississippi was awe-inspiring, but for many having the opportunity to mingle with the Agency Directors was the highlight of the evening.

These are the heroes who proudly do HIS work every day! And it is with your support that they are able to make a difference in the lives of others. On the night of the event we had over 600 people representing over five states gathered on the Old MS River Bridge supporting the United Way of West Central Mississippi. It was absolutely unbelievable. It was a brief moment in time to once again show others how we rally around each other to continue strengthening the community we call home.

Michele Connelly,

director, United Way of West Central Mississippi