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A former student’s kindness remembered by Bowmar family

Eshani Patel may have been small in stature, but her kindness was king-sized.

Her spirit made an impact on her friends, the teachers and the administration at Bowmar Elementary School. It even touched officials at a local bank.

To reflect and honor that kind spirit, Eshani’s friends and family, along with students and officials from Guaranty Bank, gathered at the school Tuesday for a dedication ceremony for the Eshani Kindness Bench.

“This is not just an ordinary bench,” former Bowmar PTO president Erin Hern said during the ceremony. “This bench represents Eshani’s spirit and the gifts she gave to us.”

Eshani died in 2017 after undergoing a liver transplant. Her body ultimately rejected the organ.

“She was just the nicest person, and I miss her kindness the most,” classmate Sydney Hern said. 

“She was just the epitome of kindness and her smile would light up a room,” school guidance counselor Pam Parman said.

The Eshani Kindness Bench, which is located on the playground at the school, was made possible by a generous donation from Guaranty Bank.

“Our bank is owned by a family and is a family business and family businesses are our focuses,” Guaranty Bank president William Kemp said, and because Eshani’s father, Sandip Patel was a customer of Guaranty Bank — the bank wanted to give back.

“Sam (Sandip) is the owner of several successful businesses,” Kemp said.  “And we enjoy a friendship with the Patels that goes beyond the formalities of a business relationship.”

Through the years, Kemp said, he, as well as the rest of the banking staff, have had the privilege of meeting the Patel family.

They all especially remembered Eshani since she frequented the bank with her dad, Kemp said.

“Having Eshani in our office made everybody feel good by the presence of her personality,” Kemp said. “Which is why we wanted to do something to perpetuate her memory while providing a tangible benefit for the school.”

Although it has been a two-year process in finding and installing the bench, Hern said, it was worth the wait since they found the bench they wanted, adding the Bowmar PTO helped defray the cost of the bench’s shipping and handling fees.

“As you look at the bench, realize it is more than just a bench. It is more like Eshani. It represents strength. It represents character. It will outlast the rain, snow, wind and cold.,” Hern said at the conclusion of the event. “Eshani will forever be present, and when you sit on the bench, you will think of her and if you stand by the bench she will be standing here with you. All the while reminding us to be kind.”

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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