Beechwood charity event named in honor of Will Conway

Published 1:38 pm Tuesday, November 23, 2021

People will gather on Dec. 2 at the Beechwood Restaurant on Clay Street for a special cause and to remember a special man.

The Will Conway Children’s Charity Night will feature music, an auction and drawing to benefit Jacob’s Ladder and Rainbow Farms. The doors open at 6 p.m. with the auction starting at 7.

“What really got us into this was Will Conway was a student at Jacob’s Ladder, and he was a family friend of mine his whole life, my whole life,” said Beechwood owner Will Hood, one of the program’s organizers. “He was always very special to me throughout the years and he was one of the reasons we started doing this on a yearly basis.”

Hood said Conway, who died in 2020 at the age of 32, “Was a very special person to a lot of people in Vicksburg. No matter what he was going through physically, health-wise, challenging, Will would never let you know that. He always lived every day just with a smile and a beautiful attitude.

“That’s the one thing you could always say about Will Conway; he always had a smile on his face,” Hood said.

He said Conway worked at McAlister’s Deli during lunch and would then go to the Beechwood to hang out with friends.

“It was always a special place for him,” Hood said. “We loved having him here.”

Hood said the program, now named for Conway, initially began about 12 years ago.

“We used to do a little benefit at Beechwood for local area kids and turned it into what it is now, where it benefits Jacob’s Ladder Learning Center and Rainbow Farms therapeutic riding center for the handicapped,” he said.

“Me and Ted Holman actually put this together, and we get local musicians to come out and play a little jam session. We charge a cover charge and have a big live auction. We also have the raffle and we do this every year. All the money we raise, all the profits, are split between those charitable organizations.”

Hood said the inaugural Will Conway Memorial Children’s Charity Night was supposed to have been in 2020, but COVID-19 forced them to cancel the event.

“This year, we’re bringing it back in honor of him, and every year, it will be the Will Conway Memorial Children’s Charity Night.”

Raffle tickets to be entered into the $1,000 drawing are on sale now at Paper Plus and The Cinnamon Tree in Downtown Vicksburg, and can also be purchased by calling Jacob’s Ladder School at 601-619-7002. Raffle tickets can be purchased now or at the event itself, and ticket holders do not need to be present at the event to win.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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