High level of community involvement is wonderful

Published 10:02 pm Tuesday, February 6, 2024

One of these days soon, I’m going to surprise you all with a column about something we desperately need to fix or otherwise address here in Vicksburg. The problem with that is, this community keeps giving me things to praise.

The latest aspect of being a part of the Vicksburg-Warren County community to make a big impression on me came this weekend with two seemingly run-of-the-mill events: a cookoff and a party.

First came this year’s Chili for Children Cookoff Saturday in downtown. A lot of people got together to see who could make the best chili. Big deal, right? Right. Except it was a big deal. A really big deal, in my mind. Not only did a lot of people form teams and get together on a rainy, windy, and somewhat-cool day to take part in the contest, but they did so for a really great cause: the children of this community. All of the proceeds from the event, which was sponsored by The Radio People and Bally’s of Vicksburg, went to benefit the Warren County Children’s Shelter and Jacob’s Ladder Learning Center.

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And it wasn’t just the number of people who took part in the event’s teams that impressed me; it was also the number of folks who turned out to support it. Now, I don’t have a real estimation of just how many people showed up, but I do know a whopping $13,000 was raised to help local children. And if you don’t think that makes it a big deal, just ask one of the people who devote their time and energy to the shelter or learning center. I assure you, it’s a big deal to them and to the children in
their care.

Then came this year’s Jester’s Ball. Just a party, you might say. And in many ways, that’s true. But, let’s not underestimate the importance of coming together as a community to not only enjoy some fellowship, but also to recognize the people who devote their time to bettering our city and county. And that’s exactly what Saturday’s event was about.

Mayor Flaggs and Erin Powell Southard each expressed their appreciation for the turnout, which filled the Vicksburg Convention Center and gave the public a chance to vote for one of seven candidates to be named this year’s Jester. David Blackledge, Amanda Harris, Walter Osborne, Debbie Haworth Peacock, Charles Pendleton, Christine “Chris” Rials and Larry
Walker were all up for the title, with Blackledge getting the eventual nod.

At the end of the day, it was just a fun way to recognize one of our own for a job well done, but that’s important to do.

My point is this: Not every community I’ve been a part of over the years has had the level of unity, participation, and empathy clearly present here and that’s something Vicksburg and Warren County should be really, really proud of. In an increasingly polarized world, the people here seem bound and determined to stay united, and that’s commendable.

Kudos to you all. Let’s keep it up.

Blake Bell is the general manager and executive editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at blake.bell@vickburgpost.com.