Thursday, July 27, 2006
Heartfelt thank yous
Friday night when 6-year-old Morgan Shaw went to bed at her home in Laws Hill, she was the daughter of Pistol and Jennifer Shaw. By Saturday morning, she belonged to the entire community, county, surrounding counties and much of the Mid-South.
By now, we all know Morgan and her family and they have become part of our families. We worried along with Morgan’s immediate family and friends and now, we carry the burden of her day-to-day welfare and recovery.
Saturday morning, around 9 a.m., I drove the two miles or so down Hwy. 310 from my house to the Shaw driveway and was almost overwhelmed by the sight of the massive search party. Fairley Humble, with the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department, was coordinating the approximately 200 “ground stompers” – there was a helicopter and two small airplanes flying low; search dogs were being harnessed; horses saddled and 4-wheelers were everywhere.
Neighbors from all around our county, DeSoto and Lafayette counties, were already on the scene and working hard and more poured in throughout the day. Around noon, I watched as a huge van with another truck and trailer behind it pulled into the grassy pasture across the highway from the Shaw’s driveway. They were from Newton County (I don’t have a clue as to where that is either); and were in the area with an earthquake preparedness drill and called to offer their equipment and help.
Several neighbors already had a pickup truck bed laid out “buffet style” with drinks and food. Others were waiting their turn to “stomp” the area looking for Morgan. And we all felt helpless, as we stood and watched and prayed for the word to come down that she had been found.
I made several trips up and down Hwy. 310 Saturday, looking for friends, taking photos for the newspaper and mostly, hoping that each time I’d see someone who would say “we’ve got her.”
Sunday morning, at 5:15 I turned on the television news, anxious to hear – hoping that Morgan was home. The news report I finally heard was grave – Morgan had been found, but was in surgery with severe head trauma.
As with, I suspect, every church in the community, at Free Springs UMC, we offered prayers of thanksgiving that “our” little girl had been found – and we offered prayers for her recovery and for strength for her family during the very hard coming days.
Our pastor is new to our community and is a loving and dedicated man (and father of two daughters). He does not know many in our area yet, but he spoke words that not only offered comfort and hope, he put into words what I’d been trying to think and say about the many, many neighbors and friends who scoured the woods, pond, lanes, ditches, etc. Saturday looking for “our” Morgan.
“They looked as if they were looking for one of their own,” Bro. Troy Barton said.
Saturday morning, thousands in the mid-South took Morgan Shaw and her family into their hearts. As the hours passed and she still lay unfound, all our hearts broke and grieved as we prayed for her safe return.
I, for one, cannot tell the hundreds of volunteers who came to my neighborhood Saturday and worked so long and so hard and so diligently how much seeing them meant to me.
I only know the Shaw family in passing – to say a neighborly hello to at Keel’s Grocery on the corner. Most of the volunteers didn’t know them at all. Saturday though, we all stood as one family – black and white, male and female, young and old. And through the grace of God and the dedication of law enforcement personnel, “our little girl” was found.
The only thing we can say to everyone who worked so hard is thank you. And we pray you know it comes straight from the depths of our hearts.
(662) 252-4261 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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