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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Volunteers host 9/11 commemoration

Volunteer Starkville and the Maroon Volunteer Center, in combination with local sponsors, will host a series of service events around Starkville in tribute to 9/11 this week.

Jamey Bachman, director of Volunteer Starkville, said in an email that while the events are certainly a tribute to the memory of both the victims and heroes who lost their lives over a decade ago, the focus on volunteer work and education in Starkville’s National Day of Service events also aims to promote community awareness and appreciation of the selfless service of first responders in Oktibbeha County.

“I believe that it is important for our community to continue to remember and memorialize 9/11 because it reminds us of how quickly things can go wrong and how much stronger we are together than we are as individuals,” she said. “I think we should always strive to help people in need when we can, even if we do not know them.”

The major events will include the “Serving Those Who Serve Us” event on Tuesday from 3-5:30 p.m. during which volunteers are invited to assist in the upkeep of buildings and equipment at local fire and police departments and the “Remembering 9/11 … Story Time with Local Heroes” reading on Wednesday from 3:30-5 p.m. at the Starkville Public Library during which children are invited to listen to stories read by first responders and participate in a coloring activity.

The National Day of Service and Remembrance ceremony will be on Wednesday from 5:30-6 p.m. featuring a presentation of the flags by Starkville high school’s JROTC and a speech by Mayor Parker Wiseman.

The awareness fair directly following the ceremony on Wednesday will include various children’s activities and opportunities to meet with Oktibbeha County’s service men and women.

Lacy Jaudon, graduate student and assistant coordinator of MVC said preparations for the upcoming events began in late June, with the bulk of planning complete before the end of July.

Bachman said finding the funds to cover this year’s volunteer and memorial events, which include expenses such as transportation, children’s art supplies, posters, cleaning equipment and ceremonial costs, was a collaborative effort on the community’s part.

Many local organizations and departments are partnering with Volunteer Starkville to host the 9/11 Day of Service projects and events, including Starkville Fire Department, Oktibbeha County Fire Department, Starkville Police Department, OCH Regional Medical Center, Starkville, Oktibbeha County Public Library, Modern Woodmen and Ward Stewart Elementary.

“Local sponsors of Volunteer Starkville who have also contributed funds that go toward events such as the September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance include Woodmen of the World, Trinity Presbyterian Church, Copy Cow, University ScreenPrint, the City of Starkville, United Way of North Central Mississippi and the Greater Starkville Development Partnership,” she said.

In an email interview, Darius Mangum, senior accounting major and MVC service leader, said memorial events like those succeed in expanding the reach of community involvement and cultivate a stronger relationship between the service men and women of Starkville and those they protect.

“When it comes to the first responders, most of the volunteers don’t mind coming out to lend a helping hand or just to see them. Most of the time, we have individuals who come out just to say thanks,” he said. “After the program is over and everyone is socializing, the best feeling is when you see a smile on everyone’s face ,from the first responders to the volunteers.”

Bachman said though last year marked the beginning of service opportunities like “Serving Those Who Serve Us” and the “I WILL” tribute booth, the combined efforts of the MVC and Volunteer Starkville proved a tremendous success, collecting approximately 200 hours of service among community members. 

“Overall (last year), Volunteer Starkville and the Maroon Volunteer Center engaged 190 volunteers in service projects and events that engaged and/or serviced 348 community participants,” she said. “This year we have added some new events and new features to the repeated events with hope that we will see a larger turn out and have a greater community impact.”

To help achieve this goal, this year’s events will include a greater variety of service opportunities aimed at Starkville’s younger population.

Jaudon said while the organizations behind this national day of service remain respectful of parents’ wishes to discuss the subject matter of 9/11 privately with their families, the MVC strives to coordinate events that help children understand the value of service men and women in their own community.

“I think it’s important for them to just understand giving back and respecting local heroes. That’s really what this day is all about -— those who lost their lives and those who sacrificed their lives to go help other people, making sure (children) respect these authority figures and maybe end up wanting to be them one day,” she said.

Ultimately, Jaudon said preparations are already underway for future 9/11 service and memorial events, and university and community organizations will continue to honor the nation’s past adversities, if only to fuel a brighter future for the heroes closer to home.

“If we are going to market something that is tragic, let’s try to turn it in to something positive,” she said.
For more information on event details and volunteer sign up opportunities, visit or

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Volunteers host 9/11 commemoration