VARDAMAN – Vardaman United Methodist Church was the site of food, fun and games Oct. 12, but the day held a deeper purpose in remembering children the community has lost.
Now in the ninth year, the Fun in the Sun day was started in honor of Madison Bryant who died of an accidental shooting.
“He always told his dad he wanted to be an organ donor,” said Cathy Dauzat, who has been helping with the event since its inception. “So this day is kind of remember him and promoting organ donation, too.”
Dauzat said other children have been added to the memory list over the years.
“We’ve lost several other kids in the county,” Dauzat said. “Accidental shootings and a drowning. Every year, we’ve added another child in memory.”
The event is held the second Saturday in October and serves as a youth fundraiser to sponsor the next year’s event. The day begins with a balloon release in honor and memory of the children that are not present, many with hand written messages decorating them. Donations from local and area merchants and businesses supply hot dogs and hamburgers, chips and drinks and inflatable jumpers while adults and youth monitor games like apple bobbing, pitching washers and horseshoes.
Live music was provided this year by the Master’s Quartet and the medical helicopter from WINGS out of Oxford made a landing for tours. The Rev. Harold Robinson said the event requires many hands.
“We have donations of food and games and we couldn’t put it on without the help of the volunteers from the fire department,” Robinson said. “It’s a day for the children and the youth, but it’s intergenerational. It includes parents and grandparents, people from different churches and different backgrounds. And that’s outreach.”
Remembering the children
• Madison Byant
• MaKynli Claire Voyles
• C.J. Vanlandingham
• Chris McDonald
• Mekenzie Young
• Andrew Lester