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Fifteen-year-old Fletcher Horne knew something was up when he saw a giant check with his name on it as he entered a conference room at South Central Place. Photo/Linda Cranford

     Tuesday morning, May 19, 15-year-old Fletcher Horne walked into South Central Place to what he thought was just another interview for his Eagle Scout Project “Feed the Frontline-Laurel.” Instead, he was met with a giant $529 check with his name on it. The check was presented to Horne by State Treasurer David McRae as part of the state’s “Tell Me Something Good” scholarship program in recognition of Horne’s project.

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L-R, Neil Sherman, Tyson Sherman, Danita Horne, Sabine Horne, Dr. Mark Horne, Fletcher Horne, and State Treasurer David McRae. Photo/Linda Cranford

     Nominated by his sister, Sabine, Fletcher was the second scholarship recipient in the state.  Each week during May a panel of nine judges will choose a Mississippi student to receive the scholarship from over 300 submissions.

     Fletcher started the “Feed the Frontline-Laurel” project after his father, Dr. Mark Horne, chief medical officer for South Central Regional Medical Center, bought breakfast for the emergency room staff at the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic.  His father told Fletcher and his mother, Danita, what an encouragement that small gesture was to the staff.  Fletcher and his mother came up with the idea to feed more frontline workers to encourage them and thank them for their dedication. In March he set up a GoFundMe account for the project and within 24 hours doubled the original goal of $2500.

    With the help of his family and members of his Boy Scout Troop, Fletcher has delivered over 1,000 meals to healthcare workers across Jones County, and approximately 19 local restaurants have benefited by preparing the food.

     “I knew we had a good community, but I didn’t know how grateful and how giving our community was. I didn’t expect to get this much money this fast!” exclaimed Fletcher. “We’ve had over 150 donors on the GoFundMe page and countless more in cash donations. I couldn’t thank all of y’all enough, including the hospital staff!”

     SCRMC Vice President of Nursing Beth Endom was on hand for the presentation and said the gesture of providing meals to the healthcare workers has been very appreciated. She said they all know and understand how important their jobs are, but it means a lot to know that people care.

     Fletcher is one merit badge away from becoming an Eagle Scout, and his Scout Master, Neil Sherman, was present for the event along with Fletcher’s fellow scout and Sherman’s son, Tyson.

     “Many years have led to this outcome,” explained Sherman, who was also Fletcher’s Cub Scout Master. “I’ve seen him at the various stages of his scouting career, and he’s grown exponentially as all scouts do. It’s amazing to get a chance to watch it.”

     Sherman, who is also district commissioner for the Chickasawhay District of the Boy Scouts, explained that he has a number of scouts on the verge of becoming Eagle Scouts.  Sherman said at the beginning of the year he told the young men to choose their Eagle Scout projects wisely.

     “This is your legacy,” Sherman told his scouts. “This is something that you can leave behind for the rest of your life and be proud of. Find something that is meaningful to you and to the local community. Something that is going to make an impact in a unique way that you are a part of and can put your stamp on.”

    Sherman added that he was in no way responsible for Fletcher’s project but wanted to describe the type of mentorship found in the Boy Scouts.

     As of May 19, Fletcher has received $8,955 in donations on the GoFundMe page. The project is ongoing. Anyone interested in donating should go to https://www.gofundme.com/f/feedthefrontline-laurel.

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