Editorial: An abundance of caring amid tragedy

September 21, 2010 10:21:00 AM

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A local high school student''s death in a tragic hunting accident has brought out the best in many of those who knew him -- and many who didn''t. 

 

Countless prayers by countless people were spoken for Spencer Perkins, who was wounded when his shotgun went off during a Noxubee County hunt on Sept. 12. Almost immediately, students from Heritage and elsewhere organized a prayer group for the student on Facebook. Students not only from Heritage, but from across the state, visited Spencer and his family at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. Students at Ole Miss, where Spencer''s sister is a student, also organized a prayer circle. 

 

Just during the course of conversation last week, several people not associated with Heritage or with Perkins, mentioned to us how they prayed for him. 

 

Sometimes it takes the most tragic of episodes to reveal the spirit of a community. Perkins, and his family, had all of us in their corner. 

 

Sadly, Spencer lost his battle Friday night, during a football game that should have been Heritage''s homecoming, which was postponed until next month. 

 

The outpouring of support for the 17-year-old has been heartening. Today, First Baptist Church is expected to overflow with mourners at Spencer''s 3 p.m. funeral. 

 

While nothing positive can come from tragedies as unexpected as these, we at least hope it shines a brighter light on hunting safety. While fatal accidents are rare, as one game warden reminded The Dispatch last week, one death is too many. Soon, the woods will be full of deer hunters, during the state''s busiest hunting season. We hope they remember this example when handling their firearms. 

 

The small, private Heritage Academy family has been no stranger to unexpected tragedies this year. In May, a second-grader at the 560-student school was struck by lightning when he was visiting grandparents in Baton Rouge. 

 

We add our voices to those expressing our condolences to the Perkins and Heritage families -- and look with awe and pride at our caring community.