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Optimist John Fortune, who lives in Karnack, has been keeping busy photographing scenes from the Caddo Lake area. This scene is of the Neowise Comet.

The Noon Optimist Club of Marshall met online Wednesday, Sept. 16 with President Le Ila Dixon noting it is the third week in National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.

She quotes from the Center for Disease Control: “Make sure your child has healthy sleep habits to improve attention and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and obesity later in life. Get your child to bed at the same time each day, including weekends; remove electronic devices from the bedroom and keep it dark and cool. Your child needs at least 8 hours of sleep, maybe more depending on age.”

Today is also National Tackle Kids Cancer Day. It is a national day not associated with Optimist International, President Le Ila notes, but adds that ending childhood cancer is one of the goals of the Optimist Childhood Cancer Campaign and that our club has made a contribution annually since 2005 to cancer research.

These gifts have been made to the American Cancer Society in connection with the efforts of Optimists Julie Brock and Michele Fuller who have been active in our local “Relay for Life.”

President Dixon has baked for the Relay’s cake walk in addition to the donations from the club treasury. She reminds the club that Julie and Michele’s team is called LAW’s Angels in memory of Optimist Louis A. Williams who died of cancer in 2004.

His wife, Optimist Kathleen Williams, was active in LAW’s Angels until health prevented her participation. She died in 2014, but the folks at Louis A. Williams Associates and the Optimists have kept up their support over the years since.

In view of the fact that Covid-19 forced the cancellation of the Relay this year and that there are questions related to its continuation, the club discussed this year’s gift.

With the concurrence of Optimists Julie and Michele and in view of its goals, the club has decided to send our $500 gift to the Optimist Childhood Cancer Campaign in memory of Louis and Kathleen Williams.

Lots of kids set up lemonade stands in the summer, Le Ila reports, and for many, it’s a rite of passage; a first step toward learning what it means to earn their own money.

For 11-year-old Cartier Carey, it is a chance to do a lot more. Carey isn’t focused on personal savings or a special treat. Instead, he’s investing in his Hampton, Virginia community.

His goal? Helping single mothers in need. With all the stress and financial uncertainty brought on by the pandemic, Carey decides to focus on the basics: diapers and wipes.

The impetus for his project takes root while Carey is visiting his grandmother who lives in one of the area’s more economically depressed neighborhoods. Carey, keenly observant for his age, is taken aback by how many women he sees raising children on their own. His instinct is to find a way to help.

“As he’s getting older, he kind of understands,” his mom tells the Virginia-Pilot paper. “He doesn’t want to spend any of the money on himself, he just wants to continue to keep buying diapers and giving each day.” By the end of July, Carey had raised close to $5,000 via the lemonade stand and from donations and distributed close to 6,500 diapers. (As of September, at 22,000 diapers, he’s close to achieving his total goal of donating 25,000 diapers.)

Optimist Richard Magrill reports that his story of the club’s 75-years has caught up with the present and is on page 876.

He plans to end the story next week with our first in-person gathering since the pandemic began. In fact, he is has already started the final indexing of names and subjects. (There have been 385 Optimists in the club’s life!)

Optimist Rachel Hankins is excited that the Dickson Agency is going to be able to continue meeting health insurance needs by handling Medicare enrollment for Harrison County.

President Le Ila reports that our donation to the Marshall Education Foundation has been made and our logo has been sent for printing on the back of the 2020-21 T-shirt.

We will send information about how to purchase a shirt in our next email. In other news, she has invited the Shreveport Optimist Club to join us in celebrating our 75th birthday in April 2021. (They sponsored the club in 1945.)

Triple M Backpack is up and running with the modifications announced last week! Our delivery teams can no longer enter MISD buildings. School personnel must come outside to receive the weekly meals. But, our volunteers are adjusting and, most importantly, kids are receiving the weekend meals they need!

During the pandemic, Optimist John Fortune, who lives in Karnack, has been keeping busy photographing scenes from the Caddo Lake area.

This week he shares with the club fourteen of those scenes (plus a couple from Spring Lake in Huntsville). Birds, stunning waterscapes, the Milky Way seen from the Starr Ranch area, and the head of a turtle that appeared in his yard on Easter are among the subjects. The one shared with this article is of the NEOWISE comet.

Comet NEOWISE delighted Northern Hemisphere skywatchers in July of this year. John captures it above Caddo Lake high in the evening sky, sparkling northwest below the Big Dipper constellation. It is rare for a comet to be visible to the naked eye and in John’s photo you get to see the comet twice, once in the sky and again when it and the cypress trees standing sentinel are reflected on the lake surface. Comet NEOWISE won’t return to our skies for another 6,800 years. “Thanks, John for sharing this bright spot in our Covid-19 summer!”

The club will meet next Wednesday, the 23rd, at Jose Tequila’s Restaurant on US59 to install new officers. Current president, Le Ila Dixon, is still sheltering-in-place and will step aside for our president-elect Ned Calvert to take the reigns a couple of weeks early. John Fortune will be present to take a group photo. Please make every effort to be present; this photo will conclude the book on our 75-year history!