• 39°

Moms log their support for Batson

As a mom with two young daughters treated regularly at Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children, Hope Smith of Bogue Chitto can’t thank the Mississippi Loggers Association enough for their support.

The Southwestern District of the MLA raised more than $41,000 last year with the Log a Load for Kids event at the Exchange Club Park. They hope to beat that Saturday when they take over the park again for the fourth annual fundraiser, said organizer Anna Smith.

The park will be open with rides, food and games from 6-10 p.m. The Bingo area under the covered pavilion will be open from 7-9:30 p.m. Armbands for unlimited rides are available for $10. Admission and parking is free.

Though the Smith women are not related, they share a common bond — they’re mothers who want to help children and wives of loggers.

The Southwestern District of the MLA represents Lincoln, Pike, Copiah, Lawrence, Walthall, Marion and Hinds counties. They’ve raised more than $105,000 in the past three years with the one-day fair and sponsorships.

Hope Smith and her husband, Toby, own M & N Timber in Bogue Chitto. The company is named for their daughters, 16-year-old Marla and 14-year-old Nealie.

Nealie was born at 28 weeks and is a quadriplegic diagnosed with cerebral palsy. She’s been treated at Batson since she was born.

Marla was diagnosed in January with Type 1 diabetes and now goes there regularly.

Holly Smith has become friends with the nurses, especially those from Lincoln County.

“They have such a special call to be a nurse at that hospital,” she said. “We’ve met several from Brookhaven. That’s a calling from the Lord to be there and do the things that they do. They’re all so loving and patient. They’re there for us when we’re there.”

Holly Smith wants to do her part to help the MLA raise money for the hospital’s foundation.

“I just want to make people aware of how blessed we are as a state to have Blair E. Batson. It’s a place you never want to be but if you have a sick child, there’s no place you’d rather be.”

Anna Smith said the rides and food will be the same as last year, though they’ll be selling peanuts boiled on site. Bingo will be the game of choice for the night with prizes ranging from homemade goodies to restaurant gift certificates.

Last year, more than 5,800 armbands were sold. Half of the money raised came through corporate sponsorships, she said.