Ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

RMEF Helps Mississippi Town Still on the Mend

Alice Ortiz/Monroe Journal
It’s just a check. It’s also a morale boost for a small Mississippi town of just 857 residents nearly wiped off the map by a tornado in 2011. 

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation recently awarded a $2,500 grant for Smithville High School to purchase equipment to begin a new archery program. The school now has the financial backing to take part in the Archery in Mississippi Schools or AIMS program which is designed to introduce archery to participants in grades 4-12. 

A powerful EF-5 tornado, nearly three miles tall and half a mile wide with winds in excess of 200 miles an hour, roared through town on April 27, 2011, killing 17 people, and destroying 80 percent of the town including 153 homes, 14 of Smithville’s 16 businesses, and leveling the school campus, which serves about 600 students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. The death toll reached 339 across a seven state region, making the storm outbreak the deadliest in the nation since 1925. 
Locals rallied by picking up the pieces to rebuild their homes, their lives and their school. Construction on campus includes a new tornado-proof dome, the first of its kind in Mississippi that will double as a gymnasium and rec complex. Once completed, chances are it will also be home to flying arrows and archery targets. RMEF is happy to assist the community heal in just a small way by helping establish a new program for its youth.

WTVW/Drew Powell
“We are a conservation organization and raise money to support the different conservation education programs. I talked to Mississippi about their AIMS program and they referred us to Smithville. They asked for help and we delivered,” RMEF Regional Director Randy Waterhouse told the Monroe Journal, “We are thrilled to help kick archery off here in Smithville.”

“We are happy to have archery at Smithville,” said Jill Horne, archery instructor. “Your donation will go a long way in helping us get the equipment we need.”

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