SULPHUR, Okla. (KFOR) – If you grew up in a small Oklahoma town, you already know that everyone knows everyone – and from that grows a connection that stretches far beyond school districts or county lines.
“News travels fast, and we hear sirens going off,” Sulphur High School Principal Clete Cole said.
It is the first day of school at Sulphur High School and there is an emergency siren echoing from one side of town to the other.
“At about mid-morning we found out what had happened,” Cole said.
Jaetyn Cameron and Cole Evans were on the Lone Grove baseball team – a nearby high rival high school – but not this morning or the next.
“At about 8:15, I look out and there is a group of about 75-100 kids circled up in the parking lot, and they had a little prayer vigil right there, impromptu,” Cole said. “It wasn’t planned.”
Mike Sudderth is from Lone Grove. His grandsons went to school with Jaetyn and Cole. His son is the Lone Grove High School principal.
“It was two of our baseball players, and they were killed in a tragic car accident,” Sudderth said. “The whole community rallied behind them. We had a prayer vigil.”
Two different schools. Two different prayer vigils. The same cause.
“We had a fundraiser for our two baseball players who were killed in a car wreck, and I met this young lady in the lobby at a fundraiser in Lone Grove. I found out that she had not only designed the product, but she had it made and then brought it to Lone Grove and sold them and donated the proceeds to the families,” Sudderth said.
Mandy Latham is a senior at Sulphur High School. She did not really know Jaetyn and Cole well, but that did not matter. She designed bracelets, had them made and then sold them at ball games, fundraisers and anywhere there is a crowd.
“I asked her, ‘Why did you do this?’ She said, ‘The Lord told me to.’ And I was just amazed by her,” Sudderth said.
And that is why Mike Sudderth nominated Mandy for Pay It 4Ward.
“I love this little girl,” Sudderth said.
“After I checked a little deeper with some people I knew in Sulphur, I found out that her family had had some medical issues themselves, and I just thought that it was amazing that this young lady took it upon herself to help these people in need,” Sudderth said.
Mandy’s mother has been battling cancer. She knows exactly the meaning of what Sudderth is about to say.
“We’re family. We’re family at Lone Grove, and when one hurt, we all hurt,” Sudderth said.
And it is no different in Sulphur.
“We’re from small towns,” Mandy said. “The lord touched my heart. I can’t imagine losing someone in your family, and I knew that had to be hard. So, I wanted to help some way.”
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