Poplarville firemen give back
Published 7:00 am Saturday, November 8, 2014
Poplarville Lower Elementary principal Diane Herndon received a special surprise Friday from the city’s first responders.
It all began when Poplarville Fire Chief Bobby Strahan and his department wanted to get involved with breast cancer awareness.
“We decided to have a boot shake to give cancer the boot,” Strahan said. “Two-weeks ago we stood at the corner of Hwy. 26 and Hwy. 53 and collected money in a fire boot from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. We collected more than $1,400.”
Instead of donating to an organization, Strahan and his firemen decided to choose a local individual battling breast cancer.
Strahan placed a call to Poplarville School District Superintendent Carl Merritt to find out if there was someone in the district that would benefit from the donation. Merritt put them in touch with Herndon.
In March 2013, Herndon was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy in April.
“She is a good and strong lady who has been fighting for a while now,” Strahan said. “She is an inspiration to us all and especially other women dealing with this disease.”
To keep the donation a surprise before Herndon arrived at the fire station, Merritt told her that the two of them were going to look at security doors.
“She is a lady that is full of compassion for the children. I’ve never seen her have a bad day,” Merritt said. “When she came back from her break, she continued to serve. She is a blessing to herself and the district. A tremendous role model to anyone battling any disease.”
Herndon was shocked and speechless as she accepted the gift from Strahan.
When Herndon found her words, she spoke of a compassionate community that has offered prayer and well wishes since her diagnosis.
“The firemen are an inspiration,” Herndon said. “It’s beyond words the compassion people have for each other. This is a great and loving community and evidence of that is everywhere.”
Herndon will continue immunotherapy treatments through May and her prognosis is very good.
Herndon credits her survival to a large support system including God, her husband Winston, her children and grandchildren, her church, her inspirational co-workers and prayer.
“I’m going to keep going on and be an inspiration for people,” Herndon said. “Life is worth living, no matter how dark.”
Strahan said he plans to make the firemen’s boot shake an annual event and pick a deserving community member who can benefit.
“It’s not a lot, but we want her to know that she is being thought of and in our hearts and prayers,” Strahan said.