County#039;s foster parents honored

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 6, 2005

Foster parents from across the county were honored for their generosity and selflessness this week during the John D. Murphy Memorial Dinner.

On Thursday night, the fellowship hall of Southside Baptist Church in Greenville was the site of a catered buffet dinner, courtesy of Nanny’s Fine Dining. County foster parents, their children, DHR staff members, and many community supporters of the foster parent program, were present for the occasion.

&uot;I want to thank each and every one of you for being here, whether as a guest, foster parent or a child. We’ve been doing these for about 15 years now, and it is all in honor of our foster parents,&uot; Susan Murphy said.

Murphy, herself a former foster child who lived in half-a-dozen different homes for the first three-and-a-half years of her life, said she knew what it takes to make a good foster parent.

&uot;It’s 99 percent love of children – and one percent, stark, raving madness,&uot; Murphy quipped, to the amusement of her audience.

She thanked all the businesses and individuals who sponsored the annual event, giving special thanks to the staff at the Butler County DHR, saying, &uot;without them, we wouldn’t be having this event.&uot; The DHR staff provided decorations for the hall, while a group of Wal-Mart employees put up the decorations and helped serve those in attendance.

Melinda Toole, Miss Greater Greenville 2004 and Miss Trussville 2005, was the guest speaker for the banquet.

Toole, who performed acappella renditions of &uot;God Bless America&uot; and &uot;His Eye is on the Sparrow,&uot; shared her Christian testimony. She stressed the importance of each person knowing his or her life has a plan and a purpose.

&uot;Please know our God is not a God of mistakes. Whenever bad things happen, big or small, remember God is always working his purpose out for you,&uot; Toole told her audience.

&uot;I’ll be in prayer we will all live life to the fullest,&uot; Toole added with a smile.

Murphy then presented each of the foster parents present with a monetary gift, urging them to &uot;spend this only on yourselves.&uot;

Frieda Stevens of DHR thanked all those present for their support of the foster parent program.

&uot;I so appreciate Susan for all she does. We’ve been having these celebrations for many years, and hope to have them for many more. I am so thankful for all our foster parents for serving these children, the community and God,&uot; Stevens said.

As a special treat, City Councilman and Mayor Pro-Tem Jeddo Bell closed out the evening with a soulful piano performance of &uot;Amazing Grace&uot; with everyone encouraged to sing along to the fabled hymn.