In the wake of severe weather that came through Canton last month, the Melissa High School Mighty Cardinal Band organized an emergency water bottle drive to aid in relief efforts for the town.
The Mighty Cardinal Band’s Leadership Team reached out to Director of Bands Jerry Whorton soon after the tornadoes hit, looking for some way to help students in Canton.
Whorton spoke with Canton Band Director Mike Bartley and learned that there was a shortage of drinking water.
“Our kids immediately went into action,” Whorton said. “Our students sent out texts, made social media posts asking for help, and stopped by some area businesses. As usual, the community of Melissa pulled together to help a neighbor in need.”
The Mighty Cardinal Band posted an official announcement on Facebook on Sunday, explaining that they were seeking water bottle donations. Word spread quickly among the Melissa community.
Maria’s Mexican Restaurant and Christ Fellowship Promiseland Preschool donated significant amounts of water. By Wednesday afternoon, 300 cases of water had been dropped off in the Band Hall, ready to be transported to Canton.
The band packed the cases of water into their trailer on Thursday, and then traveled to the Van Zandt County fairgrounds for delivery.
Band students in attendance included Kealey Poole, Nicole Kasson, Cale Hayes, Seth Russell, Aaron McClean, Rachel Wresh and Matt Brown.
“On the way to Canton, we talked about why we were doing this,” Whorton said. “The students immediately mentioned our district’s core values and how this service project directly lined up with not only what we believed in, but lived every day: hope. It was important that we instilled the same sense of hope in the Canton area that we have every day in Melissa.”
KLTV spoke with Head Drum Major Kealey Poole on Thursday about the band’s cause.
“Melissa band competes with Canton band all the time, and so we have this good rivalry going on and we consider them family, so we were extremely devastated when we heard the news about what happened here,” Poole shared. “We thought that today we could bring hope to Canton.”
Whorton added, “We wanted to let Canton know that we may be rivals on the competition field, but we are all Canton Eagles today.”