Community moves forward with Memorial Day commemorations
From press reports
Stars of HOPE arrived in Winston County on Saturday, May 24, 2014 as part of the Memorial Day holiday commemorations.
A team of volunteers from around the nation invited families devastated by the deadly tornadoes to take part in the community art project throughout the holiday weekend.
The Stars of HOPE volunteers held part of the art camp at the Red Hills Festival in downtown Louisville on Saturday, May 24.
Stars of HOPE is a unique disaster relief art project that empowers children and adults in communities devastated by disaster to paint hopeful messages, inspirational words and colorful designs on wooden stars as part of their personal healing process. These beautiful hand-painted stars are then posted on street corners, poles and fences throughout communities recovering from disasters. In the past year, thousands have been sent to Newtown, Connecticut, Hurricane Sandy communities, and Moore, Oklahoma.
Project Coordinator Marcelle Robustelli-Strong from Canton, Georgia is one of the Stars of HOPE volunteers who has traveled all over the country to deliver stars. She says, “The stars bring so much light where there is darkness and bolster the human spirit. They are a powerful sign of friendship and love.” Marcelle also calls Louisville, Mississippi a “hopeful community that is taking a courageous step in moving forward with Memorial Day commemorations.”
Winston County suffered enormous loss of life and property after the tornadoes hit last month. At least 13 deaths have been reported in the state with 10 in Winston County. The storms also carved holes in the roof of the Winston Medical Center and devastated the state’s poultry business. At least 22,000 chickens were killed in the storms.
Stars of HOPE Project Director Pat Samuels says, “The stars that have been shipped to Winston County were painted by 911 families in New York City last month. These are very special because they connect survivor to survivor. We are proud to work with this amazing community.”
There will also be a “special star” from Canton, Georgia Mayor Gene Hobgood which was presented to Louisville Mayor Will Hill during the visit.
More than just a community art project, Stars of HOPE has become a growing “pay it forward” volunteer movement of compassion, resilience and love. The Stars are a joint project of the New York Says Thank You Foundation and Groesbeck Rebuilds America. The Stars have been featured on World News Tonight, the TODAY Show, and hundreds of other media outlets and have traveled as far away as Kessennuma, Japan.