MC

Mississippi College

Homerun for Habitat Fundraiser

August 27, 2007

Barbour's Bombers belted their rivals, the Media Giants, in the annual Homerun for Habitat charity softball game. But the big winner at the Mississippi Braves' Trustmark Park was the Metro Jackson Habitat chapter with Mississippi College playing a part.

Saturday's third annual event raised about $35,000 to help build a Habitat home for a needy family in Jackson.

The 75-minute game wasn't as intense as Ole Miss tackling Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl or MC-Millsaps in the Backyard Brawl. When it was over, players on both sides shook hands and made way for the MBRAVES to take on the Birmingham Barons in the nightcap.

"We are so thankful for the media and Governor and Mrs. Barbour's constant support of Habitat for Humanity/Metro Jackson," said Amberly Wilson Collins, development director for the Jackson Habitat chapter. "Homerun for Habitat is such a fun event that ultimately results in a deserving family receiving a new home and a new hope for the future."

A Habitat home today costs $56,000 to construct. It will add to the Christian organization's solid record of building 366 homes in the Metro Jackson and Rankin County areas since 1986. Major sponsors for the game were AT&T, BlueCross BlueShield of Mississippi and Cellular South.

There were several Mississippi College connections to the game that pits Governor Barbour's team against a lineup of newspaper, TV and radio people from the Jackson area with a few others tossed into the mix.

Miss Mississippi Hospitality Rebekah Staples, the governor's deputy press secretary, tossed out the ceremonial first pitch. Staples is a Mississippi College graduate.

Amberly Wilson Collins and Habitat development assistant Robin Weeks, who went to bat to help both teams organize the game, are both MC graduates. The game was originally scheduled July 6, but was postponed due to rain.

An MC Choctaws baseball jersey signed by President Lee Royce was part of a game-time raffle that included a blue shirt from Blue Mountain College, and green baseball caps from Belhaven College. Baseball jerseys also came from about a dozen other schools such as Ole Miss. MSU, Southern Miss, Delta State, Jackson State, Millsaps, Mississippi Valley State, Hinds, Northeast and Itawamba community colleges. A boat from Bass Pro Shops and a one-year membership at the Courthouse Racquetball Club were among other items snapped up by fans.

Members of the Media Giants team, included WAPT news anchor Scott Simmons, the Giants game manager, MC university news coordinator Andy Kanengiser, Brad McMullan, a WAPT reporter and morning contributor to MC's Star-93.5 radio station, radio newsman Randy Bell of Clinton, and an assortment of Clarion-Ledger news staffers. Austin Barbour of Capitol Resources was the event leader for the governor's softball team. Charles Barbour, Henry Barbour, Jay Barbour, and Will Barbour rounded out their 19-man roster. Gov. Barbour, who was to handle Habitat coaching duties, had to skip Saturday's game due to a scheduling conflict. The Bombers now hold a 2-1 edge in the series.

The first Homerun for Habitat in 2005 raised $25,000, with $14,000 generated in 2006, making this year's event truly one for the record books!

People seeking to volunteer or donate to Habitat in Jackson should call 601-353-6060 or go to www.habitatjackson.org


PHOTO: Miss Mississippi Hospitality Rebekah Staples, the governor's deputy press secretary, and Mississippi College graduate helps with construction of a Habitat home.