Sela Ward honored
SPEAKING TO THE LEGISLATUREn Actress Sela Ward talks to members of the Mississippi Senate on Thursday, in Jackson during recognition of her career accomplishments and civic contributions to Meridian and the state of Mississippi. AP photo
By Steve Swogetinsky/The Meridian Star
Feb. 23, 2001
JACKSON Fame can be fleeting, even for an award-winning actress.
As Meridian's Sela Ward was honored by both houses of the Mississippi Legislature Thursday, she acknowledged that one day she would no longer be in the public eye.
She promised to use her "window of opportunity" to promote Meridian, all of Mississippi and her desire to help children in need.
She talked about the different projects on which she has worked in Meridian, such as the Grand Opera House renovation and the state's Arts Center which has been proposed for Bonita Lakes.
But clearly her "Hope For Children" project is the dearest to her heart.
Ward explained that two Christmases ago, she and her family delivered Christmas presents to children at Peavey House. Two small children with a very tragic background were there. When she asked them what they wanted for Christmas, they said all they wanted was a safe place to live.
That stayed in Ward's heart. Her first instinct was to adopt the children, but with her hectic pace as an actress, it wasn't practical. As she drove around Meridian, she said she began to notice the old Masonic Home, which had been closed.
She began to work on the idea and "Hope For Children" was founded. The Masonic Home has been purchased and will become a home and campus for abused or neglected children.
As if to tip off her audience about her strategy, Ward asked a question: "What does it mean to be thoughtfully political?"
She explained her definition. First, you have to think about what you want, and then you think about who can help you get it.
Currently the star of the TV series "Once and Again," Ward, her son, Austin, her parents and other family members attended the event.
After addressing the Legislature, Ward met with Gov. Ronnie Musgrove and Attorney Gen. Mike Moore.
Steve Swogetinsky is regional editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at email@example.com.