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franklin county times

Camp Courage campers reunite

Kendale Palmer, Blaise Murray and Christlin Hester pose for a picture with Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow at their Camp Courage reunion last Thursday in Russellville. |Photo by Kellie Singleton.
Kendale Palmer, Blaise Murray and Christlin Hester pose for a picture with Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow at their Camp Courage reunion last Thursday in Russellville. | Photo by Kellie Singleton.

Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow had a busy year in 2013, but one of the things that stood out the most to him was his involvement with Camp Courage and the three children from Franklin County who attended the camp.

This past Thursday, Morrow and his wife, Dr. Martha Morrow, held a luncheon at Taylor’s Restaurant for the three Franklin County campers and their families as a way to catch-up, reminisce about the camp, and watch a DVD of highlights from the camp provided by Lee Sentell with the Alabama Department of Tourism.

“I am so inspired by these children who attended Camp Courage,” Morrow said.

“They bring joy to everyone around them, and I am honored to know them. I wanted to bring everyone together today so we could get back together and visit one another before the next Camp Courage starts.”

The three Franklin County students – Blaise Murray of Russellville Middle School, Christlin Hester of Phil Campbell Elementary School and Kendale Palmer of Vina Elementary School – were part of the inaugural class of Camp Courage, which is a three-day camp for visually and/or hearing impaired children at Ivy Green, the birthplace of Helen Keller, in Tuscumbia.

The camp, held last October, was sponsored by the Helen Keller Birthplace Foundation and the American Optometric Association Foundation, in conjunction with the University of North Alabama and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Students from UNA served as counselors for the event.

During the intensive three-day camp, the campers learned to use their abilities to overcome challenges and to make a difference in the lives of others, as Helen Keller did.

Some of the activities included crafts, games, fishing, and exploring nature at the Morrows’ Cypress Cove Farm in Red Bay.

“Fishing was definitely my favorite thing we did,” Blaise Murray said.

Both Hester and Palmer said they enjoyed the pottery making and the crafts.

“I think this was a really great experience, for the kids and for the parents,” said Michelle Murray, Blaise’s mother.

“You are able t meet all these people who are going through the same experiences or who have already had experiences and you develop this support system of people that you know you can talk to if you need to.”

Ashley Palmer, Kendale’s mother, said she hoped this first Camp Courage would inspire other visually and/or hearing impaired children to participate in the camp this year.

“I think everyone had a really great time, and we’re looking forward to going back,” she said.

The next Camp Courage will be held Sept. 11-13, 2014 at Ivy Green in Tuscumbia.


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