When the chips are down, members of this community sure know how to support each other.
So it should be no surprise that they’ve not forgotten Alexis Myers and Danielle Nelson, their families or their Hickory High School classmates.
The two students lost their lives this past February in a terrible car crash.
Their community was deeply impacted as students, families and leaders mourned their loss, and much of this county prayed and cried along with them.
It would have been easy to move on, to remember the young women we lost, but to go back to living our lives.
Not in this community.
Inspired by the outpouring of love and support that people from all over the county shared as the Hickory High School community recovered, there is a new project, a way to pay tribute to two exceptional young women lost much too soon.
And it has a message as well.
The T-shirt is emblazoned with a simple phrase, “Six Schools, 1 Community.” It features the logos from all of the neighboring districts as well as Kennedy Catholic High School.
It is designed to remind all of us that while we might be proud of our hometown schools, and root for them on and off the athletic fields, when one of us is hurting we are all ready to rally around them.
The money raised from the sale of the shirts will go toward a scholarship fund with an award to be given to a student from one of those six high schools.
It is not about Hickory High School.
It is about unity as a community.
The shirts are being modeled at Donna’s Diner in Sharon — and are available for sale there, or by calling the organizer behind the T-shirt sale, Sean Zippie.
What a special message and a great idea.
It is important to remember how strong we are when we all pull together. There is a time for competitiveness and school spirit — and then there is a time for something more important, empathy and compassion.
So buy a T-shirt for yourself, or donate for someone else to have one. Support a plan to make sure that the leadership and compassion that Alexis and Danielle showed in their daily lives will be remembered years from now.
It is the right thing to do.
And while we are at it, there is something else we need to remember.
There are efforts under way to support the families of the young women who survived the crash.
Their lives were changed forever that day — and they will need their community, too.
So many have already opened their hearts to support their journeys back.
But one of the best tributes we can pay to Alexis and Danielle is to make sure we do what they would have done — been there with a smile, a warm hug and faith.
It is what a community does. And this is, and will always be, a community, no matter what the ZIP code.