This was a dream of Rep. Charles Young Sr. If Young Sr., were alive Tuesday morning, he would have seen a form of his dream come true in the diverseness of people gathered at the Troop H Mississippi Highway Patrol Station that now bears his name.
"Look at this rainbow of people," said Lauderdale County Justice Court Judge Veldore Young, the daughter of the late state representative. "You have different genders, races, ages, political affiliations, all coming together to honor him. He would be so proud."
It was standing room only inside the conference room of the newly built building on Highway 11/80 that also houses the Department of Public Safety's Drivers License Bureau. Dignitaries from the local and state level mixed and mingled with family and friends of the Young family who had arrived on this day many denoted as historic.
"A mountain peak has been reached by someone who served this state for so many years," District 82 Rep. Charles Young Jr. said. "Governor Bryant continues to make history with the appointment of minorities to high offices and now this, the honor of my father on this building."
In 2005 the state Legislature approved funding for construction of a new station for Troop H, whose members patrol the counties in east-central Mississippi that comprise District 6. According to MHP Maj. Billy Mayes, who was at the time of the initial funding request a captain and commander of Troop H, Hurricane Katrina blew those first plans away.
"Troop K in Gulfport was destroyed so the Legislature, rightly so, moved the funds to the coast so they could get back on their feet quickly." Mayes said.
In 2010, with the support of legislators such as Videt Carmichael and many others, Mayes said the money was approved again for the new station. With donated land from the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors, the plans were finalized and three months ago the troop moved from the Highway 19 North location to where it stands today.
"The Young family and everyone in Lauderdale County can be proud of this station and the cooperation it took to bring this to this point," said Albert Santa Cruz, the commissioner of the Department of Public Safety. "We will be better able to serve this part of the state."
Gov. Phil Bryant was the featured speaker for the event and he said Young Sr. would be proud today of his family and the communities of Lauderdale County and Meridian. Bryant said the building should not be referred as a substation, but rather a grand station.
"It is a tribute to a grand man who will now be known to many who come here," Bryant said. "This station is in many ways an example of how Mr. Young conducted his life in that together we can achieve anything."
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For the sake of the children
For the vast majority of children quietly walking from West Lauderdale Elementary School Wednesday morning, they knew they were taking part in a drill.
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