Henleyfield community works together for greater good

Published 8:47 am Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Recently, a relieved group of hardworking volunteers looked to the sky and spotted a rainbow. Jan Bowen, vice president of the group, smiled and whispered a prayer of thanks for a break in the stormy weather and the wonderful turnout for the steak dinner fundraiser she and scores of others had worked so diligently to plan.

Many years and many fundraisers ago Jan joined the Henleyfield Community Inc. group, or HCI. She served as president from the years of 2006-2009 and saw many changes to her beloved Henleyfield. What started out a dream of John Rosen in 2005 has continued to grow as others have caught his vision. Rosen dreamed of a place where people in this community between Bogalusa and Picayune could share life together.

In early 2005, HENLEYFIELD.COMmunity Inc., a non-profit-corporation, was formed. The Board of Directors is composed equally of Henleyfield-born families and those not born in the area. The 2014 board consists of 11 members, with Gail Flint serving as president. Henleyfield is a diverse blend of people from all walks of life, and the community group is a testament to the benefits of inclusion and a team spirit.

The stated mission of this group is to bring the community together by encouraging members to work together for the benefit of all. They are always seeking new members and donations to fund the initiation of projects to better the lives and well-being of the population at large.

The present facility, consisting of a multi purpose building, a ball field, two playgrounds, a pavilion and walking track, took many years of dreaming and working together to accomplish. Recently the HCI added a $1,000 scholarship to a worthy high school senior to its long list of accomplishments. The HCI is run totally by volunteer effort.

The Board of Supervisors contributes substantially to the success of this grass roots effort by funding the keeping of the grounds. HCI has raised more than $100,000 since 2006 through various fundraising events, memberships and dues. All other monies are contributions from corporate and private community supporters. All money raised or donated goes directly into community projects.

More than $2,000 was raised at the May 31 event to be used as seed money for a new project. A lovely botanical garden is being planned for the newly purchased four-and-a-half-acre plot across from the existing community center.

Furthermore, the steak dinner fundraiser gave residents and old timers alike a chance to experience the warm Southern hospitality that characterizes Henleyfield and the area as a whole.