Thursday, October 30, 2014

Celebrating an Anniversary

Community Renewal International began about 20 years ago in Shreveport, LA with the vision of one man to change communities, on neighbor at a time.  I've been involved in it for many years in some small capacity, but have always been so inspired by the vision behind this wonderful organization.  Block by block, communities have turned around in this area and in recent years, the concept has gone nationwide and now internationally.

At the beginning of 2014, after interning with CRI last year, Callie left her job as youth director to begin working for this non-profit agency.   Tonight, they celebrated their 20th anniversary with a night of music, fellowship and inspiration and Callie was able to get tickets for us to attend with them.   The event was held at the historic Municipal Auditorium, noted for featuring Elvis Presley at the Louisiana Hayride many years ago, and had I known that cameras would be allowed, I certainly would have brought my Nikon rather than depending on my phone camera!
There were dignitaries from the area, the nation and even from other countries.  But, the majority of the audience was comprised of folks that work on the front lines of this organization making a difference in the lives of children and families throughout the city.

The program was filled with inspiring music and recognitions.
But, the best part of the evening was the keynote speaker, former President Jimmy Carter.  One of the memories I will take with me wasn't captured by my camera, but I was watching him behind a group of singers as they performed "The Battle Hymn Of The Republic".  With his eyes closed, he sang along with every word.
He is now 90 years old and since leaving the presidency, has accomplished so much in the area of humanitarian efforts.  With his strong faith leading him, he is quite amazing, actually.
Just as we left the building,  the street was cleared and the motorcade left, whisking Carter and his entourage away.  Callie, while I know you "just missed" your opportunity for an individual picture with Carter, I was able to get you in the same shot as his motorcade.  Does that count?!?!

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