Del. James Edmunds stood Saturday night watching large groups of young people shooting basketball, playing cornhole and throwing frizbees in the Halifax County High School gym. Meanwhile, others were dancing in the lobby to popular tunes being spun by DJ Kirby Saunders.
It was New Year's Eve at Halifax County High School.
No formal crowd count was recorded, but Del. Edmunds, who assisted in organizing the event, estimated that 800 to 1,000 people attended the party held as a celebration of the lives of Casey Pulliam and Olivia Noblin, two Halifax County High School student-athletes who were killed in an automobile crash 10 days earlier, and in honor of Joey Myers, who was seriously injured in that accident.
Noblin's father, Stanley Noblin, wanted to have an alcohol-free event for Halifax County High School students, their chaperones and parents at which the young people could gather to dance, enjoy food and games and have fun in a safe place and not be out on the roads.
Del. Edmunds and others quickly jumped on board, and in less than a week it all came together.
"This is great," Del. Edmunds remarked as he looked out over the crowd.
"The donations of food and all of the other items we needed surpassed my expectations. I have never seen an event where nobody had to ask for anything and people just came and brought things and offered ideas and support. It's awesome. The community has really come together to support this.
"Members of the Pulliam family and the Noblin family are here," Del. Edmunds continued.
"I think people, the kids, need this. They need to be together in a safe place and have a chance to heal. You can really feel the love in this community. It's healing for the community."
Noblin, like Del. Edmunds, was very pleased with the event.
"I want to have it (the party) every year I possibly can," Noblin said.
"What more can you ask for? We have the best community there is. This community comes together and takes care of each other."
A gathering of everyone around the flagpole in front of Halifax County High School just prior to midnight, a pause in the festivities to remember and honor the two deceased high school student-athletes and Myers as the New Year arrived, was in the plans for the evening. Noblin said a decision was made to cancel that part of the event.
"We looked at the kids and they were all happy, having fun dancing and enjoying the activities," Noblin pointed out.
"So, we decided not to do it. We didn't want this to end on a down or sad note for them."
Scholarship funds have been established in memory of both Casey Pulliam and Olivia Noblin. Persons wishing to make donations to the Casey Pulliam Scholarship Fund may do so in care of Ryan Garrett at Edward Jones Investments, 541 North Main Street, South Boston, Va. 24592.
Persons wishing to make donations to the Olivia Noblin Scholarship Fund may do so in care of First Baptist Church, 815 North Main Street, South Boston, Va. 24592.
View moe photos at the link below.
from The Gazette-Virginian