BY RENEE HENDRIX –
On an ordinary day while taking a walk with her father on the Ouachita River, Morgan Puckett took in a scene that absolutely troubled her. She began to notice all of the trash that littered the river and surrounding areas that had mainly been caused from a major flood in the area in December, dubbed ‘Goliath.’ The trash covered the banks of the otherwise picturesque river, but it was also several feet high… plastic wrap that once surrounded bailed hay now encircled trees and their branches. Her family had shared with Morgan and her parents of the issue… but none of them realized the severity of the problem until they saw it themselves. Then and there, this ambitious Mena Middle School student decided to stand up and make a difference. Her favorite verse came to mind, Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Morgan credits this verse for seeing her through sports, church and school and now it would see her through another milestone of her life.
Morgan Puckett is the daughter of Edd & Melissa Puckett and by all accounts an average 13 year old. She attends 7th grade at Mena Middle School. She has an avid passion for softball and volleyball. Her favorite subject is science and she loves being a Mena Bearcat. She attends The Crossing Church, where she helps with the nursery and is very active on the Praise and Worship team and Hebron. The thing that makes Puckett stand out is that she has an infectious smile and a humble servant’s heart.
Puckett says “I love living here in Arkansas and we are known as the Natural state.” When she saw the polluted condition of the Ouachita River, she knew “someone” had to do something… and why couldn’t that “someone” be her. Puckett spoke with her dad about the area and her desire to step up and do something. Her father took her concern and spoke with a small life group from The Crossing that he leads. After receiving positive affirmation from them and their wiliness to help, as well as the church as a whole, ‘Morgan’s Project’ came into being.
The original date of this project was changed due to heavy rainfall, but on March 19th Morgan’s Project was ‘a go.’ Around 30 volunteers showed up to help make Morgan’s vision a reality. In a few short hours, these volunteers, inspired by Morgan’s ambition, made a significant impact removing large amounts of litter and debris from the hardest hit section of the river in Polk County. Melissa Puckett stated, “This has been such a positive experience to see that it just takes that someone to take the initiative and then others will come alongside and support you 100%.” There were many local businesses that stepped forward to lend a helping hand, Cruizzers, Southern Disposal and Atwoods as well as several individuals and The Crossing Church. Melissa went on the say, “I am so thankful that Morgan was able to witness all of these people from our community come forward and support her and this project.”
Morgan loves that Arkansas is known as the Natural State and that people come from miles around to enjoy the scenic mountains and beautiful views. She wants to do her part to make sure they keep coming back for generations to come. “If everyone would do something little then no one person would have to do something big. If everyone would just pick up a little bit here and there, how much better things would look.” she stated.