I was sitting at Amory’s busiest railroad crossing recently on a Saturday morning waiting on a train to pass. While others were turning around to take another route, I wasn’t in a hurry for once and decided to use the time to work on the endless task of weeding out emails on my phone.

Before I got engrossed by the small screen, I happened to notice a message rolling by among the graffiti-adorned railcars proclaiming, “Society is heartless.”

That day, I was traveling through Amory getting pictures of a group of nearly 100 red-shirted volunteers from Forward Church putting in their annual community service day, which included beautification work at several locations throughout town.

It was a beautiful all-in collaboration of people of all ages doing both inside and outside work.

The timing of the event was a unique coincidence in the face of recent events that inspired the theme of the day – Unity in the Community.

I thought that whoever applied that sentiment of “Society is heartless” probably never imagined that the railcar bearing that message would pass though a town with a big heart and unified purpose that overshadows the negative opinions of those who may not have experienced an opportunity to participate in a collaborative effort to benefit community and work out problems together.

The noon-time wrap-up was capped off by a plume of smoke from grills with sizzling hamburger patties that could be seen from blocks away by anyone approaching Amory’s busiest intersection of Highway 278 and Boulevard Drive.

The team wasn’t just out there to feed themselves a picnic either. An estimated 400 hamburgers were grilled and delivered to employees at the hospital, nursing homes and fire and police stations.

Horns were honking in the traffic as gestures of salute to the teams of volunteers wearing red T-shirts.

A lesson for the times was a good takeaway from the day where the workers were encouraged not to live in fear of the pandemic but to respond to changing circumstances with wisdom and patience.

I came away satisfied in both body and heart.

John Ward is a staff writer for the Monroe Journal. He can be reached at

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