Charlene Fulghum, Tupelo

Customer service supervisor, McRaes

"Yes I do think that most people in Northeast Mississippi are honest. I've worked here for 18 years and we get lots of items turned in by shoppers.

"Not long ago a shopper found a wallet in the men's department with a good amount of money in it. He brought it to Customer Service and reported it as found. In 30 or 40 minutes, the person who had lost the wallet came back here and he was just absolutely thrilled to death that we had the wallet and that the money was still there.

"I don't think we've ever had a customer come back to pick up a wallet or a purse and say 'Oh, my money's missing.

"We've also had associates in the store who have turned in diamond bracelets and other things left out in the store or shoppers who have brought us rings they found in the washroom.

"They usually tell us, "I know somebody's going to be looking for it,' and we're just thrilled when the upset person reports it lost and we can say, 'Here it is.'"

Joe Armstrong, Verona

Employee of Foamex, Inc.

"I've lost stuff and it has not been returned, but I still think the majority of the people are honest. You're going to have outlaws anyplace you go.

"Considering the size of Tupelo, I don't think the crime rate is that great.

"I have a son that is grown and on his own. I always told him, "Be sure and tell the truth regardless of how bad it hurts.'

"He grew up to be a good kid."

Thomas Monaghan, Tupelo

Retired postal worker

"Yes, I believe most people around here are honest because you can see it every day. A couple of years ago, there was a fellow who found $107,000 in a bank bag and he returned it.

"There was about $100,000 in checks and $7,000 in cash. He could have burned the checks and kept the cash and no one would have known, but he returned it.

"They gave him a hundred dollars. He could have had the whole $7,000, but he was honest."

Deeneen Frieson, Oxford

Scholarship coordinator, University of Mississippi

"In my personal opinion, most Mississippians, and most Southerners, are honest. People from the South are homey and humble. They have old-fashioned values.

"And I feel we need to teach these values to our children because the younger generation does not respect truth and honesty. Parents need to have a stronger commitment to teaching their children about truth and honesty. It has to begin at home, early in their life.

"My folks always taught me to be honest, that it was wrong to lie and steal. And they said, 'Thank God for what you've got, not what you want.'"

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