Daughter of chapel speaker inspires students to do good deeds for those around them
July 12, 2009, was a devastating day for parents John and Jinny Henson. Maggie Lee, their 12-year-old was killed three weeks after mechanical difficulties caused a bus carrying the youth group the young girl was involved in to overturn.
After Maggie Lee’s untimely death, her parents wrote a book titled Maggie Lee For Good, which portrays their daughter’s never-ending trust in the Lord. In honor of the astounding young girl’s faith, Oct. 29 is now known as Maggie Lee for Good Day.
Yesterday was the first time UMHB has participated in the worldwide effort to do a good deed.
Assistant Director of student organizations and adviser for First Year Council Katy Bumpus oversaw a canned food drive that was held on campus. The collection was for Helping Hands Ministry of Belton. Bumpus sees this as an opportunity for students to get together and participate in things they wouldn’t normally do without the guidance of others.
“Maggie Lee’s story was very moving in chapel, and I believe it challenges us to think about doing good deeds for people without expecting things in return. From the sounds of it, Maggie Lee had a great impact on the lives of people she came in contact with, so this challenges us to have the same impact with those we come in contact with daily,” Bumpus said.
Other activities held in conjunction around campus included a book drive sponsored by the ASTRA club. Assorted books were collected for local charities Churches Touching Lives for Christ, Families in Crisis and the Ronald McDonald House.
Bumpus said, “I feel this gives students the opportunity to make a difference for someone they come in contact with on this day. This is a great way for students to think about others and make someone’s day brighter just by doing something nice for them.”
Even though Maggie Lee for Good Day has passed, sophomore psychology major Danielle Manzella, along with her soccer teammates has decided to take this opportunity one step further.
“I used to cheer at the Powerhouse, and I’m still good friends with the coaches. The coaches were talking about a lady who has cancer, and her family doesn’t have health insurance, so for every 1,000th plastic bottle cap, her hospital is giving her a free session of chemotherapy so I (along with the soccer team) started collecting bottle caps,” she said.
So far, Manzella has collected approximately 300 bottle caps. The fundraising hasn’t gotten much exposure on campus yet, but the other soccer players have been more than willing to help out with the cause.
“A lot of the girls have brought me bags and bags of bottle caps, and the guys have started getting in on it too,” she said.
Since right around the beginning of the school year, Manzella has been using all of the resources she has to try to assist in this unique situation.
“I’ve always looked for a way to help. I try to make differences in everyday life,” she said.
Manzella is using her involvement in soccer as an opportunity to do just that.
“Do you know how many bottles of water we go through a day? So why not try to help someone? Why not try to make a difference in someone’s life? Make a terrible situation a little less terrible. I guess I just wanted to try to help because it was something that I could do,” she said.
After hearing Jinny Henson speak about her late daughter in a previous chapel service, university Chaplain Dr. George Loutherback felt compelled to share the story.
“I think it’s important because it makes us aware that at least one day we can do something for somebody that they don’t even know about. It’s just something that we do as a Christian who cares for other people that we want to help them in some way on that particular day,” he said.
With the story of Maggie Lee reaching the hearts of millions, tragedy has turned into triumphant. People all over the country are now motivated to do at least one good deed on a very special day.
Loutherback said, “I didn’t know the young lady. I know her mother, but Maggie Lee was such an outgoing, caring and giving individual, it just carries her legacy on and just multiplies it many times over.”