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Christmas Comes Early for Carmen

Residents paraded through the streets of Uvalda on Thursday, July 14, as they celebrated Christmas in July in support of a local woman fighting cancer. Carmen Rodgers Murray has lived in the area her entire life. She graduated as a member of the Toombs County High School Class of 2013 and worked for various Vidalia companies before marrying Dalton Murray.

Currently, Carmen is battling cancer, and had one single request: to spend Christmas with her family. Heather Lynn heard of this desire and decided to do something to show Carmen that her hometown supported her. Heather organized a Christmas parade in July continued from page

to welcome Carmen once she traveled home from her hospital stay in Atlanta. Carmen’s family confirmed that she did arrive back home in time to witness the communities tribute.

“You just feel so helpless in these situations,” Heather explained. “You care about people and want to show them support, but after COVID, you want to make sure you don’t spread sickness to them as well. This seemed like the best possible way to shown Carmen that people are here for her.”

Heather said that she talked with Carmen’s aunt when she had the idea for the parade, and then quickly got to work organizing everything. “It really was a group effort. I reached out to Megan McFadden to share about the event through Facebook and told others through word of mouth. Soon, everyone was sharing the news with each other and making plans to take part.”

Around 75 floats and groups participated in the parade and provided the Rodgers and Murray families with a 25-minute parade to enjoy. Many members of the family watched the event from the front lawn and porch of Carmen and Dalton’s home, but the couple remained inside and watched the event through online streaming.

“Everyone was so great about making this happen,” Heather emphasized. “The law enforcement officers provided us any road closures or help that we needed and were willing to do anything. So many people turned out to participate in this and show their support, and it was truly an incredible experience.”

Carmen and Dalton, along with Carmen’s mother, Jill, and father, Ryan, shared a statement of gratitude for this event. “Carmen’s Christmas in July parade was truly amazing,” the family remarked. “We love our little town and the communities that surround us. We are in awe of this showing of love and honor to our precious girl.”

They continued, “This has been the sweetest and most memorable Christmas ever! Thank you to everyone who made it possible.”

The family asks for continued prayers from the community for Carmen’s health, as she continues to battle cancer from home.

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