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Aug. 8, 1996



By Rosie Flores

Fathers are back `in'

for successful child

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An increasing number of men, it seems, are striving to better
themselves and their lives around them to become better fathers. With
the growing number of divorces, staying a part of a child's life is
difficult in itself, but being a really good parent is almost impossible.

Everywhere one looks, there seems to be a renewed interest in
fatherhood. Football stadiums periodically fill with Promise Keepers and
others striving to establish a close relationship with their loved ones.

Promise Keepers are a group of men striving to do better for themselves
and to work toward keeping a happy family. An organization has been
formed locally for anyone interested in keeping the American family
alive and well.

According to the National Fatherhood Initiative, new stories regularly
highlight the connection between absent fathers and such diverse social
ills as crime, educational failure and welfare dependency. Virtually
everyone now agrees that fathers matter, and they matter a lot more than
many had previously realized. Fathers are "in" again.

It really doesn't take that much to be a good father. Time is of more
importance than anything else. Certainly, if the parents are divorced,
child support makes up for a good deal!

The number of children growing up in father-absent households continues
to rise. This year, more than a million children will experience the
divorce or separation of their parents. An additional 1.3 million will
be fathered out of wedlock. Overall, nearly 2.5 million children will
join the ranks of the fatherless.

The numbers seem kind of high, considering that the family structure
seems to be stronger.

It doesn't take much to be a good father, yet there are so few out
there. For a father to have a positive impact on the children, he must
not only be present, he must be involved. Try to find out more about
your children.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Rosie Flores is an Enterprise writer and editor of
Lifestyles and Golden Years. Her column appears each Thursday.


McKay life, death

inspire whole town

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Suddenly, punishment for the kidnapping, beating and murder of McKay
Everett, a 12-year-old Peet Junior High student, was set into motion.

When a jury of eight women and four men on Wednesday sentenced Hilton
Lewis Crawford, 57, of Conroe, to die by lethal injection, the community
was glued to the media, awaiting word.

In groups large and small, and at home alone in silence, the people of
Conroe and Montgomery County had shared the suffering over the loss of a
young boy with so much promise of doing good in this explosive world.

The people had contributed to a memorial fund in honor of Samuel McKay
Everett, established by his parents, who want the money to make a
difference in other young lives. The purpose of the fund is to prevent
cruelty to children and to serve their health care and educational
needs, according to the trust's instructions. The fund this week had
reached $29,324.

The community had shared anger toward Crawford in the 10 months since
his arrest. The victim was so young - and worse - Crawford was a family
friend, known to McKay as ``Uncle Hilty.''

McKay, dearly loved by his family, friends and schoolmates - and those
who regularly attended First Baptist Church with his family - became
known to and loved by an entire community.

Who was McKay Everett?

He was born March 1, 1983, in a labor so difficult for his mother that
his father worried about losing his wife. At the time of his death last
September, McKay was a seventh-grader at Peet Junior High, weighing only
101 pounds and topping 5-feet by just an inch. His eyes were blue, his
hair light brown. He had braces on his teeth.

He had no brother or sister.

He liked going to camp. Camps McKay attended, such as Camp Laity in
Kerrville, are expected to benefit from his trust fund. ...

And he liked to play sports. Hilton Crawford knew all this. He had
given McKay a football not long before snatching the boy from his home.

The football was clutched at a press conference by Carl Everett as he
pleaded Sept. 16 for his son's safe return.

``I want to take this opportunity to talk to Hilton, who is someone
that my family has loved dearly,'' Everett said that day. ``Hilty,
something's happened, and I don't know what's happened, but there's been
a lot of people involved now. But there's one still missing - and that's

``In my heart, I know that you would never harm my son. You gave him
this ball. He called you Uncle Hilty, and he loved you dearly.

``Three weeks ago, we were at your home playing with this ball and when
we got ready to leave, I told McKay, `Go give Uncle Hilty a hug,' and he
came over and he hugged you and he kissed you on the forehead.''

This image sticks, one of a family trusting an outsider as one of their
own. ...

Samuel McKay Everett's story is unending for this community. People
care. People here remember and take care of their own.

Donations to the Samuel McKay Everett Memorial Fund can be made with
any first Interstate Bank branch to account No. 1500611437, or mailed to
First Interstate Bank, P.O. Drawer 99, Conroe, Texas 77305.

As long as this trust fund exists, McKay will be working to make life
better in the hometown he loved.

- The Conroe Courier
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Copyright 1996 by Pecos Enterprise
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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