Jimmy Cherry, grandfather of the late Emmy Cherry, and Renee Fair, MIC of WFO Little Rock, at the National Weather Service display at Warriors Day in Russellville, Arkansas. (Photo: NWS)
(Sept. 20, 2008) -- WFO Little Rock MIC Renee Fair and WCM John Robinson staffed a severe weather education display at the "Warriors Day" children's festival in Russellville, Arkansas. The festival was organized to honor the memory of 10 year-old Emelaine "Emmy" Cherry, who lost her life in the Super Tuesday (February 5th) tornado that struck the town of Atkins, 13 miles from Russellville. Emmy's parents were also killed by the tornado.
Emmy was an avid reader and a big fan of the "Warriors" series of novels for young people, written by British author Erin Hunter. The books deal with clans of wild cats trying to survive in the forest. The name "Erin Hunter" is actually the pen name of three women who write the books. One of the authors flew in to attend the festival and has promised to dedicate a future book to Emmy.
The attendance was amazing, as more than 2500 people showed up. Many of Emmy's relatives were on hand to greet the attendees. A number of items cherished by Emmy were on display, including her red wagon and the stool she sat on while she was reading at home.
The festival featured art and writing contests, pet shows, pony rides, a quiz bowl, as well as safety information and animal awareness. A play, written especially for the event by Erin Hunter, was performed by high school drama students.
All money raised at the festival will benefit the Brightspirit Fund, a charity created in Emmy's honor. One project of the fund will be to build a public storm shelter for Atkins.