A leader by day and night

An amazing transformation took place in Hillcrest Apartments complex on Wednesday night, June 11. Even if you live there, you may not realize it happened.

Hearing cries for help, a resident named Lillian Butler called 911 to assist a woman who’d been stabbed by an angry man.

After the incident, most people would probably have gone home to get some rest. But Lillian didn’t. And neither did many others who worked all that night to make the Hillcrest Community Center ready for the children who would come, counting on its summer program to be there for them, the next morning at 9 a.m. Lillian made sure that newspaper was taped over the windows so that clean-up could happen privately. All of the community rescue crew recognized that it wouldn’t help children to give them a day off to think about the violence ruining their peaceful routines.

When I arrived there at 11 a.m. on Thursday, the center was filled with children who were eating Ravioli and mixed vegetables for an early lunch before they left for an afternoon of swimming at Malvern Pool. The foyer of their community center had been freshly cleaned, painted and was open for business. The sidewalk outside was spotless, and clean-up crews still on the scene smiled and said hello to those who entered the building.

Lillian was a little tired. She didn’t look like she’d cried as much as she had the night before. She quickly got enthusiastic about all the activities she’s planned for the summer, like Greensboro, Emerald Pointe, Fun Depot, bowling, jewelry making, movies and academic improvement.

It’s so inspiring to meet beautiful people like Lillian Butler. I wish I knew the names of all the others who contributed their time to keeping Hillcrest a pleasant environment for children. What happened that Wednesday night was an indescribable tragedy for those who witnessed the horrible sadness of violence against a woman and disrespect for an entire community’s center of congregation and stability. What happened afterwards gives me faith in humanity and the power of people who truly understand the extra effort it takes to give our children reasons to respect and trust the adults who are today’s leaders.

— Kelly Barron

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