July 1 is Children’s Home homecoming

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 23, 2000

Features Editor

June 22, 2000 10 PM

No matter how far they roam, those who grew up in the Baptist Children’s Home in Troy will always have a special place in their hearts for "home."

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On Saturday, July 1, former residents and staff of the Troy campus of Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries will host their annual homecoming and a record crowd of more than 700 is expected – and unexpected.

When the Children’s Home closed its doors in Troy in 1997, there was much speculation that the annual homecomings held there would dwindle in the coming years. But, if this year is any indication, that is far from true.

The highlight of the festivities will be the unveiling of a set of five bronze statues in the courtyard outside the chapel. The statues are the work of noted Dallas sculptor Barvo. The memorial was planned and funded entirely by Troy alumni and former staff members as a continual reminder of the great social, economical and spiritual impact the Children’s Home campus had on the city and its citizens from 1923 to 1997.

Barvo was in Troy Monday to oversee the setting of the statues. He said the memorial is special to him because he lived at a children’s home in New Orleans during his younger years.

"I understand the warm memories that the former residents of the Baptist Children’s Home have of their childhood here," he said.

Lillian Scoggins Corley

was a resident at the Troy Baptist Children’s Home from 1953 – 62 and she was a driving force in the acquisition of a memorial statue for the campus.

Her three siblings were also residents of the Children’s Home and all have fond memories of their days there.

"It was home when we needed a home and family when we needed family," she said. "Those were happy days for us."

Corley was among those who approved the design for the memorial and she said it depicts the many phases of life at the Children’s Home.

"When the home moved from Greenville to Troy in 1923, there were a number of babies who arrived and a baby house was set up for them," she said. "One of the figures is of a young girl holding a baby in her arms. That represents both the older children and the youngest ones."

There are also figures of a younger girl reading to a little boy.

"That represents the Bible study that was always a part of our day and also the learning that was always taking place," Corley said. "The little boy swinging the bat is representative of the softball games that were played on campus every Sunday afternoon. The memorial is a symbol of the activities, the camaraderie and the warmth and love at the Baptist Children’s Home here in Troy."

Corley failed to put a price tag on the memorial. She chose instead to say it is "priceless."

"There is no dollar amount that can be placed on the sentiment of this memorial for those of us who called the Children’s Home "our" home," she said.

The bronze statues will be the focal point of the memorial but the surrounding enhancement will be just as meaningful.

Engraved 8×8-inch bricks have been purchased by former residents and staff members and the money raised will go toward funding the memorial.

"Some people had the bricks engraved with their names and the dates they lived or worked at the Children’s Home and some have had meaningful scriptures or quotations," Corley said. "The bricks will be a lasting reminder of those who were a part of the Children’s

Home and will make a beautiful and meaningful display."

Bricks are still available and may be purchased at the homecoming.

Homecoming festivities will begin with a celebration service for former residents and staff at 10 a.m. in the old chapel. Paul Miller, executive director of the Children’s Homes, will give the opening address and Mayor Jimmy Lunsford will deliver greetings from the city.

The public is invited to witness the unveiling of the bronze statue at 11:30. Following that ceremony the former residents and staff will enjoy a barbecue lunch at the Colley Senior Complex.

Afternoon activities will include the traditional softball game on the grounds of the former Children’s Home and a time of fellowship and sharing.

For more information or to order lunch tickets which are required for the noon meal, call (888)720-8805.