Dixie charm fundraiser pays off for refinery victims

Paul Seckinger, Morgan's father
Paul Seckinger, Morgan's father
Justin Purnell
Justin Purnell
Troy Bacon
Troy Bacon
Morgan Seckinger
Morgan Seckinger

By Don Logana - bio | email

RINCON, GA (WTOC) - A little girl, her father a victim of the sugar refinery explosion, made a big difference today.

Along with her classmates, nine year-old Morgan Seckinger sold enough charms and t-shirts to raise money, helping four Effingham County families affected by the tragedy of February 7th, 2008.

WTOC was at Ebenezer Elementary School in Rincon where $10,000 was raised and given to the victims today.

It started out as Morgan's Dixie dream.

All these months later, one little girl and all her classmates, pitched in to do their part to help. Today, their efforts paid off.

Almost one year ago, Paul Seckinger didn't know if he would be able to watch his little girl grow up.

"Oh well, She is something special to me," Seckinger told WTOC.

Today, he couldn't be more proud of his nine-year old daughter Morgan. Along with fellow refinery co-workers, Justin Purnell, Troy Bacon and Betty Fields, the widow of Kelly Fields, the three men spent a good part of last year at the Augusta Burn Center, each living with the memories and scars of the Imperial Sugar explosion.

"It's been kind of hectic but it's getting better," Seckinger said.

With a lot of help from his daughter, the four families received a check for almost $2500. Morgan, with help from her teacher, Stacie Ortiz, raised $10,000 by selling Dixie charms. It turned into a community effort.

"My dad was hurt and I wanted to do something to help. It made me feel good whenever I did that," Morgan told WTOC.

"Whooo! That's wonderful," Troy Bacon said.

For Bacon and Purnell, the money is nice but the effort is priceless.

"It feels very good to see the kids of Effingham County come out to do a special event for us. Makes me feel real good," Bacon said.

"It feels real good somebody out there cared enough to help us out," Purnell said.

A long year of recovery, each man has come a long way.

"It's been a long road, but one year went by real fast. We still got a long ways to go," Purnell said.

"It feels great to still be here but I still have a few problems. Still working on it," Bacon said.

"It's been tough but we will make it through," Purnell said.

Morgan says she still has work to do, and charms to sell.

"We haven't sold all those yet. We have a lot more," she said.

And her father, whose mom was with him every step of the way in Augusta, isn't a man of many words. However, his face says it all when he is watching Morgan.

"Probably the most special thing that could have happened to me, I reckon," Seckinger said.

Like Morgan said, there are charms still to be sold. You can call Ebenezer Elementary School for more information. The number is  912.754.5522.