Teen who’s raised thousands to help others awarded scholarship

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Boy Scout Fletcher Horne gets a lot of attention these days. Some people, after hearing or watching his interviews, can’t believe he’s 15, said Linda Gavin of South Central Regional Medical Center. He recently fell into local fame after making hundreds of meal deliveries to health-care workers as his Eagle Scout project, simultaneously helping local restaurants during the coronavirus pandemic.

The articulate son of SCRMC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mark Horne thought things were business as usual when he was called to South Central Place for follow-up interviews with media. A smile lit his face when he learned he’d been fooled.

Mississippi State Treasurer David McRae handed Fletcher Horne a giant check for $529 for him to save for college. Fletcher will receive the scholarship in the form of the treasury’s Mississippi Affordable College Savings account. 

“I am thrilled to award Fletcher Horne with this week’s ‘Tell Me Something Good’ scholarship,” McRae said. “Our judges were blown away by the actions this young man has taken amid this crisis, finding a way to thank our health-care heroes while also supporting local restaurants that are struggling during this time. It’s a remarkable project that I am honored to recognize.”

Granted, college is still a few years away, but the money will be there when he’s ready. The MACS scholarship is an investment program that extends to all accredited colleges and universities. It helps with things like initial living expenses.

Fletcher Horne, who took media questions in his usual well-spoken way, said he didn’t even know he was nominated for the scholarship, so walking into South Central Place that morning was a surprise.

“The first thing I saw was a big check,” he said. “My brother and sister have gone to Ole Miss. I might go there. … I have no clue yet (what my major will be).”

The Laurel Christian School student said his project started when his dad came home after delivering breakfast to Emergency Department staff.

“My mom and I got to thinking, and we wanted to do it as a widespread project,” he said. “In the first 24 hours, we’d doubled our original goal of $5,000 (on GoFundMe). Now we’re sitting at $9,000.”

 Fletcher and fellow scouts pick up the food and make their deliveries on weekends, working around no-contact rules for health-care workers.

“We’ve fed urgent cares, the entire hospital staff — we’ve done more than 1,000 meals so far, so we’ve fed lots and lots of people,” he said. “It makes me feel great that we have a hospital staff who are willing to work as hard as they can in times that are very uncomfortable and unusual.”

 Since the state began the MACS program, it’s received hundreds of submissions and applications, from kids donating masks to delivering pet food. It makes McRae feel “proud of the state.”

“Fletcher’s community service of delivering meals to health-care workers and first-responders is impressive,” he said. “Not only does it help them, it helps local businesses. They need help as well, with employees and staying in business. It really resonated with our panel of judges.”

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