Each spring, Shelter Insurance Companies holds a Facebook essay contest called “Thankful for Our Communities.” Five winners each receive a $5,000 grant for the charity of their choice. This year, Michele Maxey wrote a winning essay about Philadelphia, Mississippi, and chose the Diamond Dreams Foundation as the recipient of the $5,000 award. The check was presented on Wednesday, July 11 at Northside Park.

The rules of the contest required entrants to write an essay about what makes their communities special and have their Facebook friends vote on their essay. The essay that earned the most votes was an automatic winner, and the next nine essays with the most votes were submitted to a panel of Shelter judges, who chose the next four winners.

Shelter has always encouraged community involvement, and this contest gives people an opportunity to explain what makes their communities stand out. According to Frank Thompson, Vice President of Marketing for Shelter, “We chose this approach because we wanted to point out the many positive aspects to the communities we serve and honor the people who can make a difference in those areas. We also wanted to find out what’s important to the citizens in these communities and help support those causes. This contest was a fun way to do that.”

Maxey’s essay was titled “Building Our Field of Dreams” which described Philadelphia as the home of Marty Stuart, former L.A. Rams player Marcus Dupree and Eli & Peyton Manning’s mother, Olivia. She also talked about the town’s festivals, but more importantly how this diverse town pulls together when needed. She goes on to talk about the formation of the Diamond Dreams Foundation, which is a baseball league established for kids with special needs. Maxey explained that Diamond Dreams would like to build a handicap accessible field and dugouts for the kids. Winning this essay should help with that goal.