One Minden family's "nightmare" has turned into a daydream.
After moving here in August, Mary Rovy and her husband and five adopted grandchildren, all under the age of 10, have been dealing with the oldest child allegedly being bullied.
"Their father, my son, passed away two years ago from cancer and their mother is not involved due to the courts," Rovy said. "These kids have been through so much together and what affects one of them affects them all."
Rovy said after weeks of "picking" on her oldest granddaughter, classmates cut her hair while on bus 49 from Richardson to Phillips.
"I was disappointed with the response from the school," she said. "Other than me speaking with them about the incident, no one called to check on my child or to apologize. They said it wasn't their fault, but that the boy who did this would be disciplined appropriately.
"The only phone call I did get, was from the superintendent (Steve Dozier)," she continued. "And it was after the story ran in the paper and it seemed he was more upset that I told our story – not that he was concerned for our family."
However, Rovy said she did receive a response from the community she did not expect, after Amy Sampson contacted the Minden Press-Herald asking for contact information for the Rovy family.
"When I read the story about a fourth grader's hair being cut off while on a school bus, I was overwhelmed with sympathy for the family," Sampson said. "Our own family has dealt with bullying, and I couldn't imagine having moved to a new community and dealing with it."
Sampson believes God laid the Rovy family on her heart and she felt led to reach out to them.
"I wanted to give them a proper welcome to Minden," she said. "I wanted to show them that we are a loving, giving community."
With Rovy's permission, the Minden Press-Herald gave her contact information to Sampson and the daydream began.
"When Amy called and told me she wanted to bless my family, I just couldn't believe it," Rovy said. "I couldn't understand why she would reach out to me like that, she doesn't know me and her child was not the one doing the bullying.
"When she told me she wanted to give my family a proper welcome to Minden, I just started crying," she continued. "The only reason I felt I needed to talk about what happened was because I wanted people to be aware of the type of conduct going on."
Sampson said after she spoke with Rovy and learned more about their family, she understood why God had placed this on her heart.
"This family has been through so much and it is important to remember you never know what someone is dealing with at home or what is in their past," she said. "This is not the first family to go through something like this and there have been some questions asked of should we do this for them, when we haven't done it for others.
"I just know how I felt when I read the story and after talking with Mrs. Mary, I know I'm supposed to do something," she said. "Mrs. Mary is serious about addressing the issue and did her part to let the community know what was going on. Change has to start somewhere."
Sampson originally intended to welcome the Rovy family to the community and now her focus has grown to addressing issues.
"We are all thinking about what we can do to help all of our children, and the victims and bullies," she said. "Nothing about bullying is pleasant and I don't have the answers, but we are praying and searching for a way to reach kids."
Rovy said she was nervous about her family's turmoil being made public, but she has been blessed for doing what she felt was right.
"After weeks of kids teasing her about her hair, it got cut off – what if they had cut her face. Even after the incident, she still gets comments about her hair and she now wears it up in a bun so kids can't touch it," she said. "The bullying problem needs to be addressed as well as the safety aspect."
Sampson is gathering "goodies" for the Rovy family to make a gift basket, which will be given Monday, October 15 at 5 p.m. at the Minden Press-Herald, 203 Gleason Street.
To contribute to the gift basket, items can be dropped off and a card signed at the Minden Civic Center Saturday, October 13 beginning at noon or contact Amy Sampson at 268-0847.
To join the conversation on Facebook, search for "A better welcome to the community" group.