TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) – A little more than a month ago, Tupelo experienced a tragedy as two police officers were gunned as they were investigating a bank robbery. Officer Joseph Maher continues to recover from wounds, but Sergeant Gale Stauffer was killed.
The sergeant leaves behind a wife and two young children and as WCBI’;s Allie Martin reports, today a project is announced that will help the hero’s family rebuild their lives.
They gathered in the front yard of 1123 Woodlawn, the home Sergeant Stauffer shared with his wife and two kids, a home that’s about to undergo a major facelift.
“Today we’re here to announce that we’re going to be completely renovating this house, from those steps to the back doors,” said Steve Tybor, who is organizing the project, known as “Build for Beth.” It’s an all volunteer effort that will basically give Beth, 2 year old Skip and 6 year old Dixie, a new house .
“Beth lives in a beautiful home in a beautiful neighborhood in Tupelo but like other homes that are 80 , 85 years old, need a little upkeep so what we wanted to do is eliminate all distractions of a leaky roof or window that doesn’t open,” Tybor said.
Although the initiative has just been announced, Tybor, along with a core group of 20 or so business owners, ranging from bankers, real estate professionals, decorators, and architects have been meeting with Beth, getting ideas for the project that will nearly double the square footage of her home.
Beth felt it was important to stay in this house, it’s a few blocks from where Sergeant Stauffer was laid to rest and it’s a connection to her husband for her and the kids.
“This was something he always wanted to do and to completely renovate a home is an undertaking. So, the creaks in the floors, the way the doors sound when they shut, the way the floors sound when he would walk through, those will be gone but with that we will have brand new everything and start new memories and regardless of new things we will still have old memories of Gale, so it’s just humbling and exciting and overwhelming,” Stauffer said.
Those who have signed on to help out say they couldn’t think of a better cause.
“Those of us in the banking business enjoy the unqualified support of all our area law enforcement people, they are there for us when we need them and this family is bearing a loss no one should be asked to deal with,” said B.B. Hosch, of Renasant Bank.
“The Tupelo spirit is alive and well and it’s headed on to the next generation. We all get to join together when people find themselves in need to make a difference in lives and we get the joy of helping,” said Lisa Hawkins, of Room to Room Furniture.
Organizers are still finalizing plans and there are some donations that have to be rounded up, but construction should start in about a month. Then, on March 31st, teams will come in from all over the country to Build for Beth.
Volunteers are still needed, along with donations. For more information, e mail firstname.lastname@example.org or if you would like to make a donation, mail it to
“Build for Beth” PO Box 3208, Tupelo MS 38803