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Boy's story inspires community

By Ed Brock

The story of Mickel McKeever, a 3-year-old Forest Park boy whose piggybank money was stolen in a recent burglary, has moved many in the community to help restore what he lost.

The graduating class of the Clayton Regional Law Enforcement Academy in Jonesboro plans to give Mickel the $15 to $20 that was taken from him last week and much more, said the academy's head Maj. Debbie Turner.

"It's going to be Christmas in the summertime for him," said Turner who has invited Mickel and his mother 24-year-old Dorothy Long to tonight's graduation ceremony for the academy.

Turner will give Mickel another piggybank full of money as well as some other gifts from the members of the class.

Turner started the campaign Tuesday after reading about Mickel in a News Daily article. On three occasions burglars have hit the Tracewood Apartment residence where Mickel and Long live on Sylvia Drive.

On the last occasion they took the change that Mickel had been saving ever since his grandmother took a cruise and showed him pictures of the ship she was on. He was saving the money so he could go on a ship, too.

"They took my piggy bank, my money," Mickel said.

They also took a television for which Long still owed more payments. More importantly, the thieves took the mother and son's sense of security.

Mickel is too scared to use the bathroom alone in the apartment, Long said. The burglars have broken in through the bathroom window and once came in through Mickel's bedroom window while he was sleeping in Long's bed.

Mickel's story moved other readers who contacted the News Daily to find a way to help him. Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Charley James said the Air Force ROTC program at Morrow High School wanted to "make a donation to Mickel to let him know that not everything in life is bad."

Long said she didn't know the full amount of what Turner and the members of the academy planned to give her.

"It's greatly appreciated. Anything, it doesn't matter how small, would be greatly appreciated," Long said.