Community gathers around OPD detective after house fire
Published 7:32 pm Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Detective Hardie Meeks spends his day protecting and serving the citizens of Oxford by solving crimes and getting criminals off the streets. When not at work, he cares for his family. When he has some time to spare, he’s mentoring teens with Straight Talk of Oxford.
His actions haven’t gone unnoticed, and now, the community is extending a helping hand out to Meeks and his family.
On Tuesday afternoon, Meeks home in the Gumtree subdivision caught on fire, and the Meeks’ lost their house and most of their belongings.
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Lafayette County Fire Coordinator Wes Anderson said the cause of the fire is under investigation by the State Fire Marshal’s Office.
“Everyone was out of the structure on arrival, and there were no reported injuries,” Anderson said. “The structure was not a total loss, but they did lose a majority of their possessions.”
Within hours of the fire, local law enforcement agencies and other community organizations started asking for donations for the family.
At 27 years old, Meeks decided he wanted to be a police officer and signed up for the police academy. He worked at the University Police Department for two years before joining OPD in 2010 as a patrol officer. He is now a detective working felony crimes.
Meeks’ wife, Katrenia, is a Family Advocate with Family Crisis Services. Their two children, Ani, 9, and Hayden, 10, attend Lafayette Upper Elementary School. The fire happened on Ani’s birthday. Meeks also owns Blue Security and is a member of the Chamber of Commerce and an alumnus of the Leadership Lafayette program, now giving back to the program by serving on the steering committee.
OPD send out a mass email Tuesday afternoon asking for donations of clothing and meals.
“Please bring any clothing donations to OPD, and I will gladly make sure they get them,” said Bridgette M. Frierson, OPD Communications Supervisor.
The Lafayette County Law Enforcement Officer Association is asking for donations of meal cards or money that can be mailed to: LCLEOA, P.O. Box 1271, Oxford MS 38655, or dropped off at The Tad Smith Coliseum on the University of Mississippi campus to Candy Williams. Checks should be made out to LCLEOA or Hardie Meeks.
The Oxford and Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce is holding a “PHlash Drive” for the Meeks family.
“This is a challenge to our wonderful community of Oxford and Lafayette County, to give back, to help this family in need,” said PHlash Drive chairman Ryan Miller in a press release. “They are in need, and we are a community that rises to the occasion when people are in need. Let’s show the Meeks family that we love them.”
The PHlash Drive will go until 5 p.m. Thursday. Clothing donations and other items may be dropped off at the chamber office at 299 West Jackson Ave.
Items to donate:
Hardie: 38×34 pants, large tall shirts – must be tall or they will be too short, size 14 shoes
Katrenia: 5/6 or medium clothes, size 8 1/2 shoes
Ani: size 7/8 clothes, size 3 shoes
Hayden: 10/12 clothes, size 6 shoes
They have a dog, so a Kroger or PetSmart card for food etc.
Plastic bowls, plates
Individually packaged snacks
Cereals: Fruit-loops, Pops, Cinnamon Toast Crunch
Restaurant gift cards
Kroger/Walmart gift cards
Clothing/shoe store gift cards
Some additional ideas for the kids
Both play soccer
Ani likes coloring books and other crafts
Hayden likes sports
Both children like to read