From the small town (pop. 2,000+) of Sardis, Mississippi came a Christmas Story with a happy ending, sort of.
Michael Clay Saripkin, a registrant, served as the Grand Marshal of the Sardis Christmas parade Dec. 11 2018. According to the news article most of the residents of Sardis have no problem with a man with a past being named Grand Marshal by the town’s Chamber of Commerce.
And isn’t that the way it should be, because everyone has a past.
The facts of Mr. Saripkin’s case can be read on this website in full so I won’t rehash all of them here. Suffice it to say that Mr. Saripkin seems to be an active member of his community, he donates to the fire and police department and works to bring businesses and jobs into this small town. His past actions are not as relevant to the town as his current upstanding actions in the community. (Seems like a community of sensible people.)
I can’t help but wonder why the town’s District Attorney John Champion felt the need to mention that he “doesn’t believe that it is illegal for a “sex offender” to be a Grand Marshal in a parade, but he would need to research it.” (First of all who asked him to research anything? And secondly, does he really believe he’ll find some obscure “No Registrants Can Be Grand Marshal” rule on the books!) Well, stranger things have happened I guess.
While one resident did display some displeasure at Saripkin being named Grand Marshal, he just thought it was “wrong for a “sex offender” to be chosen.” Maybe he wanted the position himself, who knows?
Kudos to the residents of this small town who can appreciate and accept a man for who he is now and who don’t feel the need to judge him because of his past mistakes. We all make mistakes.
And to those who think his appointment to Grand Marshal was “wrong”, I wonder if they think it’s wrong when he donates money to the town’s fire & police dept. or when he brings businesses and job opportunities to this small town. I bet they’re OK with that.
And while this story has a happy ending, the original news article which was aired by WMC 5 Action News, included in the same aired piece, a totally unrelated story about a 75 yr. old Wisconsin man who played Santa at an Oshkosh YMCA and who was fired after surveillance video allegedly showed him repeatedly assaulting a 3 yr. old girl.
Seems the media just couldn’t leave well enough alone when reporting something good that a registrant is doing for a community. They had to temper the first story with a second negative “sex offender” story.
Guess that’s what constitutes good journalism nowadays.