1998 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Representative Simmons (37th)

House Concurrent Resolution 38

(As Adopted by House and Senate)


WHEREAS, Sonya Renee Tharp, who was raised in Maben, Mississippi, received the prestigious honor of being crowned as Ms. Wheelchair Mississippi and represented the State of Mississippi in the Ms. Wheelchair America pageant held in West Minister, Colorado, in August of 1997; and

WHEREAS, in May 1995, Ms. Tharp received a Bachelor of Science degree in Child Psychology from Mississippi State University, where she served as Director of Disabled Student Affairs for two years and as a member of the Resident Hall Council, Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities, Disability Awareness Committee, United Students Support Group, Affirmative Action Committee, Minority Student Affairs Committee, Lyceum Arts Committee and the Advisory Committee for Students with a Disability; and

WHEREAS, she is completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work from Mississippi State University and plans to obtain a Master's degree in Social Work; and

WHEREAS, in January of 1997, she received one of ten nationwide Young Scholar Awards from the governmental Dole Foundation that has allowed her to work for the Mississippi State University Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision; and

WHEREAS, Ms. Tharp has been very active in her community where she has completed several hundred volunteer hours at the Sally Kate Winters Memorial Children's Home for Abused or Neglected Children, the Dugan Memorial Personal Care Home and the Mississippi Methodist Rehabilitation Center's Spirit Team; and

WHEREAS, Ms. Tharp, who leads an active lifestyle and is involved in many adaptive fitness programs, was named as the top female road racing athlete in the State of Mississippi, has won several long distance wheelchair road races throughout the southeast and participates in the sport of wheelchair tennis; and

WHEREAS, disabled in an accidental shooting at age two that left her paralyzed from the waist down, Ms. Tharp says that her parents, Rannie and Joe Ed Gilliland, gave her chores and responsibilities just as they gave her brother and, in so doing, taught her to stay busy and not dwell on what is in the past; and

WHEREAS, Ms. Tharp, who is truly an inspiration to everyone around her, says that the love, respect and normalcy that she received as a child has led her to dedicate the rest of her life to helping others to overcome obstacles that they may face in their lives; and

WHEREAS, the people of Mississippi are extremely proud of Sonya Tharp who always represents the State of Mississippi in an excellent manner and serves as a goodwill ambassador for the state wherever she goes:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, THE SENATE CONCURRING THEREIN, That we commend Sonya Renee Tharp for her many outstanding accomplishments and congratulate her on being crowned Ms. Wheelchair Mississippi.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That copies of this resolution be furnished to Sonya Renee Tharp and members of the Capitol Press Corps.