HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — It's a friendship born out of tragedy. When Donna Howell lost her son Larry to murder, MeMe McComb was there for her. MeMe also lost a child, three-year-old Livia, to murder. Now, MeMe is being celebrated for what she does for others and her community
Howell nominated McComb to be a WZDX Neighborhood Hero. She explained their meeting like this:
"My son was murdered and then her daughter - was a three year old that was murdered and we got very close when her daughter died. In the grief of losing a child, especially in a violent way, is a lot different than losing somebody to a natural sickness and people on the - normal people will tell you get over it, put one foot in front of the other 'Oh God had a reason' and nobody understands like somebody that's been through it."
But McComb understands. She says, "Just to think that life can be taken just like that - one second they here then the next day they gone. So having her - she understands it."
MeMe McComb and Donna Howell formed a bond over their mission... to not only carry on the legacy of their children, Livia and Larry, but to do the same for other children that were taken from their families far too soon.
And although Howell does her own part in helping young murder victims' families, she nominated McComb as a hero because even through her grief, McComb still lends a helping hand to anyone who needs it.
Howell says, "Thanksgiving, she does a dinner for the homeless people. I've even seen her go rent a car to go pick them up and bring them to the church."
And McComb? She says, "I started out helping out in my church with the homeless dinners and then my pastor saw how well I did and he was like 'well, you just want to start doing the homeless dinners here' I was like, sure - sure."
These Thanksgiving dinners are always a success - but McComb's mac & cheese takes the cake and there's a good reason why. She explains, "I cook it with love - can't tell you my recipe but I cook it with love, but I like to cook anyway. I try to do what I can, you know at Thanksgiving dinner, everything is homemade, nothing is out of the can or pre-bought - they get a home-cooked meal."
She also hosts birthday parties for local kids in honor of Livia. They're welcomed with open arms...and gifts. McComb explains it like this:
"I know that this is something she would want me to do, 'cause she loved to have a birthday party. She loved to have a birthday party. I invite a lot of kids that I know, I know and then I put it on Facebook, the flyer, and people share like. I had people RSVPing me that...I don't even have to know the kids, but they're gonna come here, they're gonna eat good, they're gonna play and they're going home with a nice gift."
Not only does this help keep Livia's memory alive, this is just one way McComb gives back and makes other children in her neighborhood feel special.
And Howell says McComb is selfless, that "She helps me with my thing with the young murder victims families and young murder victims. She'll take her last dollar in her pocket and give it to somebody in need."
McComb doesn't consider herself a hero. She says this is just part of her nature. "I don't consider myself a hero. I feel like I love the kids, and my kid, my baby - Livia loved kids, love people too, just anybody. She never met a stranger. So, this is something I think that she would be well pleased with, and it makes me feel good. This is source of comfort for me. Although I'm still grieving, this is what helps me with my healing. I will never fully heal, never get over, but this makes me feel better."
RELATED: Neighborhood Heroes