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Tess Lancaster is joined by her mother, Anna, and father, Eric, in this recent photo. A benefit for the 18-year-old, to help defray mounting medical bills will be held Sept. 19 at Living Free Ministries

Tess Lancaster came face-to-face with five vicious pit bulls on August 9 in the Rock Hill community of Alcorn County.

The event could have ended fatally for the recent Alcorn Central graduate and class valedictorian if it hadn’t been for Postal Service worker Abby Puckett who happened upon the mauling at just the right time.

Lancaster survived the nightmare attack and has a long road to recovery.

With medical bills already beginning to pile up for the 18-year-old, a group of local citizens are encouraging all to help with the costs.

A benefit for Lancaster will be held on Sept. 19 at Living Free Ministries, located behind Magnolia Funeral Home on Highway 72 East.

Set for 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., the event will offer fish and chicken plates with all the trimmings and a drink for $10.

Plates will be available to go or participants are invited to make a day of it by pulling up a chair and staying a while. Mask and social distancing will be observed.

The attack, and resulting affects, on Lancaster has touched people not only in the Crossroads area but across the nation due in large part to caring and sharing friends and neighbors on Facebook.

“(Tess) is progressing and right now we are waiting to hear from a couple of plastic surgeons we consulted with this week and see what they suggest as far as what is next for her,” said Lancaster’s father, Eric. “She knows, and we all know, that she has a long road to recovery but with God’s help, and the assistance of so many top medical professionals, we feel confident she will be fine. She just wants to smile and feel better about things.”

According to Floyd Lamb, a local minister, he suggested in a recent meeting that the benefit be held as soon as possible.

“Some of us were discussing it and many were saying we need to do this somewhere down the road,” said Lamb. “I spoke up and said we really need to do it now. They nominated me to head the event at that point. I have a lot of good people and workers that have volunteered their time and services to help out any way they can. It takes a lot of people to make an event like this possible.”

Keith “Dude” Conaway will be part of the cooking team serving up the chicken and fish plates at the upcoming benefit.

“The thing about this attack is that it could have happened to any of us,” he said. “Something like this makes us stop and take stock of our own lives. I know it has for me.”

For those who would prefer plate orders can be made before-hand by texting their name, number of plates desired and time to be picked up to Conaway at 662-415-5646 or Michael Trimm at 662-603-2754.

For those who would like to help by going to Briggs Wholesale and purchasing a box of fish, chicken, fries or hushpuppies, Conaway and Trimm urge those individuals to text them and let them know what they purchased.

In addition to food and fellowship, a silent auction during the benefit. To donate an item, contact 662-415-7009, 662-415-8642 or Lamb at 662-415-0307.

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