O'Donnell community rallies behind Ten Commandments

O'Donnell community rallies behind Ten Commandments

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O'Donnell ISD was in the headlines a few months back when the Freedom From Religion Foundation demanded that the Ten Commandments be removed from a wall where they were painted in the high school.

The foundation threatened to take the district to court citing separation of church and state. To the dismay of many students and residents, the mural was covered and then painted over. 

The Ten Commandments are now standing tall across the street facing the school on private property in an act of defiance and more visible than before.

"You know one person tried to erase it," O'Donnell resident, Kathy Grant said . "One group, what was it, the Freedom From Religion that sent the letter to our superintendent saying that we had to take it down? Good luck with that, it's now permanent."

Tommy Woolam owns the cotton gin in O'Donnell. He said when he found out the school was removing the mural he and many others were upset and decided something needed to be done.

"One of our farmers sitting in our office on a Monday morning after this said, well on private property we can put up a sign and do whatever we want," Woolam said. "So that started this whole thing."

He and his supporters erected the metal sign with the Ten Commandments on private property across the street from the high school for everyone to see. 

He said when word spread, money and support started to flow in.

"I've gotten calls from Odessa, Houston, from South Texas," he said. "We've received checks from a lot of places I was not expecting, but I've not received one negative thought or comment."

Nearly $5,000 has been raised to day with more on the way. 

Woolam said at the end of the day they turned a negative into a positive and whoever complained made all this possible.

"Fortunately we don't know who that is and we probably never will and it's ok," he said. "They kind of woke this community up and made us realize what's important. So all I can say to them is thank you."

Any money left over after paying for the sign will go into a ten commandments scholarship.

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