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Mannford School Honors Heroes With Homecoming Celebration

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It was all smiles in Mannford, as purple pirates of all ages marched through town for the annual homecoming parade. It was all smiles in Mannford, as purple pirates of all ages marched through town for the annual homecoming parade.
This was the scene in Mannford just a little over a month ago: Flames destroyed hundreds of homes. This was the scene in Mannford just a little over a month ago: Flames destroyed hundreds of homes.
This year's homecoming theme is "Heroes," in honor of the hundreds of first responders, who risked their lives during the fires. This year's homecoming theme is "Heroes," in honor of the hundreds of first responders, who risked their lives during the fires.
MANNFORD, Oklahoma -

For the first time since 400 families saw their homes wiped out by wildfires, folks in Mannford have something to celebrate.

Homecoming is always a special night for students, but, for so many, Mannford's homecoming Friday night was special for many other reasons.

It was all smiles in Mannford, as purple pirates of all ages marched through town for the annual homecoming parade.

"It was really good. I think our people are excited and cheering and I think it's a good thing," sad Mannford football coach Eddy Scott.

It's a different sight now than it was a month ago, when hundreds of residents were battling wildfires.

8/6/2012 Related Story: As Many As 47 Mannford Students Lost Their Homes To Wildfires

More than 400 homes were destroyed and dozens of students started the school year with nothing.

Isaac Cook is a varsity football player.

On his family's land sits a sign of support, burned memories and a camper, which is serving as the Cooks' temporary home.

"I was out of town and then came back and it was gone," Cook said. "It was just kind of crazy and I didn't know what was going on and stuff."

Jaci Lawless is a football trainer and a sophomore at Mannford High School.

Like Cook, her home also went up in flames.

"Everything was completely gone. You see nothing, and we had lived there for 11 years, so that's my childhood. That's where I lived. Everything I had was in there," Lawless said.

8/13/2012 Related Story: Community Rallies To Support Mannford School Staff, Students After Fires

Despite the many stories of tragedy, kids in Mannford say they are remaining focused on the positive.

This year's homecoming theme is "Heroes," in honor of the hundreds of first responders, who risked their lives during the fires.

"We rode on a fire truck because our theme is ‘Heroes' this year, so to us the firemen, they're really our heroes, and that's how we really wanted to let them know that," Lawless said.

Cook said Mannford's homecoming night was a special night, not in spite of, but because of the hardship the town has faced.

"It means a little bit more to us, and I think it is different," he said. "Everybody's come together and helped us out and stuff, and it made it a lot better."

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