The family of Marcus Simmons have prepared a special celebration for Killeen and surrounding communities to join in on Jan. 21 on Smile Like Marcus Day.
Marcus Simmons passed away from Sickle Cell complications in 2009, but what many people remember is his smile. In addition to his service in the U.S. Air Force, Marcus was a bus driver for the Copperas Cove Independent School District in the years before he died. Students and teachers also remember his smile.
“It was contagious,” Dominique Simmons said. “And, that’s one of the reasons his story should be shared.”
The ‘Smile Like Marcus’ ministry originally came from his brother.
Dominique sustained a fall in April, 2022 and had to quit his job teaching photography in Keller. While he was recovering from a broken hip, he found himself with lots of idle time on his hands. It was during that time that he began to remember all the time spent with Marcus and tried to work through his grief over losing his best friend.
“It came to me, rather God put it on my heart, to celebrate the amazing person Marcus was and I wanted to share that with the world,” Dominique said. In the days that followed, the idea to use his skills as a photographer and to “tell Marcus’ story” became so intense, Dominique began to write about it. During that time, it occurred to him that everyone has a story and a smile. And, that was it.
On the webpage www.SmileLikeMarcus.com there are 100 interviews with photos of individuals Dominique talked to and shared a smile with. Those stories are poignant and heart-warming and include many Killeen, Cove and Heights individuals. Everyone had a story and a smile.
Marcus Simmons Day was developed and now, together with his mom Gwen and dad, Edward “Terrell” Simmons the public is invited to attend this delightful event.
“We plan to celebrate anyone who is born in the month of January,” Dominique said. “Fill out the registration on our webpage and we will celebrate all of you on Jan. 21.”
The date was decided because Marcus was born on Jan. 20, 1982. And, his diagnosis of Sickle Cell came two years later, when he was just a baby. The family would like to remember Marcus’ smile and has put together a “birthday” celebration for the entire community.
Beginning at 11 a.m., the Killeen Special Events Center at 2201 S. W. S. Young Drive will come alive with games and activities for the whole family.
“He was a family man who loved his community,” Dominique said. “There will be competitions, live performances and plenty of vendors during Marcus Simmons Day.”
There will be bounce houses, food trucks, a blood drive hosted by Carter BloodCare, a mini petting zoo, an art bus, a game truck, a cake competition, a cheer competition, a makeup competition and more.
“This will be a day of love, a day to have fun and a day to smile,” Dominique said.
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