ETX family honors 'Mallory's Heart' and vision in new foundation - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

ETX family honors 'Mallory's Heart' and vision in new foundation


Mallory Norrell's family knew she was called to be a missionary since she was in the first grade.

And it was that call that has sustained them since she died in December 2010.

It's led them to start the foundation Mallory's Heart to continue the work she started in a village in El Ealvador.

"She was by no means a perfect child, as none of us are perfect people. But her call was real to her," says her mother, Marcelyn Norrell. "She left us so much to work with, and that's what I really appreciate about her. She lived her call."

"She had told us she wanted to start a foundation. And matter of fact, I don't remember if it was a day or 2 days later, I told Marcy, you know we've got to do this foundation because that's what she wanted," says her father, Gary. "This is not a dream of ours, you know. We didn't at the time feel like it was a call of ours. But when all this happened, and we knew what Mallory wanted to do, we knew that we had to carry it on."

Gary and Marcelyn Norrell knew what Mallory would have wanted because, the summer before she died, they had talked about her starting a foundation using her photography.

"She said, I want to sell my photographs for $5 a piece. And I said, OK. But she knew how far $5 would go in El Salvador," says Marcelyn.

The family started Mallory's Heart Foundation last year in the village of Comasagua. They feed 50 local children two meals a week, build retaining walls to protect the village from devastating rains, and are currently sending a young man named Raul to university on a scholarship. They hope to continue sending one student to university every year.

"Her heart was not to make them be like her. Her heart was to help them to be everything God wanted them to be in their country," says Marcelyn.

The family is open to having the foundation expand and grow as time sees fit.

"The only way I know how to honor her is to just keep going, to keep the foundation growing in any way possible," says her brother Jordan. "If that means moving to another country other than El Salvador, we'll do that. If not, we'll stay there."

And Jordan, this is his special way to keep Mallory's legacy alive through the work she loved.

"I kind of hope that one day when people think of nonprofit organizations, they'll think of Mallory's Heart up there with Susan G. Komen and Salvation Army, the things that people normally think about when you hear nonprofit organization," he says.

The Norrell family says they know Mallory would be proud that her vision is reaching so many people -- more than she could have ever imagined or done on her own.

"Our life changed that night, and this is part of that change. But this is the healing part. This is the part the Lord's given us to keep Mallory alive," Marcelyn says.

Mallory's family has taken their mission from a paper she wrote for a college project shortly before she passed away.

She said, in part, of her calling to what she called the more run down places, "my hope is that people can see that part of the world in a different light rather than as useless and hideous. There is exquisiteness in everything; however most are overlooked."

If you'd like to get involved in Mallory's Heart immediately, there's a golf tournament going on at Twin Lakes Golf Course in Canton on Friday, March 30th. There are still spots available to play in that.

And for more information on Mallory, on her foundation, and on how you can help, visit

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