School resource officers are used to responding to community needs.
Smyrna West SRO Jimmy Sanford knew he was stepping way outside his box of comfort but decided to help the Center for the Arts when he auditioned for the role of Hoke, the driver in “Driving Miss Daisy.”
With hearty laugh, the Murfreesboro native acknowledged he’d never acted before but landed the part. He had only two and one-half weeks to rehearse and learn his lines. His wife, Kimberly, thought he was crazy.
“Good Lord, what am I thinking?” Sanford thought at the time.
Award-winning actress Francine Berk, who played the role of Miss Daisy, encouraged him even though he didn’t learn his lines until the night before the debut last Friday.
“I was nervous that I was going to make a fool of myself by not knowing the lines,” Sanford said.
Teachers from Smyrna West supported Sanford by buying tickets to the play and watching his performance last weekend.
The play will be performed again at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights, Feb. 22 and 23, and the matinee at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Center for the Arts at 110 W. College St. in downtown Murfreesboro. Tickets are $13 for adults, $11 for students, seniors and the military and $9 for children ages 12 and under. People may obtain tickets by calling the Center at 904-2787 or on the web site at boroarts.org.
Center office manager Tim Smith, who plays the role of Daisy’s son, Boolie, said Sanford was doing great in learning the lines in three weeks.
Producers thought they would have to cancel the show because they couldn’t find an actor to portray Hoke.
“We’re very grateful for Jimmy for stepping up and doing this,” Smith said. “He’s doing a phenomenal job. We’ve had lots of compliments from people who have seen the show.”
Sanford said he saw parts of the movie when it was released originally. He put his own spin on the role.
In his role as an SRO, Sanford wanted to be known for helping students and the community.
“I figured I’d go outside the box,” Sanford said. “If you stay in your comfort zone, you’re not doing much.
“Would I do it again?” Sanford asked, then answered with a laugh. “Probably not.”