Mayfield and Graves County business and government leaders collaborated this year to develop a permanent home for the Community Christmas Connection. They gathered recently to celebrate the achievement and dedicate the facility.
The CCC is a joint program the Graves County and Mayfield Independent school districts have conducted more than a decade. Parents of families in financial need may earn credits by taking parenting and budgeting classes. They can spend credits in the CCC store on their children for Christmas.
The city and county governments this year donated a vacant building, located at 329 E. South Street in Mayfield, as the store’s permanent location. Graves County Restricted Custody Center officials supervised inmates with construction experience, who volunteered their time and labor. Local businesses donated materials.
“It’s been a community effort,” said Sedalia Family Resource Center director Mike Duncan. “A year and a half ago, the City of Mayfield was kind enough to donate the building. Then, Independence Bank contacted us, wanting to be involved in renovating this building. They since have gotten lots of people and businesses involved. We’ve had so many donations; so many people have been so generous and we’re grateful for their support.”
“We’re just proud to be a part of this,” said Graves County Judge-Executive Jesse Perry. “We’re very appreciative of Jim Smith Contracting for donating the paving here, too.”
“Six or eight months ago, we were at the bank in a planning meeting,” said Independence Bank Mayfield Branch president Darvin Towery. “Christy Puckett (Graves County Schools director of pupil personnel) made me aware of this building. I told our group there’s a building over on South Street. We can make a donation or go out and round up support for it. Haley Cook said, ‘I’ll do it. We need to help them.’ There’s nobody Haley or I called to ask for a donation, who didn’t say yes.”
Towery called Graves County Jailer George Workman, asking for workers. The jailer replied, “We’re going to find a way to make it work.’” Duncan and Deputy Jailer Eddie Robertson worked with and supervised restricted custody center workers who volunteered throughout the summer. Robertson noted the workers had previous construction experience and took a personal interest in the project. One even continued working on the project after his release. Another received a job offer from a contributing business.
“We have some very talented and hard-working individuals (incarcerated) who are trying to get their lives right,” said Workman. “Hopefully, this will help them in rebuilding their paths, getting back on their feet, and doing a good thing for people afterwards. We’re always striving to do different things to help these people rebuild their lives.”
Puckett expressed pride that Mayfield-Graves County Area Technology Center students also contributed labor, adding, “What better community service project can you do than that?” She explained, “The real partnership we’re celebrating here is our community. All the contents in this building, countless people have donated. Today is about celebrating this facility and the people who made this happen, but the store wouldn’t happen without the people helping to put contents in it for families. We’re grateful to everyone involved.”
“I’m excited about this project,” said Mayfield Superintendent Joe Henderson. “It’s just great when both school districts and the whole community come together for the betterment of our students.”
“This was a community effort,” Towery concluded. “I personally want to thank all of you, all who did this work because it’s good for the community and this Christmas store if very much needed.”
Contributors to refurbishing the Community Christmas Connection house pictured here, from left, include Graves County Restricted Custody Center employee Eddie Robertson (who supervised inmate-workers), Graves County Judge-Executive Jesse Perry (Graves County and Mayfield city government donated the house), Graves County Jailer George Workman (whose office provided volunteer workers), Concept to Completion business owner Brian Reed (whose company installed roofing), Independence Bank Mayfield Branch president Darvin Towery (whose team led organizing the project), C&W Lumber Co. co-owner Hillary Clapp (whose company donated sheet rock), Dairyman’s Supply Co. representative Greg Cook (whose company donated roofing and flooring materials), Independence Bank representative Haley Cook (a project organizer), Myers Lumber Co. owner and Mayfield City Councilman (also representing Mayor Kathy O’Nan) Phil Myers (whose company donated building materials), and Elite Air owners Cory and Kelly Chapman (whose company donated HVAC equipment).
School officials pictured at the introduction of the new home of the Community Christmas Connection include, from left, Graves County Central Elementary family resource center director Jeanann Davenport, Sedalia FRC director Mike Duncan, GCMS youth services center director Jean Ann Miller, Mayfield Independent Schools director of pupil personnel Gavin Thompson, Mayfield Elementary FRC director Lori Beyer, Mayfield Superintendent Joe Henderson, Graves County Superintendent Matthew Madding, Wingo FRC director Tana Jones, Graves County director of pupil personnel Christy Puckett, and Lowes/Fancy Farm FRC director Stacy Harris.