Aug. 2—Staff report
Tears & smiles were evident from the crowd during a very well-deserved ceremony that was held in honor and appreciation of Grady County educator and supporter of the Jackie Robinson Boys & Girls Club-Mrs. Grace M. Stallings. On July 27, club members, staff, JRBGC Board of Directors, Marguerite Neel Williams Organization CEO-Lee Wagner, Mayor Booker Gainor, Linda Drew Johnson-Vice President|Chief Technology Officer|Marketing-United National Bank, Grady County Board of Commissioners, City Councilmen, Grady County Superintendent-Eric MacFee, Grady County City Manager-Julian Brown, Jennifer Jarvis-Executive Director/Chamber of Commerce, Alyssa Blakely-Director of Marketing/Main Street/DDA, former Grady Co. Superintendent-Dr. Kermit Gilliard, special guests-Patricia Tootle & Peggy Crew and a host of other family and friends gathered at the club for this very special occasion. The club was arrayed in red/black balloons by Miss Myrt's, courtesy of Debbie Miller. The guests enjoyed food catered by Dwalla Harrell of Simply Southern Catering. The ceremony began with a prayer by Board member-Michael Best and a welcome by founding board member-Charles Renaud. It was continued with Board President-Amy Hagan thanking the community for their continued support of the JRBGC and its fundraising efforts. Throughout the ceremony, Mrs. Grace was presented with a gift basket made by Annell's Flower Shop and awards by I CAN Trophies and Awards (Selena). The club's Art Class, led by JRBGC Youth Development Professional- Jahniyah Mills made signs in honor of Mrs. Grace and her service to the club. The picture collages were made by JRBGC Board President-Amy Hagan and a poem read and written by JRBGC Director-Stephen Francis. "There is only one Mrs. Grace," says JRBGC Director-Stephen Francis. "She has a heart of gold and can give you a pat on the back or a kick in the rear end, it all depends on what is needed in the moment to get you going to serve these children. Over many years now, Mrs. Grace has volunteered her personal time coming by the club to speak with the children from time to time and is present at JRBGC functions. She has been instrumental in the academic achievement and moral support of our club. She has supported in many ways, investing in the success of this club. Mrs. Grace has never desired any type of recognition or reward because she understands that her reward is doing the will of God and giving HIM all the praise. We all just wanted to show her just how much we appreciate her labor of love" Francis went on to say.
The grand finale to the ceremony was about 100 club members circling around the game room area and passing by Mrs. Grace, each dropping a personal hand-written note in a basket given to her as they said "Thank You" while she patiently hugged every last one of them. This was immediately followed by a standing ovation and unveiling of one of Mrs. Grace's favorite quotes, placed high up on the wall inside the club's game room area. It reads: To Catch A Dream Is Always With A Leap"
"It's all about making an impact with these children, " Mrs. Grace said. Jesus loves the little children — All the children of the world -Red and yellow, black and white-They are precious in His sight- Jesus loves the little children of the world" Mrs. Grace concluded, quoting the lyrics to a popular children's song!