Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership McMinnville class of 2019 has split $1,184 between two local efforts that seek to benefit the community.
The donation will help support two projects being undertaken at old Bernard School, restoration of its gymnasium and creation of a Black History Museum of Warren County, Tennessee. These are two new endeavors.
“This is money we ended up with after the Autumn Street Fair,” said Pipi Flanders, Leadership McMinnville president. “Anything over a certain amount we get to decide who we want to donate that money to. This year we decided we wanted to go with some nonprofits that maybe weren’t as recognized in the community as others. These two organizations stood out.”
Jason Pitts, Leadership chairman, agreed.
“We are happy to help out these two organizations,” he said. “Both are worthy of our support, and we wish them the best in their efforts.”
Undertaking the restoration is Young Men United.
“We are in the process of cleaning the grounds and the inside of the building,” said Donald Crisp, president of Young Men United. “We have to clean before we can move the organization into the building and begin restoration. We’ll be working from the basement up. We greatly appreciate this donation.”
Once the building is renovated it will be opened to the public and used for recreational, educational and social purposes.
Wayne Wolford, with assistance from a board of directors, is spearheading the museum.
“This is our first donation for the project,” said Wolford, curator of the museum. “I’m really excited to receive it, especially after receiving the electric bill today. In order to keep the doors open, you have to have funds. This is a beginning for us. We’ll open up a bank account and hopefully open up other avenues for funding this endeavor.”
Board of directors: president Marvin Lusk, vice president Jeffrey Martin, treasurer Helen Martin, secretary Rachel Killebrew, historian Cheryl Mingle, James “Mickey” Gwyn, Steve Nowlin, Wally Bigbee, Phyllis Nowlin, Roy Curtis, Curtis Strode, Michele Strode and Michael Harris.
The museum will be located inside the small building behind the gym. Originally, it was used as the swimming pool’s dressing rooms.
McMinnville officials recently leased the property to Young Men United for 20 years.