Day 12: Tupelo, Mississippi and The Key to the City

By Kirk Lyman-Barner,
Director of US Field Operations

When my daughter Grace found out I was heading towards Tupelo, she sent a text to me, “Did you remember your key to the city so you can get in?”

She was referring to the key that was presented to us by the city officials, in April of this year, as we held a church rally to launch the first project by  Lee Pontotoc Fuller Center for Housing.

Well, I didn’t bring my key, but I didn’t need one.  I found out that our local founder George Pritchard was the only key I needed.  Traveling around with George takes a while because everyone knows and loves George.  No matter where he takes me, to Elvis Presley’s home, a local bank, or a restaurant, people come up to warmly great “Brother George.” 

Today’s visit gave me the opportunity to see the first project they completed which was a new roof for a home owned by two elderly women.  He shared with me that he has two more Greater Blessing repair projects lined up and his board is in the process of raising the funds for the materials.

We chatted about the possibility of hosting a build site in March 2013 for the Bike Adventure riders who will be coming through town on the Natchez Trace Parkway.  We visited Renasant Bank Branch Manager Fred Cook who serves as the Vice President of the local group and we talked about opportunities to work with the Federal Home Loan Bank’s veterans program and finding bank owned foreclosed properties so Tupelo can participate in the Fuller Center’s  Save A House – Make A Home initiative.

At lunch, I visited with board member Marvin Jones who purchased George’s three insurance agencies.  We had great fun talking shop and I started to realize that one of George’s greatest strengths is that he surrounds himself with great people.

Before I headed out of town towards Lanett, we made one more stop to visit social worker Stephanie Stubbs who serves as their local board secretary.  Stephanie was putting on the final touches of a media campaign to welcome Fuller Center cofounder and President David Snell this weekend as he will be in town to help dedicate their first house.

One more night on the road and one more fantastic stop before this 13 day journey comes to an end.   Thanks again for coming along for the ride!

You can see more photos from the journey here.

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