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Sprint begins toward new Mt. Juliet Senior facility

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Outgoing six-year Mt. Juliet Senior Activity Center Executive Director Linda McClanahan addresses over 160 attendees at her gala. She revealed fundraising plans and rendering of proposed new center. Submitted
A rendering of the proposed center. Courtesy of Sam Anderson
Developer Harold Sutton with former Mt. Juliet mayor Jenny Bess Hibbett. Sutton's wife was the center's first director 38 years ago. Hibbett worked with the couple in the early days. Photo courtesy Linda McClanahan

Gala jumpstarts official fundraising campaign

Friday night was a powerful moment for the Mt. Juliet Senior Activity Center with a gala to kick off their capital campaign to raise $2.5 million dollars for a new building.

It took place at Victory Baptist Church and more than 160 people came to celebrate the kick off and fundraiser that was $25 a ticket. In addition to a presentation of the new building, six-year Executive Director Linda McClanahan passed the baton to Tanya Graham, and there was a special recognition of Harold Sutton, the husband of the center's first director, Beverly Sutton, 38 years ago.

"Membership to the center has grown to over 700, and the need for a new facility is urgent," McClanahan said.

She introduced her campaign cabinet members at the event.

"I am excited to be able to work on the fundraising full-time now and I have a lot of faith in Tanya Graham and know that the center will be in good hands under her leadership," McClanahan said.

The outgoing director took to the podium and described how the center began 38 years ago under the leadership of Beverly Sutton. Sutton told McClanahan how Charlie Daniels and his wife Hazel helped Beverly prepare meals for the seniors. McClanahan noted Daniels has agreed to attend a meet-and-greet event in the future in support of the campaign. Also in attendance was long-time Mt. Juliet citizen and former mayor Jennie Bess Hibbett who worked with Beverly in the early days.

A chart was shown, designed to show the progress of the campaign with over $32,000 already raised by the center members.

Last year's gala recognized developer Darrel Crawford and his family whom donated land for the new center. The location is on the property just south of the current center on the south side of the Church of Christ.

McClanahan revealed to The Wilson Post the reason she stepped down as director. She has until June 17, 2017, to raise the $2.5 million, or the land must be returned.

"I am retiring as center director so I can work on the Capital Campaign full time," she said. "$2.5 million is a lot of money to raise, and I really need to focus on that full time if I am to meet the goal. It has been such an honor to serve as the center director. I will miss the daily interaction with the seniors. My plan is to complete the campaign so I can return as a member and enjoy all of the wonderful programs of the center."

Local architect Sam Anderson's rendering of the proposed center was revealed. The layout portrays the center with all of its current spaces doubled in size. It includes a separate room for exercise and a grand multi-purpose room that could hold 250 people for an event such as the gala. McClanahan described the entrance to the atrium and a large donor wall that will list the names of $1,000-plus donors.

Pledge forms are available for anyone in the community.

"We welcome ideas for fundraising," McClanahan said. "Anyone wishing to serve as a volunteer should contact me at (615) 758-9114. I'm available to speak to community groups, churches, business, corporations, service clubs and individuals."

Writer Laurie Everett can be contacted at laurieeverett1@gmail.com.

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benefit, campaign, fundraiser, Mt. Juliet, Mt. Juliet Senior Center, senior citizens
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