By Terry Harris
In celebration of its 100th birthday, Lowe's launched a 100 Hometowns initiative in March to complete 100 impact projects this year as part of a $10 million commitment to give back to the communities Lowe's serves. On July 20, Mayor Angela McPhaul could barely speak from excitement as she revealed that out of the 2,200 towns across America that had competed for the significant grants to be awarded as part of the project, one of the 100 winners was none other than Waverly, Virginia!
“I am shocked and surprised and elated that out of thousands of applications we were selected!” McPhaul exclaimed. “This is just amazing!”
“Back in April I heard about 100 hometown grants Lowe’s was giving out and I decided to take a chance,” she explained. “You had to write a project description – what the project was, who in the town it would benefit. I immediately thought of a conversation with one of the SCYMACs (Sussex County Young Men’s Athletic Club) who came to me last year and told me we were the only field in the areas we play that did not have a scoreboard.”
In fact, the situation was much worse than just not having a scoreboard, as the entire facility was badly in need of repairs due to the 2016 tornado. As McPhaul explained, all of that is about to change when the home of the Waverly Warriors Baseball Team, the annual Town of Waverly Christmas Parade, the Health Festival following the annual Faith Unleashed Cancer Walk and, historically, the NFL Punt, Pass and Kick Competition and more, will receive a major overhaul thanks to a significant grant from Lowe’s.
“They got thousands of apps from all over the country,” she said, and we were informed awhile back that they had shortlisted us. So SCYMACs President, Phillip Perry and I got together and worked up a presentation about how important the facility was to our community and how badly the revitalization was needed after all the tornado damage. Then we had an opportunity to go together to share the presentation with a Lowe’s representative. Then – we waited.”
While Lowe’s is not releasing the dollar amounts of any of the 100 individual grants, McPhaul said, “They are going to repave the basketball court and put in two goals, repair the concession stands and two bathrooms, put in a new scoreboard and install all new fencing around the field – all paid for by Lowe’s!”
To kick off the project, McPhaul explained, Lowe’s representatives will come to Waverly for a big Red Vest Day one Tuesday in August, when community citizens are invited to do their part.
“They do ask that participating communities have some ‘skin in the game’, she said, “so the Town of Waverly will provide Waste Management Dumpsters for one day which they will announce soon. Then local volunteers will come in and rip out all the old fencing before they start the new as our volunteer part of the project. Schultz Lawnscapes from Waverly has already agreed to provide volunteers as well as Sheriff Giles with his department, the Sussex County Chamber of Commerce, and, of course, The Town of Waverly Public Works. Anyone who wants to participate by volunteering can call the Town Hall to get on the list at 804-834-2330.”
Every 100 Hometowns project is expected to be completed by the end of this year, and progress from each project can be seen on social media via #100Hometowns.
“We are inspired by the nationwide response to 100 Hometowns, which brought people from all across the country to share with us their remarkable stories and hope for how their community might be made a little better,” said Marvin R. Ellison, Lowe's chairman and CEO. “Lowe’s has been dedicated to improving homes, and hometowns, since its founding in 1921, and we look forward to continuing to do so for the next 100 years.”
Mayor McPhaul said that she is particularly excited because the project will take place just one block off of downtown.
“This is another piece of the revitalization of downtown we’ve all been working on,” she added. “Another piece of the puzzle for encouraging people to come here and a way to provide more activities and events for adults and children of all ages to enjoy – a beautiful new sports park.”