With Santa dropping by, a Christmas tree give-away, and a place to purchase both holiday snacks and gifts, those attending enjoyed many aspects of the holiday season. A sneak peak at the nearly completed library was a main draw for many who dropped by, but it was the spirit of giving that dominated the event.
Friends of McIver's Grant Public Library joined with the family of Dr. and Mrs. Don Connell to raise additional funds for the library's children's department at the open house. Several initiatives offered at the party helped to aid the Connell children in their desire to have the children's department named in honor of their parents.
The Kiwanis Kids Corner -- designed with children from birth to age 3 in mind -- has already been established within the children's department. The Kiwanis Club's Duck Blast Dinner recently raised funds for the organization's second significant donation to the library.
The goal of the Connell Foundation is to raise an additional $200,000 to benefit the children's department by the library's grand opening.
Volunteers counted between 200 and 300 residents attending the open house.
Thanks to an artistic donation by DeAnn McDowell, residents attending the event were also able to send personal messages to the Connells on a giant Christmas card. Others shared personal stories and memories with Charlene Connell White and other family members attending the event.
Carol Harris said combining the Connell name with the children's department of the library is a natural fit.
"I have been passionate about this library project since the beginning," said Harris. "It has been my life for the past 5-1/2 years. When the Connell children came to us about naming the children's department, I haven't felt that much excitement since I began the project. Dr. Connell was such an important person in our community -- he has given so much. My goal is really two-fold now: to get the library built for the community and to help the Connells raise that money. He has impacted so many lives. I just hope people will remember what a positive and powerful force both he and his wife were in this area. I hope the community will really step forward and help."
At Saturday's open house, many crafts and baked goods were on sale. Sarah Rice Miller also won a cake, with Steve Walker winning a fully decorated Christmas tree. All proceeds will go directly to the children's department of the new library facility.