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Noel Fenderson, one of the founders of My Town Miracles, tells a story from Mark Allen, the group’s growth marketing secretary.
“There’s a son and father walking down the beach and millions of starfish are everywhere, and the son takes a starfish and throws it in the ocean. The dad says ‘what are you doing? You can’t save them all?’ They son says, ‘saved that one.’”
The Greater Memphis area has more beached starfish than any one group can save, so this group chooses to “love on” those it can help, said Richard McClure, a member of the My Town Miracles advisory board.
The 501(c) 3 gets its name from My Town Movers, a Collierville-based local and long-distance moving company that has expanded into lawn, garden, roofing and renovation services.
“Our goal is, we serve you so well you refer a friend,” Fenderson said.
When it comes to their latest nonprofit enterprise, he wants to downplay the story of moving and renovation. My Town Miracles was born in December 2015 and unlike many other charities that focus on a large cause, this group chooses to work with a family or individual.
“We all see the person under the bridge,” McClure said. “We don’t know who they are, but we know they didn’t get there overnight and they can’t get out from under the bridge overnight. We need to learn their story.”
So the group seeks to learn the stories of those in need. Help could involve partnering with another organization to learn job skills, break alcohol and drug addictions, or get the person reunited with estranged family members. Each situation can be unique, but the ultimate goal is to empower the one being helped so he or she can help themselves for years to come.
My Town Miracles looks for opportunities to serve throughout the Mid-South, not just in its hometown of Collierville. The group started from the premise of “Life, liberty, learning and last days.”
“Beginning of life issues include everything from birth of a child to adoption,” McClure said. “Liberty is trying to break the chains of drug and alcohol addictions. Learning is trying to get that individual who may be under-skilled or underemployed gainfully employed back into the workforce. Last days has to do with our seniors, and an example is those in hospice care.”
“Do for one what you wish you could do for many,” is what board member Andy Savage told McClure. Savage is a pastor from Highpoint Church, which Fenderson and his family attend. Another member of their congregation is Kristen Hachtel, an occupational therapist, who is working with 3-year-old Paisley Alexander of Hernando, Miss. The connections led the group to their first “miracle.”
Paisley was born with a rare medical condition, Schwartz-Jampel syndrome, which manifests with a form of dwarfism and spinal issues. It will require numerous surgeries. Her mother, Stacy Alexander, had to quit her job after Paisley was born because of the constant medical visits to get therapy, even trips to a specialist in Wilmington, Del. The Alexanders also have a 6-year-old son, Carter, and husband Rusty became the sole source of income.
Read the complete article at Memphis Daily News.