VAIDEN -- After going to the different Christmas parades in the surrounding towns and seeing all of the decorations and lights, Greta Purnell wanted the same thing for the Town of Vaiden.
“I would go to these Christmas parades and see all these lights, get back to Vaiden and there’s nothing. Just a nativity scene that someone volunteered to put up and a spotlight, that’s it,” Purnell said. “Kilmichael is a small town like we are. It’s smaller than Vaiden, and people go every year to see their lights. It doesn’t take much, why can’t Vaiden do that?”
She said she wanted to do something to help revitalize the town, so she decided to reboot the Vaiden Beautification Committee.
Purnell said she spoke with her co-worker and friend, Domonique Curry-McKinney, who told her that she and her mom, Laura, would be willing to help. With two more members on board, Purnell decided to get to work.
Purnell ran the idea by Mayor Mel Hawthorne and the board of aldermen, and they thought it was a great idea.
“He told me anyway that they could help to let them know,” she said.
Purnell said another resident, Sandra Hull, saw the empty flower bed under the ‘Welcome to the Town of Vaiden’ sign and filled the planter with her own money. She said Hull had no idea she had begun the beautification committee again until she was informed by Vaiden’s City Clerk Sonya Greenleaf.
“She told her about my idea to restart the beautification committee and she wanted to come aboard also,” Purnell said.
She said when Hull came aboard she told her friend who came aboard also. Now the beautification committee has nine people and members were gathered strictly by word of mouth.
The members meet at 6 p.m. every fourth Monday at Vaiden Town Hall.
“Most of our members work so we didn’t want to meet too long, and we don’t want to do anything on the weekends, we try to stay within the weekdays,” Purnell said
Purnell said right now members are asking the community for donations. She said they’re looking for flowers and decorative items to decorate during Vaiden’s fall festival and Christmas parade.
The big project the group has planned is sprucing up downtown to make it more attractive, the park and the grassy area between Highway 35 and Highway 51 where the two intersect in Vaiden.
Purnell, who’s from Black Hawk but has lived in Vaiden for 28 years, said she wanted to help make the place that she calls home more appealing.
“It may bring in more people, which helps our economy because they have to eat and buy gas,” Purnell said.