The 2018-19 class of Leadership Hopkinsville-Christian County is fundraising and planning a restoration project for the Trail of Tears Commission, but the group of 24 local professionals is asking for community donations and helping hands for the undertaking that must be completed by the class graduation in May.

"We are passionate about supporting the mission of the Trail of Tears Commission," states the group's fundraising letter. "We are eager to put our personal stamp on improving several maintenance and repair projects as well as having a beautification committee for the property."

The group decided to dedicate the class project to the Trail of Tears because it is solely run by volunteers and its only fundraiser is the annual powwow.

"They try to utilize the powwow as their only fundraiser, but it's been in the red for the past few years," said project co-chair Robin Tabor. "This is our way of giving back, and it's something the whole community can participate in."

Tabor and class project co-chair Bill Pyle are leading the charge to replace all the lights in the cabin where the Trail of Tears museum is housed, clean up the display cases and spruce up the outdoor landscaping, among other updates.

Pyle, who is deputy chief at Hopkinsville Fire Department, said the Leadership class is partnering with Cayce Mill Supply and the Tennessee Valley Authority to put in new LED lights at the display cases.

"It's going to provide better lighting and cost savings on the utilities," he noted.

Tabor, who is director of membership and fundraising at the Christian County Chamber of Commerce, said the group is partnering with the city of Hopkinsville to replace the concrete steps leading into the cabin as well as fundraising for other concrete work on the lot.

"The city does their part keeping this place up, but it needs help and that's where we step in," Tabor said.

The first fundraising effort is the option to purchase a boxed lunch from Four Seasons Catering for $8 by Monday. Lunches will include a sandwich, wrap or salad, chips, pasta salad and dessert. Lunches will be available for pickup from the chamber of commerce between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. March 8. Orders of 10 or more can be delivered.

Orders can be placed by emailing Danielle Grace, fundraising chair, at danielle@thesanctuaryinc.com, or by calling 270-963-2573.

Monetary donation levels range from $100 to $2,000, and donors who give $1,000 or more will have their names displayed on a plaque mounted at the Trail of Tears property.

Tabor said no donation is too small, noting that $20 goes a long way toward the overall project. Donations can be made with Leadership class member Antonio Rodriguez at BB&T on Fort Campbell Boulevard.

Pyle said the goal is to keep the Trail of Tears Commission afloat but also to spruce up the property by adding mulch and flowers to the landscaping and to repair the picnic tables. Helping hands, he said, will be needed once they plan clean-up days in the spring.

"It's really a great park. You've got the playground, the disc golf, and a lot of people go out their to eat their lunch," he said. "You can spend a whole day out there."

For more information about the class project or the program, follow "Hopkinsville Leadership" on Facebook.

Reach Zirconia Alleyne at 270-887-3243 or zalleyne@kentuckynewera.com.

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