Everything you love about Mansfield started with a few people stepping up - getting involved - making things happen. The fireworks show, parades, parks - all of it started with a small group of passionate people. Chances are Lucretia Mills was one of those people."
Those comments, made by Mansfield City Manager Clayton Chandler, were said in honor of the late Lucretia Mills. During a special ceremony on July 15, the Mansfield Garden Club dedicated the Keep Mansfield Beautiful (KMB) gazebo, a passion of Lucretia's, in her honor.
"It's people like that, people like her, that have made Mansfield great," Chandler told the crowd attending.
Since Lucretia’s passing almost two years ago, the City has maintained the gazebo through KMB, but was hoping a civic organization might come forward to utilize the structure as a service project.
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It came together "organically," said Public Education Specialist for the city, Arianne Shipley.
"The Mansfield Garden Club - (MGC) was looking for a project and KMB was looking for an organization to help with the gazebo," Shipley said. "It came together at the perfect time."
So, for almost a year, the MGC has been caring for the gazebo which has stood since 1990 along Walnut Creek Drive.
"I felt it was important our club take care of the gazebo," Barbara Sissen, MGC president said. "So many organizations, so many city projects and so many individuals like myself have been touched by Lucretia and Gary Mills. I just cannot stress enough the impact she had on this community and these people."
She said she's proud the club has taken on the responsibility.
"Lucretia would be pleased to know it's being taken care of," Sissen added. "It was her baby."
Darryl Haynes, city councilman, said Lucretia was “special.”
"Without volunteers like Lucretia, Mansfield would be just another city," he said.
But it was Shipley that illustrated Lucretia's servant attitude.
"When I started with the city in 2009, Lucretia quickly became a mentor for me," Shipley said. "She helped me get to know many people in the community and learn about the history and culture of Mansfield."
She said Lucretia was always very passionate about Beautification Day which originated with the Mansfield Chamber's Women's Division.
"When the Women's Division could no longer continue the program, she reached out to me about working together to keep this biannual event," Shipley said. "So in 2013, Keep Mansfield Beautiful - (KMB) and the City sponsored the Beautification Day event. She was typically the first to volunteer and last to leave, even after her diagnosis."
Shipley said many of today's programs: TX SmartScape classes, household hazardous waste collection and Beautification Day, were first established/sponsored by KMB while she served in the early 2000's.
"She loved the gazebo on Walnut Creek Dr.," Shipley said. "She told me many stories of working with volunteers to maintain and decorate the gazebo for each holiday or season. She continued to maintain this local landmark up until she physically couldn't, or shouldn't have. Gary was always by her side to support her even if he knew she shouldn't be outside working that hard."
Shipley said through her words and actions Lucretia always made her feel like she had lived in Mansfield her entire life.
"She was never shy to work hard or make new friends," she said. "Her love and passion for this community were unique gifts that I hope I can continue that on her behalf."
Lance Winter: 817-390-7274
About the Mansfield Garden Club
The Mansfield Garden Club meets the second Tuesday of each month at Water Department Service Center located at 620 S. Wisteria St.
Meetings begin at 6 p.m. with a social visit followed by the meeting beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Ongoing project for the club are:
▪ Butterfly gardens between the Mansfield Activity Center and Library.
▪ Flowerbeds at the Water Department.
▪ Habitat for Humanity garden/yard.
▪ Third Thursday
Membership is just $25 annually; $30 for husband/wife combo. For more information visit their website at mansfieldgardenclub.org