By Thomas Sellers Jr.
As a constant downpour greeted Millington Saturday morning, the rain didn’t stop the steady flow of traffic to see the new-look Millington Crisis Center.
The 31-year-old organization has served the needy and disenfranchise of Flag City under the leadership of Lois Wilber for almost 30 years. In January Wilber announced her retirement and the Crisis Center’s Board of Directors selected community activist Debra Sigee to take the Center in a new direction.
“January 10 was the first day I walked up in here,” new Crisis Center Director Sigee said. “They thought it would take about March to get it all done. But I know as cold as it has been, people need help with their utility bills. I told them we would have it open by the middle of February. I’m happy that we were able to meet that goal.
“And I have Patricia to thank for the decoration and renovations,” she added. “All credit goes to Patricia Warner. She came with the decorations, color scheme and all the furniture we have was a donation.”
The furniture in the lobby and offices of the Crisis Center located at 8133 Wilkinsville Road was donated by Van Chaney Jr. in honor of his late mother LaKeasha who passed away last June.
Warner will serve as assistant director bringing years of Crisis Center experience serving with Wilber. Her connections and knowledge of operation, combined with Sigee’s business resources, grant writing and social networking was the ideal new direction Board Chairman Mike Caruthers wanted to see.
The rest of the Crisis Center Board consists of Alice Galloher, Renee Jones, Cody Childress and Racquel Collins.
The renovations were made possible by Bill House, Danny Sparks, Travis Price, Carol Smith, Rickie Sanders and Rod Ware. The staff joining Sigee and Warner will be administrative assistant Sharon Bowie and thrift store clerk Raven Warner.
The thrift store will be one of the new features at the Crisis Center. The money raised by items sold will go to benefit the Center. The Center will announce the Thrift Store Day to run regularly in the near future.
NSA Mid-South is also on board participating in community service through the Crisis Center.
“Fantastic Fourth Friday, a group of sailors are going to be volunteering to do yard work, clean-up for individuals who need it,” Sigee noted.
Area churches are a part of the transition with St. William, First United Methodist, West Union Cumberland and Millington First Baptist with Arlene and Charles Lorimer.
As the resources grow for the Crisis Center, Sigee’s vision continues to come to fruition. Her study of the past operations determined 90 percent of the Center’s visitors need utility and rent help. The rest are in need of baby items that she has onsite like pampers and formula.
Sigee said the Center welcomes the donations of diapers and other infant items. Millington Central High School will make a donation as part of a class project this month.
Sigee said the word is already getting out to help the Crisis Center meet one of its mission statements of bridging the gap with families, churches and community.
“We want to see that mission fulfilled,” she said. “That’s the reason why we reached out to different church like West Union who has a clothing space. The city has been very helpful. We have to thank the city of Millington for coming to clean and scrub out the driveway. The city of Millington has donated us this building.
“What we would like to see is somebody who will see the vision of what this place can do in Millington donate us a bigger building to where we can really down the line be an epicenter for folks who can use all kinds of help,” Sigee added. “We want to help them get a better quality of life. That’s the ultimate goal because a lot of facilities run out of money and can’t help people. I want to help us also be the kind of service who has job listing if you need another job.”
Sigee said workshops will be conducted on site and people will be educated on how to better their lives for more than a season.
“Bringing the gap of family, church and community,” she concluded. “We’re giving you a hand out, but we’re offering you a hand up.”
Get updates at the Crisis Center Facebook page, Millington Crisis Center 38053. For more information, call 872-4357 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The mailing address is P.O. Box 1541, Millington, TN 38083. The Center’s operating hours are Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
By Thomas Sellers Jr.