News and Updates
The Dusty Elam Foundation will this year be partnering with First Baptist Church in Manchester to host the first-ever “Dusty’s Dinner,” from 12 to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 25, providing a Thanksgiving meal to those in need in the area.
Coordinators have prepared for 600 people, and meals served will include Thanksgiving staples like turkey, dressing and cranberry sauce.
“We have food for 600 people,” said Chris Elam of the Dusty Elam Foundation. “You always hear about food baskets, and those are great, but our thing was, where can somebody go to get a hot meal? Some people in the community that we’ve met don’t even have electricity, so they can’t even prepare food. Our vision was, let’s prepare them a meal.”
The event is open to the public, and is first-come, first-served.
“Anyone can come,” Elam said. “Just show up and we’ll feed you. You can eat here or you can take it to go.”
Taylor Rayfield, a member of the Dusty Elam Foundation, said First Baptist Church was a perfect fit for the organization’s Thanksgiving outreach needs, and that the event is the perfect way to give back. When the foundation asked the church, Rayfield said, First Baptist jumped right on board.
“It’s a nice venue, it’s in a prime location right here in the middle of our community, and we also have a great congregation that’s always willing to partner with and get behind initiatives taking care of those in need,” Rayfield said. “It’s always humbling to see when we have things we want to do to help things in the community that folks like First Baptist Church immediately jump on board and say, ‘How can we help? How can we be a part of it?’”
Jake Dorak, associate pastor at First Baptist, said that when asked to help host the dinner, the answer from the church was an obvious one. Dorak gave all the credit to the Dusty Elam Foundation.
“We just have great respect for the Dusty Elam Foundation and what it does in our community, and as a church, we want to be a gift, so this was just a natural partnership on Thanksgiving,” Dorak said. “It came from [the foundation], and we were just glad that they considered us. We’re grateful they thought of us. We’re looking forward to being a part of this.”
Members of both organizations agreed that while it is good to provide support to those in need in other states and countries, it is important to pay attention to the need that exists in Coffee County.
“My heart is, I want what we’re doing in other places – when we send teams out to mission trips in other places – I want to make sure we’re still doing that in our own community,” said Dorak, who over the past year has helped coordinate Serve Coffee County out of First Baptist, an aid and ministry program that sends teams to local schools and neighborhoods. “I just want to make sure we’re making an impact right here.”
Elam said the key was for organizations to partner up on events like this one, to do more than any one organization could do alone. He added that the foundation hopes to continue this Thanksgiving dinner for years to come.
“We can do it together. It’s not so bad on all of us,” Elam said. “It’s two great things coming together to make what we hope will be a great day.”
Organizations who would like to be a part of the event and people who would like to volunteer may contact Chris Elam at (931) 273-3419.
origianl article at : http://www.manchestertimes.com/first-baptist-church-to-host-free-thanksgiving-dinner/
The Dusty Elam Foundation donated $5,000 to Coffee County Schools Family Resource Center’s Coffee County Student Expo Program. The expo is held to help students in need by providing them with school supplies, hygiene products, job fairs for their parents and other services.
“We are grateful for community partners like the Dusty Elam Foundation who continue to lookout for those without. We appreciate their continuous commitment to the students and families of Coffee County Schools,” said Taylor Rayfield, Coffee County Schools Family Resource Coordinator.
The Coffee County Student Expo will be held on Saturday, Aug. 5 for all Coffee County Schools students (Pre-K -12) in need. Rayfield said they anticipate to serve 500 students, providing them with a backpack, school supplies, new pair of shoes, hygiene products, haircut, as well as job fair for parents and community resources in conjunction with the Manchester Area Chamber of Commerce. Students must be pre-registered.
original story by: http://www.manchestertimes.com/first-baptist-church-to-host-free-thanksgiving-dinner/
It has been long road for Nick Trail, Manchester Times sports writer, to get his driver’s license. Longer, in fact, than it took to earn his master’s degree from the University of Tennessee.
Nick, 28, was born with cerebral palsy, a disease that has made things most people take for granted, difficult if not impossible.
Like driving to the store.
“It affects my fine motor skills, my walking, my speech,” he said.
His condition was caused by a lack of oxygen reaching his brain during childbirth.
His first few months, Nick spent at Vanderbilt University Medical Center with a myriad of medical conditions.
In his teen years, while all of his friends were learning to drive, he was mostly stuck home, relying on others for his transportation.
Moving into his professional life, Nick found life difficult without transportation.
“I used the campus shuttle [while at school],” Nick said. “Other than that, I relied on the kindness of friends.
“It’s like a burden has been lifted. I really felt bad asking people to come pick me up. It’s nice to know if I need to go somewhere, I can just get in the car and go.
“I really don’t know what I would do without the Dusty Elam Foundation,” he said.
The foundation, started by the Elam family, following Dusty Elam’s death, donated hand controls, which cost about $2,000, allowing Nick to learn to drive and then paid for the initial evaluation that gave him the go-ahead for driver training.
“We tried to go through the state and through Vocational Rehab for 12 years,” explained Nick.
“We just kept getting the runaround.
“Finally, we got in touch with the [foundation] and asked if they’d be willing to help out.”
The foundation is a charity that focuses mainly on assisting disadvantaged and special needs children in the area.
“It’s just a group of folks around here – good, close friends who like to help out,” said Chris Elam, co-founder of the foundation and Dusty’s brother.
Chris, who works six days a week at John Roberts Toyota, is quick to turn the focus quietly back to those who need help.
“What’s nice is that people get together and volunteer to help out and raise money.”
It was in the wake of Dusty’s death due to injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident in late March 2004 that the family created the foundation to help area children.
“He was going to school to be a special education teacher,” Chris said. “Instead of having flowers, we started a memorial fund.”
Organizers say that Dusty’s purpose in life was to make a difference in children’s lives. Those goals are being fulfilled “even after his death by his family.”
At first the fund raised a little money to be donated to local children. Then, on the one-year anniversary of Dusty’s death, the family decided to have a fundraiser to see how the charity would do.
We want to thank the Elam family and the Dusty Elam Foundation for their generous $1,000 donation to Son Valley Ranch. This money was given in honor of their son, Dusty Elam, who died in an accident 6 years ago on Dug Hollow road near the Ranch. Dusty loved kids and was in school to be a Special Education teacher. His family carries on his legacy and wishes by continually helping others and raising funds to help support local non-profit organizations. Many thanks to the Elam family!
Son Valley Ranch is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that relies on the generous donations of people like this and from you, our readers. If you would like to support Son Valley Ranch and make a difference in the lives of at-risk teens and children from Middle Tennessee, please visit our Donations page for more information.