The “rusty” Muldrow water tower is one of the first projects
targeted by the Muldrow to Mayberry group.
The Muldrow to Mayberry organizers would like to see a better day, would like to go back to an old-fashioned hometown day and way.
They recall Mayberry, and the hometown traditions, of the television shows The Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry RFD. One of those organizers, Kathy Followell of Muldrow, said her niece, Kristen, developed the name as the family brainstormed one day on how to help their community. She asked if they wanted Muldrow to be like Mayberry.
“Exactly!” Followell said.
The Muldrow to Mayberry movement actually began as another project. Followell, the grandmother of two Muldrow Elementary students, was told by a school counselor that a large number of school children had no serviceable shoes. Many came to school in flip flops tied or wired together.
Followell said she and her family, “Championed that cause.” So far over 150 pairs of shoes have been donated to the Right Foot Shoe Closet at Followell’s church, Eastside Free Will Baptist in Muldrow.
Followell explained, “I’ve got a bench at the church. When someone has shoes to donate they just leave them at the bench for me, then call me or text me that the shoes are there.”
With that project underway, Followell said she and her family were at the Muldrow Homecoming Parade when they began discussing hometown values which seemed to be more prevalent in earlier days.
The family wondered, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could get that hometown feeling back.”
“You mean like in Mayberry?” Kristen asked.
Followell’s “exactly” answer kicked off the Muldrow to Mayberry organization.
“We want to get the community and the people back to a hometown mentality,” Followell said. “We want it to be known that Muldrow is a good place. I don’t buy that we’re broke and we can’t fix it. We’ve got hard working, gritty people in this town.”
Followell put her ideas about hometown values on social media, and those gritty people who had the same thoughts flocked to her Facebook page.
“I almost get overwhelmed,” Followell said about the support. “You can do something on Facebook and BAM, you’re in business. It was the shoes that got us going.”
Followell said people are tired of negativity. The group’s literature encourages residents to “Make the community a great place to live, shop, work and play.”
About Muldrow, she said, “We want to clean it up and fix it up and get it back for our kids.”
The Muldrow to Mayberry group has started a Beautiful Business of the Week and Beautiful Residence of the Week, showcasing those who keep their businesses and homes tidy.
Up next is a free showing of the movie “The Wizard of Oz,” at the Muldrow City Park on Nov. 5. Activities begin at 5 p.m. and the movie begins a 6:30 p.m. Followell is proud of the city park, and hopes to have at least one activity a month there, including a winter carnival during the holidays. And all is done by volunteers, the “hard-working, gritty people” of Muldrow.
Muldrow to Mayberry’s big project is raising the money to paint the town’s water tower.
“It’s a rusty old thing,” Followell said with a laugh. “I had one woman tell me that ‘If I could see that old water tower painted I could die a happy person.’
“The water tower is one of the first things I truly want to do,” Followell said.
“I would love to see Muldrow featured in a magazine as the little town that could rise up. There are lots of things people can do. Just pick up a broom and sweep. Quit finding things to complain about and do something,” Followell encouraged. “We need to do the little things. We need to get people to stay here. I’m tired of people getting up on a Saturday morning and heading off to Fort Smith.”
Followell said, “There’s not room in my brain for negatives.” Muldrow to Mayberry “Has been a blessing to me.”
She concluded with the Muldrow to Mayberry motto, “We rise by lifting others.”
Anyone wanting more information about Muldrow to Mayberry may contact Followell by calling her at 479-461-0896.
Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director
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