Lee is driven from within to serve others

By JAMES PHILLIPS,

The requirements of being a full-time college student while learning the ropes of this grand journey of life can be challenging to any young adult, but there are some that seem to take it all in-stride and find the time to go above and beyond and Maygrace Lee certainly fits that mold.

Lee is from a family that has made serving the people of Scott County their priority and Marygrace looks to take the torch and continue her family’s service in the community. Her grandfather, Dr. John Paul Lee has long tended to the medical needs of Scott countians and her father Scott County Sheriff Mike Lee has been protecting citizens of this county for more than two decades. Marygrace has a deep seeded desire to serve the less fortunate and the tireless drive and effort required to truly make a positive difference in peoples lives.

From an early age Marygrace recognized that she had an inner-calling to serve others, and she has taken this calling and made it a reality. “I have always known I wanted to give back to the community and help others,” she said. In doing so she initiated an annual Christmas toy drive to benefit less fortunate children in Scott County during the holidays.

“After hearing one of our friends discussing a mission trip Marygrace said she was going to start a toy drive for Christmas,” Sheriff Lee said. “I told her she was awfully short on time to get that up and running but she said she was going to make it happen and she did.”

The toy drive has been a huge success but this determined young woman wanted to do even more. This summer Marygrace started a school supply drive to collect supplies for children in foster care and children whose parents are currently incarcerated.

As with the toy drive, the Scott County Sheriff Department lobby served as the donation drop-off location and even some of the Scott County Sheriff deputies joined in to help. “The sheriff’s office drop off location works out really great because the lobby is open 24-hours a day,” she explained. “I even had some of the deputies volunteer to help and they were great to have because they would actually go out and pick up donations from people that were not able to make it to the sheriff’s office.”

In addition to accepting donations she also started an online fundraiser through Facebook in order to capture monetary donations as well. “In addition to providing supplies we used the money donations to purchase school uniforms and shoes for the kids,” Marygrace said. As a result of her efforts Marygrace was able to help three families totaling nine children with supplies and clothes to start the school year. “Each child received a backpack full of supplies, a full uniform and a pair of shoes,” she said.

The chosen beneficiaries of Marygrace’s philanthropic efforts are nominated based on need, and many of the nominations come in through the Scott County Sheriffs Department. After her successful efforts in helping local kids she is already looking forward to the 2018 Christmas Toy Drive and tossing around ideas of how to make next year’s school supply drive even better. There seems to be no rest for this driven young lady, and the children touched by her generosity and tireless effort are extremely blessed to have her working to help them.

Sheriff Lee said that he is so proud that his daughter has recognized that there is a need to help people right here in Forest and the surrounding area. “Her mom and I are very proud of her for starting the Christmas drive and the school supply drive,” the sheriff said. “She followed God’s lead to help combat the needs of people here at home.” He is not surprised by his daughters actions or the successful community outreach she is having. “Marygrace has always had strong initiative and is always ready for a challenge, especially when it comes to helping others,” he said. 

Marygrace plans to continue both the Christmas Toy Drive and the Back-to-School Supplies drive each year, and only hopes it grows so that it can benefit more children. If anyone would like to donate their time and energy or would prefer to donate in other ways they can contact Marygrace Lee at marygraceklee@yahoo.com for more information on how to get involved in helping local children. With additional help and resources there is no telling what this young lady will be able to accomplish in helping the children of Scott County.