Greenville, South Carolina – July 9, 2019 – In recognition of her decades-long work in the Southernside neighborhood and across the community, including the development of Greenville’s Unity Park, the Greenville Drive today introduced Mary Duckett as this year’s honoree at Green Day sponsored by TD Bank. The 2019 Green Day celebration will be held Aug. 6.
Also today, Greenville Drive owner Craig Brown and his wife, Vicki, announced a significant contribution to Unity Park to help restore and preserve the historic Mayberry Park built in 1927 for African-American children living in Southernside and the surrounding neighborhoods.
Green Day is the celebration of Greenville’s birth 188 years ago, and the Greenville Drive mark that occasion by recognizing a member of the Greenville community whose vision, work ethic, commitment to community and drive have helped make Greenville the extraordinary community that it is today. This year marks the 14th Green Day celebration.
Mary Duckett, president of Southernside Neighborhood In Action, has lived in Southernside for more than 60 years dedicated to making our community a better place for seniors, children, her neighbors and people she has never met.
“She has stood up for those who did not have a voice and for those who society has overlooked or cast aside,” said Craig Brown, owner of the Greenville Drive. “She embodies the very best of our community and exemplifies what we look for in a Green Day honoree.”
Since moving with her family to Southernside in the 1950s, Mary has been active in our community, inspired by the work of Lila Mae Brock, her own mother and other women in the Southernside neighborhood.
One of her earliest projects was cleaning up a litter-filled lot near the house where she and her family lived. It’s now a neighborhood park. More recently she was a vocal advocate for construction of A.J. Whittenberg Elementary School in her neighborhood and has fought for construction of the Hampton Avenue bridge.
A graduate of Sterling High School, she has served on various boards and commissions, as well as committees that created statues recognizing Peg Leg Bates, Sterling High School and Pete Hollis. She retired from Givens Youth Center after a 22-year career serving at the juvenile facility as a counselor, cook and officer.
While serving on the Development Association of Greater Greenville, established to shepherd a vision for the Reedy River Corridor, Mary Duckett learned of plans for a new city park incorporating the historic Mayberry Park where she and her friends played as children. Since then, she has become a champion for the park and serves on its Advisory Committee.
“Baseball has played a major role in Greenville going back to Shoeless Joe Jackson, the mill leagues and the Negro League,” Craig Brown said in announcing the gift to help restore and preserve the historic Mayberry Field. “Vicki and I are pleased to support Mayberry Field and Unity Park as we honor and preserve our past while we celebrate the role that baseball plays in our community and how it brings us together; not only for today but for generations to follow.”
Since 2006, the Greenville Drive has honored 16 individuals during the day devoted to Greenville’s birth and all that makes our community special. Each has placed a uniquely indelible stamp on Greenville. But they have also shared something – a dedication to making our community better and inspiring others to make a difference.
The previous honorees are:
o Greenville Mayor Max Heller and his wife, Trudy (2006)
o Greenville City Councilwoman Lillian Brock Flemming and Greenville County Councilwoman Xanthene Norris (2007)
o Greenville Technical College President Dr. Tom Barton (2008)
o Businessman and philanthropist C. Dan Joyner (2009)
o Civic leader, judge and attorney Merl Code (2010)
o South Carolina Governor and U.S. Secretary of Education Dick Riley (2011)
o South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities Founder Dr. Virginia Uldrick (2012)
o Environmentalist and attorney Tommy Wyche (2013)
o Philanthropists Hayne and Anna Kate Hipp (2014)
o Centennial American Properties Founder and CEO David Glenn (2015)
o Erwin Penland Co-founder Joe Erwin (2016)
o Hughes Development Corporation Chairman Bob Hughes (2017)
o Spinx Company Founder & Chairman Stewart Spinks (2018)
The Greenville Drive will begin the Green Day celebration by recognizing Mary Duckett followed by a full birthday celebration that will take place throughout the ballgame capped off by a spectacular Green Day fireworks show.