The co-chairs of the Sara Corning Society say plans are coming along for events to be held in Yarmouth this September, including the unveiling of a statue of Corning, which will be located behind the Yarmouth County Museum, on the property where Zion Baptist Church once stood.
The unveiling ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 14, at 1 p.m. There will be a number of speakers and everyone is welcome, said Jennifer Rodney-Chown, co-chair of the Sara Corning Society, who last week spoke a bit about excavation work that took place recently at the site where the statue will be.
“You’re actually seeing the initial stages of the base for the statue and there will be a plaza surrounding it with walkways and so the excavation is the start of that,” she said. “When they infilled what was the basement of the (Zion church), they threw in a lot of bricks and loose materials that may not have borne the weight of the statue adequately, so what they have done is build up the ground in order to support the weight of the plaza and the statue on top of it.”
Said David Chown, also co-chair of the Sara Corning Society, “It’ll be an attractive site and, as Jennifer said, it’ll have walkways, concrete walkways, leading up to and around it, so it’ll be quite attractive.”
The society hopes to have an interpretive panel at the site and they have applied for funding for it, although it remains to be seen if a panel will be ready for Sept. 14.
Corning (1872-1969), a Yarmouth County native, was a nurse and is regarded as a heroine for her efforts in rescuing and caring for thousands of orphans during her 11 years of service in Armenia, Turkey and Greece between 1919 and 1930.
The weekend of the statue unveiling will include a dinner, to be held the evening of Sept. 14 at the Rodd Grand Hotel, as well as the presentation of a play about Corning by Chris Bolger, a member of the Sara Corning Society, which will be performed at Th’YARC Sept. 13 and 15.
Chown said the Town of Yarmouth and the Yarmouth County Museum have been great partners on the Sara Corning project and the society is grateful for their help.
Rodney-Chown said private sponsors also have stepped up to support the initiative.
“Private donors have been graciously giving funds for the construction of the base (for the statue), as well as the plaza surrounding it, so there’s a sense of pride in what’s happening in Yarmouth around this woman who risked her life to travel overseas. She didn’t know the languages of the people she’d be helping, but she went and spent 11 years rescuing children and caring for them, and we just think it’s a remarkable story.”
The society, she said, would love to hear from citizens or businesses that would be interested in sponsoring a table for the Sept. 14 dinner, where tickets will be $75 per person. Tables will seat eight people. She suggested they might have tables for nurses, for teachers, perhaps for NSCC students, high school students.
Anyone who would like to learn more about sponsoring opportunities can contact any member of the Sara Corning Society.
“We’re also thinking particularly of nursing students because of Sara Corning’s background,” Rodney-Chown said. “It would be wonderful if tables could be sponsored for nursing students. It would be very inspiring for them to hear more about (Corning).”
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