At the July 14, 2020, Town Council meeting, Mayor Michael Alvarez read a proclamation retroactively declaring Grace Laney as Mayor for the Day for July 4.
Grace is a rising eighth-grader at Porter Ridge Middle School. In addition to her studies, she is a member of the Union County Youth Ballet, where she has performed in the Nutcracker, Aladdin, Coppélia, Rapunzel and the Wizard of Oz. She also participates in pagaents and is the reigning Jr. Miss North Carolina.
Grace, however, is best known for her big heart and desire to give back to the community. During these challenging and uncertain times, Grace used her talents to sew and donate more than 1,000 masks to essential workers, military personnel, firefighters, pharmacies, hospitals, friends, family and the community. She also created a “Fitness Friday” program on YouTube to help others stay active during the stay at home order.
In addition to “Fitness Friday”, Grace created the YouTube program “Stuffed with Love,” where she stuffed goodie bags for St. Jude Children’s Hospital and Bright Blessings in Matthews, NC. She has also sewn and donated more than 500 pillows to animal shelters in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida.
Grace said one of her favorite quotes is, “She believed she could, so she did,” and that it inspires her to work hard and help make a difference for those around her.
Thanks to all of her time spent giving back, Grace received the 2019 and 2020 Gold Presidential Award, which requires more than 250 hours of unpaid community service.
“Traditionally, we would recognize the Mayor for the Day ahead of the July 4th Parade,” said Mayor Michael Alvarez. “Unfortunately, we had to cancel the parade this year because of COVID-19. But, we still wanted to recognize one of our residents for their contributions to the community, and I couldn’t think of anyone more deserving this year than Grace Laney. It is heartwarming and inspiring to see someone so young do so much for others.”