Uplifting An Entire Community

It’s one thing to raise your own quality of life by your actions. Quite another feat boosts an entire community’s life quality. It is only accomplished by hard work, the ability to dream, and a determination that your life is nothing without taking others with you on the journey.

Virginia Terry and Margaret Bath had a vision that the quality of life in our home town, Ely, Nevada, could soar, if they put themselves to work. In the beginning, they focused on reunions for the yearly high school graduating classes, culminating in a grand 100 year celebration. This brought a steady stream of past residents home to claim their memories and pride in their early beginnings. Others in the community caught the spirit and contributed to the project.

In 1999, another vision began to materialize as Virginia and Margaret arranged for building-size murals depicting the mining town’s history to be painted by artists who specialize in large mural paintings. It took several years, much fund-raising, and dedication to the cause by the two community leaders for their dream to come true. Again, several other residents were pulled into the excitement of rescuing a whole community.

The Liberty Pit mural showing the many ethnic groups represented by the miners

A Third Vision Rises

Once the course of enticing others to travel through Eastern Nevada to see the murals started paying off, Virginia and Margaret had yet another vision. This time, they took on a third monumental community project: buying and refurbishing a small group of shacks that early miners lived in while the mine was developed. This project produced a depiction of life in the early mining industry in Ely. Each newly restored little house represents the melting pot theme of early 1900 life in Ely. The decor, whether Greek, French, Chinese, or others, is a restoration of how that particular cultural theme was carried out in the homes, as primitive as they were. The Renaissance Village was born!

Translating Actions into Raising the Quality of Life of Many

Today, the Ely community has hope. The spirit of community restoration has made their lives rank higher in quality of life. The reunions, murals and Renaissance Village uplift life in this rural Nevada community. What more of a legacy could you imagine? Virginia and Margaret turned a whole community from lifeless to hopeful, from struggling relentlessly to binding together for the betterment of the whole.

Ely has always been a stalwart little town. The mining industry is boom or bust! There are, and were, both good and bad times, forever depending on the price of copper for the big open-pit mine to support the community. Tough leaders rose from this background, many going on to other Nevada towns or different parts of the world.

Occasionally, the roots of quality of life are embedded in early life and overcoming lemons to “make a better lemonade.” Taking on community projects has been a strong influence in raising quality of life for many Americans. Many good people give to others who need a lift. The reward is discovering that giving automatically skyrockets the life quality of both the givers and the receivers.

Murals depicting the geothermal hot springs at the gold mining town of Cherry Creek, outside Ely.