Palmer Home for Children opens $8.2 million wellness center in DeSoto
The Palmer Home for Children, a Christian nonprofit, opened an $8.2 million wellness center in Lake Cormorant, Mississippi.
“If you think of the last 12 months, May 18 of last year was when we started. And today we are able to open this building,” said Drake Bassett, president and CEO of the management of Palmer Home for Children, at the inauguration of the center on Friday. “But the idea of Palmer Home for Children is that we want to be ready for this moment of crisis. We want to be able to welcome the children who need us. So I’m grateful that the staff are ready to go and have been.”
Palmer Home is a non-profit Christian organization that houses children who cannot live with their parents or guardians. Since around 1895, Palmer Home was located in Columbus, Mississippi, before moving the residential portions of their operations to DeSoto in 2019. According to a press release from Palmer Home, approximately half of the children living on the Palmer Home campus are from Memphis. subway station.
“Palmer Home, for 127 years, has been there in times of crisis to bring a little mercy and a lot of hope,” Bassett said.
Drake added: “Palmer Home for Children, in my view, long after today will do this work. Long after we are gone, the work of serving those in need will continue.”
The center, located on the Palmer Home campus, is 25,000 square feet and includes a gym with a basketball court, swimming pool, college center and family counseling center. It was also created in part to allow Palmer Home to better host community and corporate events on campus.
“We have an educational capability, and you’ll see that, we have a counseling capability, and you’ll see that, we have a swimming pool, and I’m glad the kids will get wet and burnt out, we have a gymnasium and I could love the building for all of these reasons,” Bassett said. “But I’ll tell you why I love this building above all else. Because one day we won’t be here anymore. One day people will look back and say ‘you know, we don’t know all these people. But isn’t it great that they got together?'”
He goes by the name “Dr. Hugh Francis Jr. Wellness Center” in honor of Hugh Francis Jr., a Memphis surgeon who died in 2015. Francis had worked at Palmer Home for Children since 1968.
“As we look to the future, I am sad that the next generation of Palmer Home will not know Dr. Hugh Francis Jr,” said Reverend John P. Sartelle, Senior Pastor of Christ Covenant Presbyterian Church. “But by the grace of God, they will know people like him who will continue his legacy, which is the legacy of Jesus.”
The building is already paid for, according to the Palmer Home.
“Without your help, we wouldn’t be opening this building today, frankly, this $8.2 million project, without you,” Bassett said. “We wouldn’t open this building, fully paid for, like we are today. This building paid off. It’s amazing.”
Gina Butkovich covers DeSoto County, storytelling and general news. She can be reached at 901-232-6714 or on Twitter @gigibutko.