One small town is coming into some big money, thanks to the generosity of one longtime community member’s estate.
The town of Zeigler is breathing new life into an old bank building in town. Mayor Dennis Mitchell says crews are busy with repairs.
"Oh, it's a little squishy. We have one room where we have water damage out of 8,000 square feet," he says. They’re now working to transform the building into a medical clinic.
"Exam rooms,” Mitchell says, showing what the layout of the new clinic will look like. “And over here, where the teller line once was, will be the pharmacy.”
Finance Commissioner Jim Flood says giving the town a clinic has been a goal for years, but they didn’t have the money for this just one month ago. But when his friend and neighbor Venita “Queenie” Georgieff passed away, that changed.
"She loved this town. She loved the history of this town," Flood says. He says Georgieff grew up in town, the daughter of Dobry and Clara Georgieff, though most people knew them as Mr. and Mrs. Dobry through their popular candy store in town.
Living above her family’s old store, Flood says Queenie never spent a dime on herself, often buying second-hand car parts or picking up day-old cookies and cakes to save a little.
Flood says he was shocked when Georgieff’s estate contacted him, asking what he needed to help the town. He mentioned the $230,000 they’ll need for the medical clinic and her estate manager said yes.
"That's when I started breathing hard, I said, are you serious? And he said, you know Queenie would have loved to help this town," Flood said. And just days after depositing Georgieff's check, crews were hard at work already restoring the building.
Flood says this is a fitting tribute, though Georgieff may not have agreed.
"Either she's looking down and smiling upon us, or she's looking down and saying 'You guys! What are you doing?' But I think, I'm positive, that she'd be smiling right now," Flood says.
The building will stand as Georgieff’s legacy to the town she loved so much.
The Dobry Municipal Building, named for Georgieff’s family, is expected to be completed by March of 2017. It will include a clinic, pharmacy and rehab center when it’s finished.
Georgieff’s estate also donated $4,000 to the town’s library to help buy new computers.
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