Cleveland Cavaliers head coach and Mexico’s native hero, Tyronn Lue, is not one to seek out plaques or other awards recognizing his connection and service to his hometown, though he has received many such honors. Instead, being an advocate for Mexico is important to him, and so, for the past three years residents have conducted acts of service in his name.
The Mexico Area Chamber of Commerce put out a call in September for organizations, businesses and individuals to develop a service project to aid the community. This call to action will come to fruition tomorrow as community improvement and enrichment projects take place throughout the day in honor of Tyronn Lue Community Day of Service. Lue will not have a chance to attend this year’s event, as the Cavaliers’ preseason practices are already underway.
The event, promoted on social media under the hashtag #TyLueServes18, is named in honor of the former Mexico youth turned NBA championship-winning coach who was awarded a Key to the City in 2016 after leading the Cavaliers in the biggest comeback in NBA Finals history.
Lue left Mexico after his freshman year of high school, but still has family members in the area and has regularly returned to help promote community spirit in his hometown.
“He always, always remember us,” said Dana Keller, chamber executive director. “He does so much for us, and we always struggle with what we can do for him. We’ve given him plaques and we’ve named streets after him. … Really what he cares about is not that. He cares about the people that live in Mexico. … The point is to focus on all the kindness that we have received from Coach Lue and just to honor him by giving back to others.”
Keller said people do service projects throughout the city as a way to truly give back to the local icon.
The all-day event offers many people the have a chance to lend a hand.
“Anybody in the community can participate, whether it’s an individual who just decides to do something kind for a neighbor … all the way up to big organizations like the courthouse and city hall,” Keller said.
With this also being homecoming week, the high school also has incorporated service projects into its activities.
Among the service projects is a collection drive for Angel Wings Clothing Closet by the Audrain County Courthouse. Keller said those at the courthouse have gathered socks and underclothes over the past few weeks for donating.
Some other projects include a soup drive by First Christian Church Christian and donations to Audrain County Crisis Intervention Services by KWWR Mix Country 96.
Early this school year, a student from Hawthorne Elementary, Trevor Crum, passed away. To honor Crum’s legacy and his love of animals, students have collected dog and cat food and treats, dog and cat toys, cleaning supplies and monetary donations for the Mexico Animal Shelter.
Students from the Mexico Education Center have prepared baked goods to take around to Mexico manufacturers today.
“(They’re) just expressing their gratitude for the time that the manufacturers invest in them,” Keller said. “Every school child will have the capacity to give back in some way, which we love.”
Keller said even small acts of kindness can have an impact, such as people buying another person’s lunch at a drive-thru, or helping an elderly neighbor with yard work.
“It’s just a feel-good day, where you realize we all have gifts to share,” Keller said.