Sabrina Shealy grew up in Boxwood when neighbors were like family and children roamed safely in the streets.
“Oh my goodness, it was just so much fun,” she said reflecting on her childhood in the Columbus neighborhood. “We all went to school together, and we used to walk over to Columbus Square Mall when it was there. We liked going to the movies and to Boxwood Recreation Center.”
By September of 1997, most of Shealy’s friends were grown and gone. So she held a backyard party to bring everyone together.
Now, the group is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Boxwood Lindsey Creek Reunion, which draws about 200 to 300 people back to the neighborhood annually. On June 6, Columbus Council presented Shealy and other reunion organizers with a proclamation signed by the mayor. The document highlighted the group’s accomplishments and listed the names of now-famous people who grew up in the neighborhood.
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The roster includes Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Frank “The Big Hurt” Thomas; model Kim Porter and multimillionaire producer Dallas Austin. Also mentioned is the group Basic Black, from which Kelvin Bradshaw, Mucho and Spec Turner emerged. Turner, a Grammy nominee, is a multi-platinum MoTown Records music producer.
“... Whereas, the citizens of Columbus, Georgia applaud Sabrina Shealy and the organizers of the Boxwood/Lindsey Creek neighborhood reunions for creating a longstanding tradition for themselves and encouraging others to show pride for their own neighborhood and create traditions also,” the proclamation read. “Now, therefore, I, Teresa Pike Tomlinson, Mayor of Columbus, Georgia do hereby proclaim June 6, 2017, Boxwood/Lindsey Creek Neighborhood Reunions Recognition Day.”
In a recent interview with the Ledger-Enquirer, Shealy said she can hardly believe how successful the reunions have been. It’s been a team effort, she said. Others who helped along the way include Debra Harris-Lisbon, LeMegro Long, Yolanda Turner, Yolanda Buchanan, Stephanie Everett-Thornton, Cordell Bradley, Christina Black-Grier and Lamar Mitchell.
“Never thought it would come to this,” she said. “I love people, and I just love to fellowship with the people that I grew up with. ... It just holds a space in my heart to be able to see what we have accomplished all these years later.”
This year’s event will be a three-day affair, beginning June 30th with a meet-and-greet at Houlihan’s restaurant at Columbus Marriott. The celebration will continue July 1 with a picnic/tailgate at the Boxwood Recreation Center. It will end July 2, after longtime friends worship together at Spirit Filled Ministries.
Mitchell usually does fireworks for elderly residents on the Fourth of July, and organizers also are hoping to incorporate that into the July 1 event.
Basic Black is expected to attend the reunion, Shealy said. She hopes Thomas and Porter also will be there.
The organizer, who now lives in Atlanta, said she still has family and friends in Boxwood, and visits the area regularly. She said the neighborhood has produced some good people.
“We might not all make millions, but all of us have very decent careers,” she said of her peer group. “It’s not just all about us getting together to eat, we’re all one family.”
Boxwood Lindsey Creek Reunion 20th Anniversary Events
Friday, June 30th - Meet-and-Greet, 7 p.m., Houlihans Restaurant at the Columbus Marriott, 800 Front Ave.
Saturday, July 1 - Picnic/Tailgate party, 5 p.m., Boxwood Recreation Center, 1110 Enoch Dr.
Sunday, July 2 - Worship service, 10:45 a.m., Spirit Filled Ministries, 3898 Mulberry Dr.