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John McGinnis's legacy lives on at Courtney McGinnis Graham Community Shelter
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John McGinnis's legacy lives on at Courtney McGinnis Graham Community Shelter

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House of Hope

Wanda Vereen (left), director of the House of Hope's Courtney McGinnis Graham Community Shelter, and House of Hope Executive Director Bryan Braddock unveil a painting containing the favorite Bible verse of John McGinnis on Monday morning.

FLORENCE, S.C. – "The Lord has done it this very day, let us rejoice today and be glad."

The words of the late John McGinnis' favorite Bible verse, Psalms 118:24, will forever stand on a wall inside of the House of Hope's Courtney McGinnis Graham Community Shelter.

Bryan Braddock, the executive director of the House of Hope of the Pee Dee, and Wanda Vereen, the shelter's director, unveiled the painting containing McGinnis' favorite verse at a ceremony held Monday morning to mark the fifth anniversary of the opening of the shelter. 

The shelter opened on Oct. 16, 2016 at a ceremony attended by more than 200 people. Since it has opened, the shelter has served more than 5,000 people. 

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The shelter is named for McGinnis' daughter, Courtney, who served as an advocate for the homeless before dying suddenly in 2015. After her death, McGinnis continued to work on her passion area and helped the House of Hope open the current facility at 535 S. Church St. on Oct. 16, 2016. 

He said the House of Hope's efforts to establish a shelter on the site began with around a dozen people praying to see if it was God's will to have the building become a shelter.

"There wasn't a prayer garden," Braddock said. "There wasn't an awning, there wasn't picnic tables, there wasn't a house beside here [the shelter building], there wasn't a playground. It was just some pecan trees and this building that had been used in a different capacity." 

Braddock said the House of Hope managed to acquire another building, a big, green former warehouse that would have required $700,000 to renovate into a homeless shelter. 

"We kind of moved on and we were getting designs and we were moving towards that plan, and then the Lord stepped in and answered that prayer," Braddock said. 

He said that the House of Hope was able to trade its big, green warehouse for the current shelter location, straight up, and brought the building in to serve as a shelter. 

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Government and Politics Reporter

I cover the city of Florence, the county of Florence, the state legislative delegation of Florence County and surrounding areas, and the federal delegation representing the Pee Dee for the Morning News.

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