The Get R’ Done Award goes to…
It was only a matter of time before Molly Cornwell would be featured in this column. We started this column two issues ago with the idea that every quarter, we would celebrate one person in the community who is making difference, or, as some say, “gittin’ ‘er done.”
“I am not feeding the homeless, I’m not addressing basic needs,” Cornwell says as she stands behind the counter of the White Porch, a small antique retail shop tucked beneath the Center for the Arts. “I do the happy things.”
The question Cornwell often asks herself is whether or not she is leaving a place in a better state than she found it. To that, she can answer yes. Some people give their money to make things better. Perhaps Cornwell’s greatest gift to Globe is… her time.
“It’s just people, is the common denominator… I genuinely love people,” she says. “Am I making people smile? Are they in a happier place than when they leave me?”
You may recognize Cornwell’s face from walking into the White Porch yourself, which Cornwell owns and operates. Somehow, she has a way of making even the shiest of her customers feel comfortable and included.
Or, perhaps recognize her face from Fall Fest, SummerFest, the Easter Parade, the Copper Spike train excursions (when the train was still here), the fall Dessert Social, or the Oak Street Marketplace. Or maybe you saw her in a play at the Center for the Arts. With the exception of the White Porch, she has somehow found time to play a large role in all the above on a volunteer-basis.
Whenever she runs an event, every drop of money goes to a charitable cause, and she walks away not a cent richer. Yet she is fulfilled, because she feels she is leaving things in a better state.
“If I see a family playing a game at a carnival, together, that’s huge to me,” she says. “That’s part of the beauty of a small town, people are trying to keep their families together. People come here because they feel that; it’s still real.”
There is another simple reason why she commits so much of her time selflessly to this town.
“I love everything about Globe, the buildings, the history,” she says.
That includes Globe’s historic downtown district. It never fails. Every time she walks into Fry’s grocery, there are the ‘25 at Fry’s’—25 people who have never explored historic downtown district, or know anything about it, even if they have lived here for years. Planning each event involves a discussion on how to draw the 25 at Fry’s to the downtown district.
Cornwell is the primary organizer of downtown events like: Fall Fest, SummerFest, the Oak Street Marketplace, the fall Dessert Social, the Easter Parade, the summer Cemetery Tour, the Mother’s Day Tea event, and the outdoor socials held during the summer in support of the Center for the Arts.
Inspired by fall festivals in New England, Cornwell started up pumpkin carving contests in 2005, and the carnival night, to expand Globe’s Fall Fest. Several years later, she started SummerFest.
“There is nothing going on [during the summer] because it is so hot,” she says. “So I just picked some random weekend in June, and waited to see what shook out. And the very first one out was packed.”
“This last year, it was the hottest day of the year, and people were still splashing in water, having fun,” she adds. “It brings faces out that you normally don’t see at events. There are people showing up who I’ve never seen in my life, and they’re enjoying downtown.”
Not long after, she began the marketplace events.
On top of all this, she is also involved in one way or another (serving as a vice president, committee member, assistant, or performer) in: the Cobre Valley Center for the Arts, the Globe Miami Centennial Band, Home Tour Committee, the Copper Cities Community Players, the Globe-Miami Community Concert Association, the Globe-Miami Chamber of Commerce, the MOB (My Own Backyard Project) Historic Downtown revitalization committee, and the Globe Historic Main Street Program.
“There are some people that still come in and they only talk acting and singing, because they have only seen me on the stage,” she says.
Perhaps what is most surprising out of all this is that Cornwell is not from Globe. Originally from Scottsdale, she moved here in fall 2005, after establishing a clientele for her successful floral and interior design business, Wreaths and Things, in the ‘90s. Upon moving here, she opened The White Porch, originally called Seasons, out of the historic Cubitto’s building on Broad Street.
Now, it seems there is no stopping in sight for Cornwell.
“It’s hard to get people to really want to help you push a large ball up a hill,” she says. “But if you just push really hard right now, the ball will start rolling in the direction you rolled it.”
Jenn Walker began writing for Globe Miami Times in 2012 and has been a contributor ever since. Her work has also appeared in Submerge Magazine, Sacramento Press, Sacramento News & Review and California Health Report. She currently teaches Honors English at High Desert Middle School and mentors Globe School District’s robotics team.