Last updated: July 17. 2013 1:37PM - 269 Views

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Rachel Baldwin

Staff Writer

WILLIAMSON — “I was astonished, thrilled and shocked,” laughed April Toler-Mullins, as she spoke of a phone call she received regarding the Cinderella Project that will be providing prom dresses and accessories for a number of local students. “To say I never in a million years expected something like this to happen would be an understatement.”

Mullins, a RN who has spent over 11 years employed with Williamson Memorial Hospital (still works on a PRN basis) and who is now employed by Mingo-Wayne Home Health, headed up the Cinderella Project to assist families in need who weren’t financially able to make the expensive purchases associated with a prom.

Mullins and her loyal volunteers have been working diligently to acquire donations of prom gowns, jewelry, shoes, bouquets, etc., plus monetary donations that will be used to assist with the price of renting a tuxedo for the special occasions. Many of the local residents have stepped forward to make donations, but one call Mullins received was quite unexpected, but graciously accepted.

“I was at home and my phone rang. When I looked at the caller I.D. it said U.S. Capital,” explained Mullins. “I thought who in the world? I answered, the lady asked if she was speaking to April, and proceeded to identify herself as Diane Luensmann, the Director of Public Communications for U.S. Congressman, Nick J. Rahall.”

“She told me they had been following the articles about the Cinderella Project in the Williamson Daily News, and said that she had gathered small size gowns together that she had read we were in need of and needed a shipping address to get them to me.”

“I was overjoyed!! It meant so much to me to know that first of all, she had a giving heart and wanted to help out local teens; and second of all, to know that our Congressman has employees working for him that stay up on what is happening in his home state and really do care about us,” said Mullins.

“I’m so grateful for the media attention we have received from our local newspaper because without these articles, we couldn’t have managed to have done half of what we did once the word spread. I really want to say a big thank you for all their help!”

Mullins received an email from Luensmann that contained a tracking number for the shipment of gowns on Monday, and said she was looking forward to receiving them and passing them on to students still waiting on that special dress.

“This project has meant so much to me,” remarked Mullins. “Although I am no longer employed full time with WMH, that doesn’t change one detail about this fundraiser. I will still be in charge of it, and myself and the other volunteers will be in place on the days the proms are scheduled to take place, doing makeup, nails and hair for those who wish to take advantage of the free services. We have been contacted by several hair dressers who have volunteered their time, as well as others who will be doing makeup and nail art. It’s going to be a wonderful time…we’ll also have someone there to take photos of the girls.”

Mullins remarked that the phone call from Congressman Rahall’s office reminded her that there are good people everywhere, people that actually do care and want to do their part to make a difference in someone else’s life.

“It makes me smile to know that there will be girls walking through the doors of their prom with their heads held high, draped in a beautiful dress that may have been worn at a formal dinner or celebration at our nation’s capital,” commented Mullins. “It truly doesn’t get any better than that!”

If you would like to donate a gown or another item or accessory that can be used for this project, you are encouraged to contact Mullins at 304-784-4459 or 304-475-3551. You may also drop your donations by the Williamson Daily News, located at 38 W. 2nd Avenue.

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