Ann Morgan is a valued long-time member of the Polk County community.

She is smart and multi-talented, and many know Ann for her musical talents. She was the head of the Caroline’s singing group and a long-standing member of the music club.

But what many may not know is that Ann had a hobby of saving and collecting matchbook covers. She had a collection including thousands of matchbook covers, all neatly sorted in containers by categories such as state, flowers, trees, sports and so on. Some had vintage covers dating back to 1928 while others were new.

Ann would often select covers that related to a friend or person to whom she wanted to offer thanks, then design and create special boxes, tissue covers or even a trash can decorated with beautiful and unique matchbook covers.

A nonagenarian (someone aged in their nineties), Ann found she was no longer physically capable of making her matchbook cover creations. But she couldn’t just throw them all out, so she reached out to longtime Tryon Elementary art teacher Clara Rogers to see if she would take over the collection, hoping local art programs would benefit as a result.

That all took place before the coronavirus pandemic struck, and the arrival of COVID-19 delayed any further work on the project.

But with COVID waning and the number of vaccinated individuals rising, a long-delayed plan finally began to unfold. Members of Girl Scout Troop 13161, based at Tryon Elementary, worked to make boxes similar to those Ann used to make, laboring to create those same wonderful treasure boxes.

With boxes complete, the troop reached out to B.J. Bayne at Steps for Hope. Bayne will take the boxes created by the troop and share those with young children in the Steps for Hope program.

Tryon Elementary principal Kevin Weis offered his thanks to the members of Girl Scout Troop 13161 and leader Jamie Weathers for their hard work as well as to Ann Morgan for donating her collection so that these acts of kindness could continue.

Pictured at top, in the front row, from left: Jorie Rhodes, Elena Greve, Ciera Weathers, Izzie Adams; back row, from left: B.J. Bayne of Steps to Hope, Claire Lawrence, former Tryon Elementary School art teacher Clara Rogers, Kennedie Ross, Tryon Elementary principal Kevin Weis, Olivia Loheac, Girl Scout Troop 13161 troop leader Jamie Weathers and Molly Ramsey. Not pictured is LaVonna Suber.