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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

Random acts of kindness celebrated at Mound City event

My Power of One founder Sue Vicory, right, and Ann Ware try out the new multicolor friendship bench on the sidewalk in front of Stone Tree Coffee and Pottery in Mound City on Saturday, May 4. The bench was made by Amy and Dan Earl, owners of A Creative Twist ACT 2, in Mound City.

Story and photos by Roger Sims,

MOUND CITY – Dozens of friends and supporters of the My Power of One (MPO1) organization took time to drop into Stone Tree Coffee and Pottery in Mound City on Saturday, May 4, to get a free drink and celebrate the 10th anniversary of MPO1.

Tree Lee and his son Jesse, owners of the coffee shop were busy making drinks as friends gathered at tables and helped themselves to cupcakes.

Outside the shop, a multi-colored friendship bench made by Amy and Dan Earl, owners of A Creative Twist ACT 2, was installed on the sidewalk. The Mound City Council recently voted to allow shops on Main Street to put seating and tables on sidewalks as long as they didn’t block the walkway.

Maynerds food truck, operated by the Johnson family a few doors west of the coffee shop, will serve a special meal, peanut butter and jelly biscuits. All proceeds from the sale of those biscuits are set to go to the local food pantry.

Baristas Tree Lee and his son Jesse were busy serving up free drinks during the morning celebration.

A philanthropic organization now based in Mound City, MPO1 was started by Sue Vicory, a filmmaker and business owner, after she produced her first documentary on homelessness following the devastation in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Using the film as a way to begin a dialogue on homelessness, her Heartland Films raised $200,000 to help fight it.

Locally, Vicory used her fundraising skills to raise thousands of dollars for the Mound City splash park that was opened in 2022. She also produced The Original Jayhawkers, a film about the history of Mound City and the surrounding area, and sponsored a concert by Nashville recording artist Blane Howard at Jayhawk Elementary School.

She said her next project is to build a peace and serenity garden with a bench surrounded by roses and butterfly-friendly plants.

Beverly Read, left, and Fanchion Shadden were among the dozens of people who stopped by the coffee shop on Saturday.

One main source of funding for Vicory's philanthropic efforts is the sale of MPO1 t-shirts. The logo is easily recognized with one word printed in the middle of the logo.

"I like it because it's just one word," Vicory said.

Those t-shirts have become ubiquitous around Linn County. However, locals aren't alone.

"We've seen people wearing those shirts all over the world," Vicory said.

What started with one word, “miracle,” has now spread to 180 words, and shoppers can

purchase t-shirts in different colors with words denoting states of mind including love, faith, grace and breathe, to occupations such as pastor, writer, artist. The line has also expanded to include caps, tote bags, coffee mugs and other accessories.

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