News + Events

Tucker Family Dining Hall Opens at Mid-South Youth Camp

Henderson, Tennessee - Jun 21, 2021

“We are standing in the middle of answered prayers,” Mid-South Youth Camp director Brad Montague said as camp supporters celebrated the opening of Tucker Family Dining Hall Friday, June 18, 2021.

Built to accommodate 300 campers and staff in its dining hall, the structure also contains a commercial kitchen, director’s office, camp store, nurse’s station, counselors’ conference room, laundry, restrooms and storage.

In addition to the dining hall, Grandma Fern’s Porch provides space for campers to play games and has a pavilion for junior campers. The 2,000 square foot game room sits atop a large storage basement. The porch adds an additional 500 square feet of recreational space.

Following words of thanks from Freed-Hardeman University President David R. Shannon; Beth Naylor, chairman of the MSYC Board; Gayle McDonald, assistant camp director; Montague; and Charles Tucker, former camper, counselor and son of Drs. Milton and Patricia Tucker, naming donors; made remarks.

Milton and Patricia Tucker met at FHC in 1958 as freshmen. Both received associate degrees from the junior college in 1960. They spent their professional careers in Chester County. Milton Tucker returned to Freed-Hardeman to teach biology in 1965 and retired as a professor in 2006. Patricia Tucker taught kindergarten students at East Chester Elementary School for almost 20 years. She then joined the FHU faculty in 1994 as a professor of education, and retired in 2011.

The couple has two children and six grandchildren. Rayla Tucker Black and her husband Greg have three children: Tucker, Olivia and John Mark. Charles and his wife Laurie also have three children: Alex, Lucas and Anna.

Charles Tucker responded for his family, paying tribute first to his grandparents and then his parents. He presented everyone in attendance with a domino, representing “the domino effect.” Giving a brief physics lesson, he talked about the cumulative effect that results when a single event sets off a chain reaction.

Grandma Fern’s porch is named in memory of Fern McDonald of Caruthersville, Missouri. A loving mother, grandmother and great grandmother, she taught children's Bible classes for many years. “She loved to sing, she loved to smile and laugh, and she loved God and her family,” according to her daughter Gayle McDonald. “I like to think of today as Grandma Fern’s family reunion as she sits on heaven’s porch.”

Doug Short with iDesign Architecture Group in Jackson, Tennessee, designed the dining hall. Camp personnel praised the work and dedication of E&T Contracting, general contractor, who they said, “went way far and above what was required.” Evan Butler, Blossom, Texas,  and his crew of volunteers constructed Grandma Fern’s Porch.