The Panola County Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting for a new pavilion built next to the Footprints in the Sand Monument in Carthage on Monday morning.

Brenda Giles, vice president of the Footprints in the Sand Foundation, thanked the Charles C. Matthews Foundation for all the help and donations they have given.

“When Footprints in the Sand started so many years ago in 2008, and then when we put the statue up seven years ago, they’ve walked every step with us, and we are so proud to have you all here today,” Giles said. “...We know what an impact it’s made on our community, and we know that Christ carries us through, and it’s a powerful message for our world today. ... so many groups and families helped us all along the way as we needed it. They came up with the benches around the plaza. They came up with the lighting. Every time we needed something as the Footprints in the Sand Foundation, someone stepped up and filled that in.”

Giles said they couldn’t have done the pavilion without the Matthews Foundation. She also mentioned a community memorial HeartsWay Hospice did in May.

“We had a beautiful event here; that’s what we want the pavilion to be, is for others to use and to understand how Christ carries us when we are at our weakest,” Giles said. “And so it is a perfect spot out here, and we want to say thank you to these men. When people pass this way, both from around the United States and internationally, they always say ‘How does this small community, how did you do this?’ And I tell them it’s the generosity of the volunteers and the people all around.”

Teresa Dennard also expressed her appreciation to the Charles C. Matthews Foundation for their help with the venture.

“It’s blessed a lot of people coming through here and done a lot of good for our community, and it’s a beautiful place,” she said.