Longtime Brandon resident Karen Waters McGinnis recently found a way to bring a dose of nostalgia to other locals while helping out a great cause.
McGinnis, who moved to Brandon with her family in the 1970s, was able to locate and replicate a map of Brandon from 1986 and is selling copies to other residents, with the profits going to the Emergency Care Help Organization (ECHO).
In less than two months, she sold around 100 copies of map and donated more than $1,500 to the charity, which is near and dear to her heart.
“It turned into a quest for me,” said McGinnis, who remembered owning a copy of the map as a child.
She posted on Facebook asking if anyone could help her get a copy, and after a lot of leg work she was able to track down a framed version of the map in Brandon’s iconic Bill’s Prescription Center.
After finding that the map was too big to copy at Kinko’s, she took it to a blueprint company and eventually worked with a professional art restorer who was able to digitally copy the print and give her a file on a thumb drive.
Once McGinnis realized how many other locals were also interested in owning a copy of the map, she decided to use her hard work as an opportunity to help raise funds for ECHO, a local nonprofit that had helped her.
“I chose Echo of Brandon because they helped me get back on my feet when I was struggling at a point in my life,” she explained. “I have recovered from that time and I am finally in a place where I am able to give back.”
In just over a month, McGinnis met with many residents who also grew up in Brandon and were eager to have a piece of history in their homes.
“Everyone was delighted to be able to see what Brandon looked like in its prime,” said McGinnis, who attended Burns Middle and Bloomingdale High schools. “It brought back so many great memories.”
Maps are still available to purchase through McGinnis’ GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/f/1986-brandon-native-posters for $35, although McGinnis encourages an additional donation to ECHO at the time of purchase.
Once ordered, maps can be picked up at McGinnis’s business, Florida Farmhouse Market and Collectables, opening soon in Seffner.