Paragon National Bank recently worked with Make-A-Wish® Mid-South to grant the wish of four-year-old Connor. Around 50 Paragon employees devoted their time to transform the bank’s Fountain Place lobby into the Pizza Planet Arcade from the Disney movie, “Toy Story.” Employees also constructed a racetrack featuring a theme from Disney’s “Cars.” This is the eighth year in a row that Paragon has worked with Make-A-Wish Mid-South to grant the wish of a Memphis child.
“Our employees worked really hard to prepare for Connor’s arrival and it was extremely rewarding for them to be a part of his special day,” said Robert Shaw, Chief Executive Officer at Paragon National Bank. “We are grateful to work with such a wonderful organization like Make-A-Wish Mid-South and look forward to granting many more wishes in the years to come.”
Paragon employees dedicated nearly 150 hours of their time to prepare for this year’s Make-A-Wish event. In addition to spending evenings and weekends working on event projects, some staff members took time during the day to volunteer through the bank’s Assisting the Community Through Service (ACTS) program. ACTS grants Paragon employees one week of paid time to support the nonprofit organization of their choosing.
On June 25, Connor arrived at Paragon under the impression that he would receive a special tour of the bank. After meeting Paragon employees Hank Word and Andy Taylor, who were dressed up as Buzz Lightyear and Sherriff Woody respectively, Connor realized his visit was more than a tour. Connor and his sister, Caroline, were escorted around the Pizza Planet Arcade to meet more Toy Story characters and play several games created by the Paragon team. After winning each game, both children received special gifts from Paragon.
At the final stop in the Arcade, Connor and Caroline played the Space Crane game, which was shaped like the rocket ship included in the movie. After winning several prizes from The Claw, a well-known reference from “Toy Story,” Connor won a racecar uniform that he changed into for the next phase of the event.
Once changed into his new outfit, Connor and his family headed to the bank’s parking lot, where they sat inside two real racecars, a tow truck and a police car. After sounding the police car siren, Connor and his family went back inside the bank. Next, Connor raced against others in cardboard cars, which bank employees created to resemble characters from the animated film, “Cars.”
After crossing the finish line first in the bank’s boardroom, Connor received a large trophy for winning the race. As everyone gathered in the room, Connor learned from Paragon employee Ashley Cullum that the bank was also granting his wish to go to Disney World. After opening more gifts for his trip, Conner his family enjoyed pizza and refreshments.
“Seeing Connor’s face as his wish came true, surrounded by the generous employees of Paragon, made us all believe in the hope, strength and joy a wish can bring to a sick child and his family,” said Rebekah Sudduth, Development Coordinator for Make-A-Wish Mid-South. “We are so thankful for amazing partners like Paragon. They have sponsored many wishes throughout the years and each one is a unique, specially thought out experience for the wish child.”
Paragon was able to grant Connor’s wish with additional support from several organizations including Chick-fil-A, Garibaldi’s Pizza, Mr. Lincoln’s Costume Shoppe and Uncle Dave’s Auto Shop. Additionally, Derek Hagar provided his Sprint racecar; United States Army veteran Hale Barclay provided army gear; and Randy Davis, husband of Paragon employee Joyce Davis, provided a police car.