News & Stories




The Great Falls Heart and Soul will continue Story Gathering through updated information boards at the Great Falls Pharmacy and the Coffee Bar, gathering the thoughts from many patrons in an effort of engaging our community in "Conversations in Great Falls." Stop by and take a minute to write down your thoughts and wishes on our boards.  More updates coming soon, with 4 other businesses in Great Falls listed to participate in these projects of data collection boards.....coming to a neighborhood near you. 

The Conversations In Great Falls is in full effect, reaching further out IN EVERY PART OF OUR COMMUNITIES, to the schools, churches, businesses, every pocket of our neighborhoods; inviting all, from every resident, every business owner, young and old and male and female, you're all welcome to SHARE not only what you love most about OUR town, but also your HOPES and DREAMS for our town!!



(do the surveys read our news updates on our website).

Saturday October 21, 2023

Residents from the Washington Street community joined our Mayor Brantley in a fun time with the residents of this community. Conversations were had, spirits elevated, and new relationships were made and some rekindled, all rising above the past and moving forward towards a more united community. His basketball skills were put to the test with our young people enjoying a game of ball with our Mayor. Thanks to Great Falls Heart and Soul the community was elevated through positive and open "Conversations in Great Falls".

Saturday October 21, 2023

Great Falls Heart and Souls first/the first cookout at the Sunset Park on Washington Street where 40+ residents celebrated.

This afternoon was filled with story gathering and community fellowship with William Gonzalez, and some team members such as the Pastor Wytricia Mack from Salt of the Earth, Alison Howe, Maxine Tate with other volunteers who rose up to the first gathering at the Park together with residents from the Washington Street community, in a historic gathering on Washington Street in the Town of Great Falls. Residents were communicating there wishes and desired for the Washington Street community through the Heart and Soul Story gathering sessions in their community. 

On October 18, 2023, our very first story gathering group session

The session started with our students, our Great Falls Heart and Soul team members Shelley Price and William Gonzalez visited Great Falls High School to learn what the next generation of residents love about their community. Students cautiously entered into conversations about the Teenage perspectives of the Great Falls experience. They became activated, when, in realizing, that we gave them the opportunity to express their views from a teenage perspective in a safe and positive exchange of views among themselves.

Are YOU a Great Falls resident eager to share your hopes and dreams for our town? 

We're ready to listen................

We are embarking on a unique journey to gather diverse stories and insights from our communities. Your voice matter, and Pastor Wytricia Mack, and the team members and volunteers from the Great Falls Heart and Soul Program will be honored to have you contribute to our story gather and the community surveys. 

Let's create something meaningful TOGETHER! We need to truly understand the heart and soul of our town, we need you perspective. Your experiences and stories shape the vibrant tapestry of our community. Share the essence of what make our town special and unique - your voice is the KEY to unlocking the soul of our collective Narrative. 

Join Pastor Wytricia Mack and the team members of the Great Falls Heart and Soul on this eventful and fulfilling gathering in our community. 

The Heart and Soul Coordinator from Great Falls participated in the Chester County's Leadership Training, which continues with with a full complement of Leadership from Chester County and some from Great Falls hosted by Libby Sweat-Lambert at the Fort Lawn Community Center then followed by tour hosted by Gallo with an insightful presentation and a tour of their enormously large manufacturing plant. 

The Gallo Plant is truly an engineering wonder

Heart & Soul uses social media to find out what people love about Great Falls 

Same question. Different responses. 


What do you love about Great Falls, S.C.

Great Falls Heart & Soul Coordinator William Gonzalez wasn’t getting enough responses on the Heart & Soul social media page to the question “What do you love about the Town of Great Falls, S.C.?” so he tried the question on the “I grew up in Great Falls, South Carolina” Facebook group page. On that page, he got almost 50 responses to the question at last count. Gonzalez put that question out there as a sort of a test case, to see what people loved about, what they remember about Great Falls. He wanted to gather that information as data that will inform the Heart & Soul community initiative’s story gathering, but to remind everyone what is great about the Town they live in. 

“I also wanted to bring up those memories to break the negative perception that nothing good has ever happened, or happens in Great Falls,” he said. As to the reason why he posted the question in multiple places, Gonzalez said it was like a bit “throwing mud against the walls, you want to see what will stick.” Gonzalez must have found just the right combination, because the question on the I Grew Up in Great Falls, South Carolina page opened up a floodgate of memories and thoughts. 

The comments were a mixed bag: 

I grew up in Great Falls South Carolina page: WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT THE TOWN OF GREAT FALLS, S.C.? 

Doris Cheek I was born in Great Falls in 1937. Immediately after college, I moved to Columbia. To this day, I feel grateful to have grown up where everybody knew you; not only that, but everybody was a friend. I can’t think of a time when we locked our doors. I not sure we even had a key. Now I have security lights and a security alarm. My son, who lives in Spartanburg, can see anyone who approaches my house. Neighbors watched out for us in Great Falls! 

Brian Adams I grew up here, it’s home and I’m proud of that. I’ve taken the good with the bad and feel blessed to live here.

Louise Sherrill Our family moved there when I was in middle school, we were truly embraced. Never felt like an outsider. 

 Louise May When I think of Great Falls, I think of love and feeling safe.

Timothy Comer It’s home Phyllis Gallman Jacobs It’s home, no better people anywhere. 

Susan Smith I could write a book about how I feel about Great Falls. 

Loretta Baker Riddle My Dad was from Great Falls. Still have family there. Visited often while growing up Bear Morrison I love this town where I was raised I would love to see it cleaned up and all the old houses tore down and the mills torn down make it beautiful again

Donna Broom Rollins There are good, good people here! When someone is in need there are always those who step in. Like the John Mellencamp song says, “Well, I was born in a small town/And I can breathe in a small town/ Gonna die in a small town /Oh, and that’s probably where they’ll bury me.” 

David McKeown Love this town 

Gerald Lathan Will always be home 

June Tennant It is home 

Gail Rabon Dabbs It was a great place to grow up in the 50 and 60 that’s when I lived there my greatest memories of my childhood Great Falls Heart and Soul, 

Author Small town. Good people. Good neighbors who look out for each other. Safe town to live

Frank Jacobs The people! 

Tiffany Waters Will always be my home b/c it’s so PEACEFUL and the people Love each other 

Keevi Worthy Peaceful and lots of love 

Mary Anne Warr Petersen The people. Friends and relatives! 

Charles Belk Friendly people. 

Anita L Hall Raised there and will always be Hometown 

Jackson Knight Friends, it’s home I grew up here and I want my kids to do the same 

Becky Hensley Cunningham It’s quiet 

Debra Mcateer Steen Everybody loves everybody. They are all family to me

 Amanda Price Caldwell I love that in a small town everyone will pull together and help when needed. 

Teresa Gibson It has that loving feel, grew up here and still know the majority of the people. 

Claudette Henson Williams Thank goodness for the baby boomers in GF. They have done a lot to preserve the history of our little town. So many photos thanks to Jean Camp and the documentation that she has shared. I sincerely hope this generation will preserve all she has provided. Please keep it alive and praying that GF will come back to life and be better than ever. 

Paula Comer Most of the people. Very loving and caring. 

Dusty Brantley There’s no place like home! I love the friendly faces, caring neighbors, churches, and small businesses. There’s so many people in our small town who go above and beyond. I know I say that a lot. Lol it’s because I’m still amazed with the amount of people who make Great Falls so much better. We have many amazing organizations that help our community that I’m thankful for. Grasp, Greater Great Falls, Hear t and soul, and Thirst Quenchers. Obviously we all could go on and on because Great Falls is full of Great people and the Love in our town is a blessing that we can appreciate!

Clyde Baker I was born in a house on Circle Street in 1943 and grew up in another house on Circle Street. I think I grew up in the best small town in South Carolina. 

Beulah M. Reid Nothing 

Carol Green It’s sad Nancy Broom It’s a small town with a lot of friendly people. 

Teresa Fields I moved to Great Falls 30 years ago. This is where my children grew up. I visited as a child to my grandparent’s farm and loved it then. No matter where my children go they come home to visit or live they find love and joy right here. 

Rob Mckenzie Nothing 

Dave Garner My high school friends and fishing at the depot. 

Vivian Simpson My husband 

Debra May Nothing like a small town. I’m a small-town girl. 

The last time Gonzalez looked at the analytics, the question on that page had received about 3,000 views. “For most of the questions, I tried to determine what people responded to the most. A lot of their answers have to do with the community,” he said. Many of the responses are bound up with the writers’ nostalgia about Great Falls, or their conception of what the community is. 

A Data Management Committee of the Great Falls Heart & Soul volunteers will do their best to codify these answers and put them into their responses, along with the answers to the questions from the more formal story gathering process the group is undertaking. 

Right now those story-gathering sessions are individual interviews, but Gonzalez has plans of setting up group discussions at churches and places like the Senior Center, schools and restaurants. “I’m really interested in setting up the group discussions, because that’s going to lead to different layers of responses from people,” he said. This effort to get a sense of what people love about Great Falls joins an earlier and still ongoing effort by Great Falls Heart & Soul where they set up message boards in different spots around the Town and provided sticky notes so people could quickly scribble their thoughts about what they loved about their community. 

Gonzalez’ next plan is to organize the community meetings in churches, businesses and senior centers to gather even more ideas of what people love about their town. According to the Heart & Soul brochure, these stories will be gathered from residents ‘with the goal of identifying what the Great Falls community loves most about their town. 

These expressions of what matters most, the hopes and ideas, are translated into vision statements to guide decision making, called “Heart & Soul statements.’ Based on the Heart & Soul statements, the residents will then create an action plan to guide future planning in the Town. This action plan is presented to elected officials, community leaders and residents. The final phase of the process is when the statements are adopted by Great Falls decision makers. To learn more or participate in a survey check out the Great Falls Hear t & Soul social media and their website at 

More from the Town of Great Falls website

Tim Andrews Round 86’ I joined a band, Crisis, from GF. I traveled three nights a week while in high school to rehearse there, old IGA bld. It was a true cultural experience and I loved it and the people, not all may have taken to me but I really love a bunch of good folk I met there over the years! Thank you to all the friends there and the support you showed to our bands and all the fun we had!!!

Kathy Dawkins Hinson Tim Andrews I remember Crisis!!

Richard Broome Tim Andrews you and Crisis or probably if not the best one of the best bands that’s ever been from around the area

Tim Andrews Richard Broome thanks brother!

Kay Ray I have always loved Great Falls. I used to visit my great uncle and aunt one Sunday a month when I was growing up. Great memories. 

Dusty Brantley It's nice seeing others outside of Great Falls appreciate it as much as we do

Kay Ray Dusty Brantley I grew up in Chester, so a county girl, but loved visiting in the 1960’s.

Great Falls Heart and Soul Dusty Brantley dusty, visit our WEBSITE, I've been updating the website with current updated information.

Mike Munt Class 1 Rapids & A TV show called the Real housewives girlfriend of Great Falls.

Sharon Bailey Totally agree!!!

Bruce Cullom The people

Susan Blackwell Reeves The people and the nature, both are beautiful!

Randy Sr Newman Love Great Falls S.C --Good people``````````

Tyler Dale Langley No matter where you are in GF your only just a few mins from a good fishing spot it’s always going to be home

On september 23, 2023, we had Sara Lightner from the Vermont Office of Heart and Soul provide the first training to our community residents gearing up to join us in our efforts of capturing the voices of the Great Falls Communities. The Heart and Soul of Great Falls training components is one of many geared towards the development of our listening, hearing components of the Heart and Soul. We are all learning together to effectively listen to each other, to involve everyone, in every place, for all occasions; to focus on what matters and to playing a key role that requires our leadership to hear the heart and soul of the people of Great Falls through the Great Falls Heart and Soul program.

Visit our website. 

Follow us on Facebook, like, share our story, 

JoinUs in raising a higher level of confidence in the Town of Great Falls , a Great Falls SC community..... a  proud, prayerful, and always hopeful community. 

"What do you love about 

Great Falls South Carolina"

The Great Falls South Carolina Heart and Soul Leadership has been working for the last year and a half with excitement and they’re currently engaged in a comprehensive outreach effort called “Story Gathering”.  “Story Gathering” is an effective way to engage the Community of Great Falls South Carolina in face to face dialogues, and through community wide conversation. We're reaching out to the community to as many people as possible by going to where people live, work, worship and pursue recreation, among other gathering places.           


Great Falls South Carolina is a close-knit community where members of the Heart and Soul leadership are recognizing Great Falls residents as very caring and concerned communities, a very friendly and good hearted people. Great Falls team members commenced reaching out to various churches, school, clubs, local businesses and public venues; visiting places like coffee shops, laundromats, public celebrations, school, and non-profits; anywhere we could engage the community in dialogue, seeking input at a community level through conversations with our community residents and visitors alike

Great Falls Heart and Soul’s primary focus is to engage the young and older populations in conversation that stimulate awareness, by collecting information through stories by a broader community response from our people. These responses will shape a mix of community-based statements, modeled by the community of Great Falls South Carolina tailored to their needs. This approach will help engage the community by gathering a broader spectrum of input and participation, actively engaging in open discussions about what is good, and what works in the Great Falls community.

LEAD Chester County first training session happened September 13th at the Spratt Banking Center in Chester SC. and finished with a tour of Chesters Career Training Center. The LEAD Chester County Leadership training programs professional leadership development session will be provided until its May 15-Graduation 2024 Celebration at York Technical College Chester Center. L.E.A.D. Chester County is an eight-month course for ANYONE who wants to improve his/her leadership skills while learning more about the workings of Chester County (government, education, business & industry, healthcare, history, agriculture, tourism, etc.). Great Falls Coordinator of Heart and Soul is participating in the ongoing professional leadership development with many other Chester County leaders. 





Launch Party

Feeding the Heart, Soul (and Stomach) of the Great Falls community


Nov 30, 2022

The Great Falls Heart & Soul group aims to feed the heart and soul of their community, and on Saturday before the Great Falls Christmas Parade, they fed their stomachs as well.

Free hot dogs were on off er at the Heart & Soul Launch Party. The Heart & Soul committee urged people to fi ll out a couple of surveys during the launch part, which included tours of the Heart & Soul office at Argonne Street in Great Falls.

A handout explained what Community Heart & Soul is: ‘Community Heart & Soul is a resident-driven process that engages the entire population of a town in identifying what they love most about their community, what future they want for it and how to achieve it.’

On hand to wish the Heart & Soul group well was Alexis Halbert, Senior Community Heart & Soul trainer with the Orton Family Foundation, the organization that started and supports the Heart & Soul initiatives across the country.

“Great Falls is really looking forward to bringing the community together, to think about their future and understand what’s really important, so people can really work together.

“What’s most important for Great Falls is this initiative comes from the people and the residents. That is what Heart & Soul is all about, finding ways to talk, to get together, dig deep into what matters, and what that’s going to look like. Where this program goes from here is to be determined.

“I know that what I’ve seen, the passion and the dedication so far of residents in Great Falls is that people are ready to work together and make something happen,” she said. She added she has seen a level of dedication to the initiative in Great Falls that is exciting and ranks up there with the best Heart & Soul programs across the country.

“When you set a strong foundation, what’s going to happen in the future is going to be good,” she said.

“The level of enthusiasm I’ve seen from this group really shows me that this project is going to last and it’s going to bring a lot of people in,” she said.

Speaking of setting a strong foundation, unlike many Heart & Soul programs, the initiative in Great Falls has a new brick-and-mortar home, in a building that variously housed the magistrate’s office and in the past, the Great Falls Health Department. Having a permanent office means that the Great Falls Heart & Soul will have a base of operations, a place they can make a hub of the activities in the community that they will help generate.

Chester County Councilman and Heart and Soul Committee Member Mike Vaughn said the project is looking to hire a part-time coordinator who can keep the office and answer questions that residents might have about Heart & Soul and how the project is working in Great Falls.

“Heart & Soul is a two year process (we are in Phase I) and it’s a process that we are blessed to have three town in this area (in addition to Great Falls there are Heart & Soul projects in Fort Lawn and in Kershaw). Thanks to the Arras Foundation (which provides local support) we are leading the way,” Vaughn said.

The Great Falls Heart & Soul project is currently gathering information on surveys that are available online at the Great Falls Heart and Soul Facebook page.

According to the first page of the survey, ‘The Great Falls Heart & Soul reconnects people with what they love most about the town of Great Falls and translates those personal & emotional connections into a blueprint for the future community decisions. We want to know what the future looks like for Great Falls and how to achieve it.’

One survey asks residents what uses the three former Republic Mill Sites should be put to, recreational, mixed use(residential, commercial, retail, etc.) or industrial development? Another form gives citizens the chance to sign up for the Heart& Soul project and gauges their interest in working on one of several sub-teams. A third form seeks data on how people feel about living in Great Falls and what they think about their community and its future.

Cynthia Curtis with the Arras Foundation is the Great Falls Heart and Soul coach, walking them through the steps of the Heart& Soul process.

“A lot of the team are lifelong residents of Great Falls — a few have grown up here, gone away and then come back and we have some who moved here. As far as the group, we have a steering team with 10 full-fledged team members, and then we have a good representation of other project members,” she said, agreeing that an initiative like Heart & Soul rests on the level of citizen participation. The team members are the “motor that makes the project work,” she said. Those members include a Chester County Councilman, a Town of Great Falls Councilwoman, retired educators, businesspeople, non-profit staffers and members of the faith community, Curtis said.

Heart & Soul team members will soon be gathering feedback from residents (the coverage area is not just the Town Limits of Great Falls but the entire Great Falls School district boundaries) about their thoughts on Great Falls and what they would like the area’s future to be.