Apache Belles Get Some New Digs

Once the ribbons were cut, the long-awaited moving day officially began.

"They do have a new home--a permanent home," said Shirley Mallory.

Fifty-five young ladies will be the first to live on the Apache Belle floor.

Mallory, also known as "Mama Belle," said she's been active with the Belles since joining up more than 50 years ago.  Mallory couldn't wait to help make the dream come true for all the Apache Belles to come.

"If you buy a scholarship, that benefits one Belle," she said.  "But if you buy a room, this benefits Belles from now on."

It was a welcomed gift.

Lindsay Lowery is a sophomore Belle.   She said, initially, she and some of the other girls were  reluctant to live on campus.  She said walking around and seeing the facility was like nothing she ever imagined.

"The unity it's going to present is just incredible," said Georgia Lowery, Lindsay's mother.  She was a member of the 1984-1986 class of Belles.  "For my daughter to get to be a part of it--it's overwhelming."

Soon, the entire black and gold hallway will be filled with memorabilia--a reminder of the history and heritage the Belles share.

The TJC Foundation has been working on a new Belle Heritage Endowment.  Rooms on the new Apache Belle floor have been purchased and named for $5,000.  It's helped the Belles add $117,000 to the endowment.

Layron Livingston, Reporting.  llivingston@kltv.com