BROOKSVILLE — With the help of a local restaurant owner, 12-year-old Patrick MacGregor is expected to be back at work shining shoes Monday in downtown Brooksville.
Patrick will be considered a volunteer with Love Your Neighbor, a nonprofit organization that is part of the Rising Sun Cafe in Brooksville. The volunteer status puts him under the umbrella of the charity's insurance policy, satisfying the issue of liability, said Cristi Charlow, Hernando County risk management coordinator.
He will be allowed to resume his shoeshine business outside of the historic courthouse on the west side of the county government complex, Charlow said.
The boy was asked to leave his post on the east steps of the government center Wednesday because of a 2006 county rule stating that anyone who conducts non-government activity at the center must be insured. His departure upset some county employees and many in the community.
Patrick was charging customers $2, trying to raise money for a missionary trip to Iowa with the church where his father is pastor, Faith Evangelical Free Church in Spring Hill.
Slayden MacGregor, Patrick's father, said Friday evening the family was glad that a resolution had been reached.
"Patrick's doing great, and he's excited," MacGregor said. "We're glad it worked out."
Brenda Frazier, the county's community coordinator, had delivered the news to Patrick earlier this week that he would have to move.
"I hated to be the bad guy," Frazier said. "But if you let one kid do it, then you have to let everyone stand outside the courthouse doing business."
Love Your Neighbor has general liability insurance for its weekly farmers market, and Rising Sun owner John Callea wrote a letter Friday asking to include Patrick in the coverage. "We wanted to help a young entrepreneur," Callea said.
Charlow initially suggested that Patrick participate in the farmers market, but that event is taking a break for the summer.
Patrick's plight gained a lot of attention this week.
In addition to the help from Callea, county Commissioner Diane Rowden has invited Patrick to lead the Pledge of Allegiance at next week's commission meeting. "You don't want to discourage young people," Rowden said. "That's the last thing you want to do."
Alison Barnwell can be reached at (352) 754-6114 or firstname.lastname@example.org.