Great things happen when people work together. This article is being written on September first, and by the time you read this article, the Emerald Isle "Walk to d'Feet ALS" will have already occurred. The article is not so much about the event itself, as it is about the community spirit that exists in Emerald Isle.
Last year, Kim and Randy Hebert (Randy was diagnosed with ALS in 1995) attended ALS fund raising events in Raleigh and in Phoenix AZ. During the return trip from Arizona, Kim wondered about the possibility of having an ALS awareness and fund raising event in Emerald Isle. Kim and Kelly Rogers discussed the possibility of organizing a walk in their home town. They contacted Megan Gardner with the "Catfish" Hunter Chapter of the ALS Association in Raleigh, and they were off to a great start.
Megan Gardner of the "Catfish" Hunter Chapter and Emerald Isle have proven to be a great match. The "Catfish" Hunter chapter is always interested in new events to raise awareness and to raise funds for research. Megan Gardner is the contact person for the walking events and she provided promotional materials for the Emerald Isle group, and also had a list of the tasks that needed to be completed for a successful event.
In late April, 2003, a committee was formed to put together the Emerald Isle "Walk to d'Feet ALS". The committee members were in alphabetical order; Anita Best, Keri Bestwick, Carol Chase, Suzanne Cochrane, Jill Frye, Kim and Randy Hebert, Frank Johnson, Kathy Kenneke, Toni Meadows, Lyndie Miller, Kelly Rogers, Melissa Smith, and Tammy Watts. Based on suggestions from the "Catfish" Hunter Association, each member was assigned a specific task.
One of the committee's first decisions was to set a goal for the number of teams they would have participating in the walk. The largest walk at that time in Eastern North Carolina had been 40 teams. Even though this was a first year event for Emerald Isle, they decided to try to break the record with a goal of 41 teams. As of September 1, there are 90+ confirmed teams with the possibility that the total could pass 100. If that is not community participation, I am not sure what is.
The money raised from this event will be used for ALS research, and the amount of community spirit that was generated is "priceless". Thanks to everyone that had a hand in this event; especially the committee members, and the businesses that donated services, supplies, space, etc. If you missed the Walk and would like to make a contribution, please make the check out to "ALS" and send it to Kim and Randy Hebert, 126 Page Place, Emerald Isle, NC 28594.
When we see a large number of Emerald Isle citizens participating in events like this, as well as the blood drive (next one is October 10), Spring and Fall Cleanups, and the activities of the Friends of the Western Carteret Library, we should all be very proud. Thanks to all of the wonderful Emerald Isle residents and visitors that make these events possible.