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Trekking for a ‘priceless gift’

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POSTED: January 27, 2012 10:20 a.m.
Photo by Patty Leon/

Steven Dill (left) and Josh Maxwell walked more than 30 miles in 15 hours.

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The Liberty County YMCA kicked off its Priceless Gift Campaign on Tuesday with a treadmill walk that lasted from 6 a.m.-
9 p.m.
Josh Maxwell and Steven Dill trekked more than 30 miles in 15 hours, burning more than 4,000 calories while drawing in donations and pledges to help raise funds that will allow needy families access to programs and services offered at the YMCA.
The Priceless Gift Campaign funds scholarships to pay anywhere between 50-80 percent of program or memberships fees and are available to families that have fallen on hard times but still want to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
“We don’t turn anyone away due to their inability to pay,” YMCA’s Fitness and Sports Director Richard Sommerville said. “So all the money we raise during our Priceless Gift campaign goes to fund those scholarships. Our goal for this year is $45,500, and this was our kick-off event. We have five-six more events that will take place throughout the rest of the year.”
Sommerville said the treadmill campaign was something YMCA director David Holcomb planned, saying he thought it would make the campaign more visible to the community.
“He (Holcomb) wanted to get some visibility … Usually, people come in here and we have a little set up, but when people come in, they see these two guys up there and they want to know what is going on,” Sommerville said.
By 5:30 p.m., Maxwell and Dill had walked the equivalent distance of a marathon. Drenched in sweat, they greeted visitors with smiles, and folks immediately responded with questions and pledges.
Maxwell is employed at the YMCA as a personal trainer. He said he was asked to help with the cause, and quickly decided to give it a try.
“I really enjoy what I do here, and I always like to try something new and new ways to help out the community and help out the YMCA,” he said. “I’ve been fortunate to have good jobs, but there are a lot of people who don’t. Kids shouldn’t have to suffer because parents can’t afford to send their kids to the programs and do stuff. If we raise a little bit of money today, then a couple of kids can come here and try out stuff and learn about fitness and the sports they like when they normally wouldn’t have the option to do it.”
Dill, a former baseball pitcher at Bradwell Institute and Maxwell’s friend, volunteered to help out and offer moral support.
“I heard about it from Josh,” Dill said. “He was going to be walking all day and I thought walking all day by yourself would be kind of discouraging, so I decided to come along to help out and offer some encouragement. I feel pretty good about it. I’ve been able to come to this Y for a long time but not a lot of other kids have. If this gives them the opportunity to, it feels pretty good.”
Sommerville said there are more events planned to help fund the cause. Coming up next is the second annual father/daughter dance  from 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Feb. 17. Fathers and daughters can register for $25 per couple.
Sommerville said the YMCA offers a wide variety of programs, including youth sports, a competitive gymnastics team, personal training and aerobic classes. He added the Liberty Y is the only one in the Coastal Georgia area with an indoor pool.
People who are struggling financially can apply for assistance financed by the Priceless Gift Campaign. Applications can be picked up at the reception area of the YMCA.
Sommerville said they are planning a Zumba-thon, and aerobics-thon as well as several fitness challenges to help the campaign drive from now until March.
However, he said anyone wanting to make a pledge or donation can do so year-round at the Y’s front desk.

 

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