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Walk to Dorchester for renovation
Walkers Charlene Taste, Lana Walthour and Natha McIver near the end of their walk. - photo by Photo provided.
At the crack of dawn on Saturday, 130 walkers gathered at Briar Bay Park in Riceboro to make the nine-mile trek to Dorchester Academy on East Oglethorpe Highway in Midway.
They came in support of the 10th annual “Walk to Dorchester,” a fundraiser that is slowly rehabilitating the former school where Liberty County’s African American students were educated from the 1870s to 1940s.
Walking, running and even using the aid of an adult stroller, participants crossed the finish line with sweat pouring down their faces and soaking their clothes. Volunteers recorded their times and served pup a breakfast of eggs, sausage, grits and fish.
Wanda Cohens and her friend Sarah Baker made the hike on various county roads within two hours. They had made several practice runs, trekking to Hinesville from Midway.
“We worked up to it so we wouldn’t be sore when we walked today,” Baker said. When asked why they made the walk, Cohens said, “It’s for a good cause to come out and support the center. It’s a historic black institution and we wanted to help preserve it.”
She added it didn’t hurt to lose a couple of pounds while showing their support.
Alberta Mullins, 87, was the oldest walker in the group, although she did not start with the others at the starting line. Joining the walk from her home not far from the center, Mullins, with the aid of a walker, strolled into the check point to show her support for the center’s renovation effort.
“I felt it was important to make it out here to show my support for this historic building. I’ve made the short walk in the past to show my support and plan on continuing as long as I am around.”
As the walkers crossed the finish line either as individuals or in small groups, Association Director Bill Austin was elated at the turnout despite the expected high temperature.
“I really am pleased with the turnout today. I tell you it’s just a great feeling to see the enthusiasm for this project which has been ongoing for the past 10 years.” Austin is confident the support will remain until the building is restored and will be a cultural hub for the community, as well as showcasing its historical ties to Liberty County.
Austin estimates the foundation rose between $25,000 and $27,000 in Saturday’s walk.
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