An early Saturday morning fundraiser raised more than $10,000 for various causes. It took place in honor of a woman who believed in giving, organizers said.
The eighth annual Jackie Gilliard-Henderson Memorial Scholarship Walk-a-Thon drew an estimated 250 walkers of all ages to Bradwell Institute, where the 4.5-mile walk through Hinesville started. Some participants ran, others walked. Volunteers handed out water and sports drinks along the route.
Liberty County Commissioner Gary Gilliard, who with his brothers Pete, Bryant and Rickey founded Seven Ministries, said their mother set an example her sons are trying to follow.
“My mama was a country girl from the Tattnall County community of Mendes and while she didn’t have much, she gave what she had to those she knew and loved, and encouraged my brothers, our families, and friends to do the same,” Gary Gilliard said. “To honor her legacy of giving, we established the foundation (Seven Ministries)”
The turnout Saturday was the largest so far for the event, Gilliard said, adding walkers came from near and far.
“Family and friends from as far away as Cleveland, Ohio, Panama City and Jacksonville, Florida, metro Atlanta, Statesboro, Savannah and other cities in the Coastal Empire came to help pay tribute and raise funds,” he said.
This year, Seven Ministries awarded $500 scholarships to four Bradwell Institute and four Liberty County High School students. Four additional $500 scholarships from ESG, Hinesville’s public works provider and engineer Matthew Barrow in honor of his mother, Audrey Barrow, also were awarded.
In addition to funding scholarships, Gilliard said the walk helps Seven Ministries in other outreach efforts, including helping the homeless, Christmas giveaways of food to senior citizens and an annual back-to-school rally.
Gilliard said it wouldn’t be possible without community support.
“On behalf of the board of directors of Seven Ministries, we thank Liberty County for making what we do possible,” he said.