Walking miracle

Published 10:38 am Monday, March 19, 2007

By By Kerry Whipple Bean – publisher
Eighty miles into a walking journey from Mobile to Birmingham, Mark Byal still felt &#8220blessed.”
On a much deserved break at Brewton's First Baptist Church, Byal said he and his companions - Brent Williams and Alan Knight - took off their shoes, ate some lunch and relaxed as busy Brewton volunteers fixed barbecue lunches to help raise money for the trio's fundraiser for two Alabama children's hospitals.
Brewton's barbecue plate fundraiser Thursday raised about $4,500, and four Monroeville women who joined the men on their walk through Brewton raised $3,600 - and counting - in pledges on their own.
Richard Quina, a longtime Log a Load volunteer, organized the Brewton fundraiser with the help of Beth Billy, Thad Moore Jr. and Bentley Martin, all of whom have had children who were treated at children's hospitals.
Quina was proud of the community's involvement, noting that many local Log a Load events stay within the timber industry.
The men, who walk an average of 25 miles per day, began their journey last Monday and will end at Children's Hospital in Birmingham Friday. All experienced hikers from Enterprise, they are sleeping in an RV that Williams joked &#8220smells like a locker room.”
Michelle Herrigan, Kathy Harris and Jennifer McInnish, all of Monroeville, and Shea Skipper of Grove Hill joined Byal, Williams and Knight Thursday for their walk through Brewton. Their husbands work in the timber industry, and all have been longtime volunteers with Log a Load.
Kerrie Benson, community development coordinator for Children's Hospital, admitted she was surprised when the men approached her with the idea for the fundraiser.
The money raised from the walk helps Children's Hospitals CHIPS clinic, whose mission is to care for victims of physical and sexual abuse.
The barbecue fundraiser Thursday was not the only event the local Log a Load volunteers will take part in this year.
Brewton area Log a Load volunteers will host a golf tournament May 23. That tournament typically raises about $50,000, Quina said.

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