09/27/09 — They walked with, and for, their hearts

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They walked with, and for, their hearts

By Laura Collins
Published in News on September 27, 2009 2:00 AM

MOUNT OLIVE -- The rain held off just long enough in Mount Olive for the American Heart Association Heart Walk Saturday morning.

Eleven area businesses and organizations formed teams for this year's walk, which exceeded its fundraising goal by $4,000 for a total of about $39,000.

Marian Barnhill, American Heart Association corporate relations director, said she is continuously impressed with the people who participate in the Mount Olive Heart Walk.

"They don't just meet their goal," she said. "They're diligent, and they work really hard, and they always go over their goal."

Peggy Van Voltenburg, co-coordinator of the walk, said this year's crew was exceptional.

"I don't know how to explain this group of teams. They're just awesome. I thought with what the country is going through and the economic situation, I thought we might not make our goal," she said. "But this walk was a success because the unique people working so hard for it. The team captains are dedicated to their teams and the team members are dedicated to the cause."

This year's teams included: North Carolina Federal Credit Union, Northeast Original FWB Church, The Carver Alumni Association, Goldsboro Harley Owners Group, Mount Olive Family Medicine, Southern Bank, Town of Mount Olive, Mount Olive College Student Government Association, Butterball, Emmaus Baptist Church-Johnny Sasser Sunday School Class and Mount Olive Pickle Co.

The Mount Olive Pickle Co. once again beat its team goal and raised about $27,000. Mrs. Van Voltenburg, who is part of the team, credits captain Monica Leon with much of the team's success.

"She was a great motivator with a lot of ideas," she said. "She gives of herself 200 percent."

Mrs. Leon said it's likely she was a good motivator because she is also a heart disease survivor. When she was 30, she had a pacemaker put in after having congestive heart failure.

"The walk is important because it raises money for research and awareness. It will help my children and my grandchildren later on," she said. "Both of my grandmothers died of heart problems, so it runs in the family."

Mrs. Leon said the team's secret for success takes a lot of "pushing and shoving." The 15 team mates had several bake sales and drawings for giveaways that helped raise money for their goal.