09/26/11 — Mount Olive is ready for 2011 Heart Walk

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Mount Olive is ready for 2011 Heart Walk

By Steve Herring
Published in News on September 26, 2011 1:46 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Most walk. Some come in strollers. Still others in wheelchairs. But regardless of how they make the roughly 2.5-mile trek, they all share one thing in common -- a desire to raise money to battle heart disease and stroke.

Many of those who will participate in the annual Mount Olive Heart Walk on Oct. 8 share something else -- either they, a family member or friend have been touched by heart disease or stroke.

The walk dates back to 1971 and has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the American Heart Association. It was started by Peggy Hester and her mother, the late Polly Waters, who suffered from heart disease. More than $45,000 was raised last year.

Mrs. Hester continues to be active in the event serving as co-chairman with Peggy VanVoltenburg, hiring and benefits coordinator at Mt. Olive Pickle Co. The pickle company became involved with the walk around 1992 after Mrs. Hester asked, Mrs. VanVoltenburg said.

This year's goal is $40,000 and all of the money collected stays in eastern North Carolina and that is why area residents are asked to donate locally, Mrs. VanVoltenburg said.

Registration for the walk will begin at 8 a.m. on Oct. 8 and the walk will begin at 9 a.m. at the Mt. Olive Pickle Co. It is expected to attract about 200 participants, most of whom will be walking with one of the 13 teams signed up thus far. Anyone who wants to participate just has to show up at 8 a.m. and register, Mrs. VanVoltenburg said.

The route will be the same as the past several years. From the pickle plant, participants will travel down the west side of North Center Street to James Street where they will turn left. The route will follow James Street to Church Street where it will turn left and follow Church Street to the Old Seven Springs Road. It will turn right on Old Seven Springs Road following it to Carver Elementary School.

Walkers will circle the drive at the school and travel back down Old Seven Springs Road to Park Avenue. The route follows Park Avenue back to the pickle plant.

There will be water stops along the route.

Elijah "Sweet and Nice LJ" Manley will be the disc jockey for the walk and will provide a PA system.

A couple of women who suffer from heart disease will give their testimony prior to the walks, Mrs. VanVoltenburg said.

Trinity Missionary Baptist Church of Goldsboro is sponsoring a team in the walk for the first time ever, but it won't be the first for its pastor, the Rev. Johnny Sasser.

Sasser is the retired pastor at Emmaus Church that has been active in the walk for many years. Sasser and a young grandson suffer from heart disease.

Trinity Missionary Baptist Church held a song service that raised more than $900.

"You can't say enough good things about the pickle company employees," Mrs. Hester said. "You cannot. They are amazing. (Ms. VanVoltenburg) has done such a wonderful job. She has even got me baking cakes without sugar."

Anyone interested in walking or making a donation should call Mrs. VanVoltenburg at 919-581-3604.

"No one person or no one team makes this Heart Walk," Mrs. VanVoltenburg said. "It is the efforts of the entire community, all 13 teams, and all of the volunteers that work with these 13 teams. They are what make it happen for the Heart Walk. Without them we would not have a Heart Walk.

"Whether a team comes in and raises $100 or a team comes in and raises $20,000 every bit is needed for the cause and every little bit helps. ... We just thank, speaking for Peggy, too, we just thank all who do participate and give of their time and effort to make this Heart Walk a success."