09/22/12 — Annual Mount Olive Heart Walk is in the works

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Annual Mount Olive Heart Walk is in the works

By Steve Herring
Published in News on September 22, 2012 11:41 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- The 41st annual Mount Olive Heart Walk will be held Saturday, Oct. 6, beginning with registration at 8 a.m. next to the Mt. Olive Pickle Co. hiring office at 810 N. Chestnut St.

The walk will step off at 9 a.m.

The event normally attracts well over 100 walkers. In prior years, participants have included people in wheelchairs and children riding on their parents' shoulders.

So far, 12 teams have signed up, but Peggy Hester and Peggy Van Voltenburg, walk co-chairpersons, hope more will sign up on the day of the walk.

"I know that in the past some come and walk, and we are anticipating a good day that day," Mrs. Van Voltenburg said. "We will keep on plugging. We would love to see four or five more teams show up that morning."

The walks go on regardless of the weather.

"One year it rained," Mrs. Hester said. "It poured. We had three people, but we walked."

Mrs. Hester has a special connection with the walks -- she helped her mother, the late Polly Waters, organize the first one in 1971.

Mrs. Hester can't recall how her mother became involved in starting the walk. What she does know is that her mother would be proud that 41 years later, the walk is still growing and enjoys much widespread support.

"She had heart trouble, too," said Mrs. Hester. "Her mother had heart trouble. All in my family have, except for me, thank God.

"I don't remember how she started. One thing I do remember is that she said to me, 'I know that you can help.' One of the first things she ever did was a sausage and pancake supper at Southern Wayne (High School). Everything was donated. All of the proceeds went to the Heart Fund."

Organizers are hopeful that they will be able to reach the event's $40,000 goal. Last year's walk raised $36,079, short of the $45,000 goal.

Heart Association officials have told walk organizers that the Mount Olive event raises more per capita than the Greenville walk.

"When you think of Greenville that has a heart center, a big university and hospital, that says a lot for little old Mount Olive," Mrs. Van Voltenburg said.

The secret to the success is simple, they said.

"If not for the volunteers and the support of local businesses and churches, we could not do it," Mrs. Hester said. "It is amazing what this has done in years past."

Also, it has been successful because it has become "near and dear to the heart" of the people involved, and it's hard to let go of, Mrs. Van Voltenburg said.

The approximately three-mile route starts at the Mt. Olive Pickle Co. hiring office and ends there as well.

A police escort will be provided and a golf cart will follow the walkers, just in case someone is unable to complete the route.

Brownie and Junior Girl Scout Troop 638 members will operate a water station at the corner of North Church Street and the Old Seven Springs Road.

Prior to the walk there will face painting for the children and testimonials from people who have been affected by heart attack or stroke.

Refreshments will be served at the end of the walk.

For a $100 donation, physicians can have their name or practice listed on the Doctors Who Care board. Trail marker signs are available for a $250 donation.

Anyone interested in making a donation or entering a team in the walk should contact Mrs. Van Voltenburg at 919-581-3604.