Walk to Remember: ALPS main fundraiser raises more than $44K

Posted on Saturday, July 26, 2014 at 10:48 pm

ALPS

The 2014 ALPS Walk to Remember participants walk near the former site of Morristown College on the first leg of their two-mile journey on July 26. The largest annual fundraiser for the agency raised more than $44,000.

More participants translated into more dollars raised during the 2014 ALPS Walk to Remember on July 26 in Morristown, with total fundraising topping out at $44,385.

“I was very, very excited when all was totaled up,” ALPS Adult Day Services Marketing and Fundraising Coordinator Cookie Larkin said. “We were down a bit last year, and this brings us up about six grand from there.”

More than 300 community supporters walked the two-mile round trip from the Daisy Street facility to the Rusty Wallace dealership on King Street and back by Regency Retirement Village on Saturday morning, dressed in a rainbow of colored T-shirts sponsored by local businesses, industries or organizations.

“This walk is our largest fundraiser, and it is significant because at ALPS we try to keep everyone moving, vibrant and active,” Larkin said prior to the walkers heading out.

“We want to dedicate our walk today to all of our participants and their caregivers, with special dedication to the memory of Joan Weesner, lifetime board member of ALPS,” she said.

The Weesner Girls, a new team formed for the 2014 walk, was made up of 18 humans and three dogs. The humans, including Joan’s daughters, carried paper daisies in honor of her favorite flower and each wore a name tag that featured a different picture of Joan and her husband, the late Murrell Weesner. The team chose blue T-shirts in memory of Joan’s vibrant eye color.

Another first-time team, Tennessee College of Applied Technology nursing students, numbered 25 walkers and included instructors, all of whom wore individualized paper nursing caps. The team’s youngest member was 5-month old Rowan and its two doggy friends were Priss and Gabby.

The 75-member, bright yellow T-shirt-wearing, longtime participant Heritage Center team was a shoe-in for the coveted “Most Enthusiastic” award; however, upstart team, Citizen Tribune Above-the-Fold, grabbed the “Best T-Shirt Design” award with its pictorial homage to previous ALPS walk teams. The shirt was designed by Tribune pagination supervisor Sherry Collins.

Another designer who drew applause from the post-walk recognition ceremony crowd was none other than ALPS Family Services Coordinator Ronnie Reed, who created the official 2014 Walk to Remember T-shirt in honor of all caregivers.

Team HealthStar Physicians raised $4,550, qualifying it to display the walk’s Loving Cup award at its facility until the 2015 fundraising competition. Coming in second place was team MAHLE, raising $3,209.26. Third place in fundraising went to All Saints’ Episcopal Church’s team with $2,430 raised.

Honorable mentions went to ALCOA Howmet ($1,947), Team Willie ($1,883.55), JTEKT Automotive ($1,557), Coffman Oil ($1,475), Autumn Trace & Beyond ($1,265) and Home Instead Senior Care ($1,225).

Debbie Michael, a local Pilot store employee, won a two-night stay in Gatlinburg for her individual fundraising efforts that brought in $801. Michael raised the money during a two-week campaign aimed directly at store customers. Liz Steisslinger and Melinda Murray were also acknowledged for their individual efforts, along with Lowell Hale of MAHLE, whose mother was an ALPS participant.

“We are thrilled beyond belief,” Larkin said. “It was a beautiful day, and the turnout is the best going back years. ALPS has a small staff of 11, but everybody gets together and with the help of our board of directors, gets the hard work done.”

Major sponsors were Alcoa Howmet, Amedysis Home Health, Coffman Oil Company, HealthStar Physicians, Home Instead Senior Care, Howards Pharmacy, Interim Healthcare of East Tennessee, Lifecare Centers of Jefferson City and Morristown, Heritage Center of Morristown, Ridgeview Terrace in Rutledge, MAHLE, McFarland Pharmacy & Apothecary and Subway restaurants.

Associate sponsors were Citizens Bank, Colonial Loan Association, Covenant Health Senior Servicers, Jefferson City Health and Rehab, JTEKT Automotive, Lowland, Primary Care and Geriatrics, Raimondi & Son, Regency Retirement Village, RPN, Haggard Enterprises, Strate Insurance Group, and UT Home Health and Hospice.

The walk was led by the Morristown Police Department, Tim Crews of WCRK, Grand Marshal Dr. Steve Doka, along with Arnette Holland, Dr. Perry Doka and Gene Honeycutt, driver. Gail Bentley drove the “poop-out” car provided by Interim in case a walker’s intent was not met with the necessary physical stamina.

Special assistance was provided by Neil Johnson and the Lakeway Amateur Radio Club and the St. Patrick Church Knights of Columbus. Entertainment was provided by Nick “Siraldi” Helton, courtesy of Interim.

-By Glenna Howington, Tribune Staff Writer

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