Checking in from Pell City, AL …
Rain washed out both afternoon walks on Monday and Tuesday, April 16 and 17. So on a reduced schedule, I made my way south from Jacksonville and the beautiful campus at Jacksonville State University through Anniston to Oxford and then west toward Pell City. Along the way in Anniston, we encountered a huge memorial to military veterans as might be expected in this city that is also home to Fort McClellan and the Anniston Ordinance Depot. As we have seen in several other towns and cities, Anniston also has some very large and very striking churches including the largest Baptist Church I have ever seen which probably has a membership of over 5,000. Must be a rule of thumb—go further south, see bigger churches. Be sure to check out more of our pictures on Facebook.
I was stopped Monday, for an interview with the publisher, Linda Tirban, of a local weekly newspaper, the Calhoun Community Press. Then on Tuesday morning, WJXS-TV (Channel 24) filmed a piece on my walk. Thanks to Linda (at the newspaper) and Danny Vaughn (with the TV station) for helping promote heart health and getting exposure for Heart Trek USA. Danny may even have been motivated after our visit to reactivate his own personal exercise regime.
More publicity of this trip is set for later in the week. I’ll participate by phone on Thursday with the NBC affiliate in Charlotte when they devote their “Charlotte Today” show to heart health. And I’ll do another television interview with the ABC affiliate in Birmingham on Friday. Getting out the word to promote a heart healthy lifestyle and to raise funds for the American Heart Association are the primary objectives of this journey.
Brenda had the tiresome duty on Tuesday. She had to sit at a Honda dealership for three hours while the window on the Heart Trek Mobile (our Element) was repaired and the car was serviced. Then she had to wait while the generator was serviced and the LP gas was topped off in the RV. Pretty expensive day—almost $600—ouch!
The highlight of my day on Tuesday was when I met a nice young man named Evan. He had seen me walking a couple of times and finally pulled over near me to visit. He explained that he was a member of Mountain View Church in Anniston. His church had prepared a number of sealed envelopes that were given to members to pass on to someone when moved by God to do so. Having seen my “walking across the US” vest and upon learning the motive for my walk, Evan handed his envelope to me. Neither he nor I knew what was in the sealed envelope. Later in the day when Brenda and I opened the envelope, we found a gift of five $20 bills with a small piece of paper that read “WhyTheGift.com”. We looked up the website and found out about the church’s gifting program and how they were on a mission to spread the word of God through gifts. As the website reads, “Until a gift is actually accepted, the recipient will not be blessed by the gift of the life.” This monetary gift will be put to good use as a donation to the American Heart Association from Evan and the membership of Mountain View Church to benefit over 83-million people who harbor heart disease. As has been my experience, Evan’s gift of the envelope is another example of God’s plan and American generosity. As Christians, my wife and I applaud the “why the gift” program and thank Evan and Mountain View Church for your prayers and this gift we received so that we can share his blessings with millions of others. May God bless and multiply your efforts.
More rain is forecast for Wednesday. I’ll try to log as many miles as possible. Thank goodness I was a little ahead of schedule. Weather permitting; here is our projected schedule for the next few days:
Wednesday, April 18 … from Lincoln, AL thru Pell City to Vandiver, AL
Thursday, April 19 … on Highway 11 to Chelsea, AL
Friday, April 20 … thru Pelham toward Woodstock, AL on Highway 261
Wish us luck and keep us in your prayers.