Saturday was a beautiful spring day with perfect weather for a walk or a run, and around 60 people plus a few dogs showed up at Royal Lane Park to do just that at the fifth annual Walking for Walker.
With the event’s namesake, Walker Bellamy in attendance, the 5K cross country and one mile fun run/walk provided an opportunity for exercise, fun, fellowship and reconnecting with old friends all while raising money to find a cure for cancer.
The 5K got started a little after 9 a.m. with 15 participants. Once they cleared the track, the rest of the participants lined up with friends, family, dogs and strollers to do the one mile fun run/walk.
In the meantime, Mr. and Mrs. B visited with many other contributors and well wishers who they had not seen for a while. According to Mr. B’s wife, Jean Bellamy, “Walker was touched by so many former recreation department employees coming to the park Saturday. He had looked forward to being there from day one when Brenda Potter came to sit with him and tell him what you all had planned. It was the most wonderful thing and it made him feel good to know so many of the people he loves came out to support this event.”
Two of those people are Larry and Carrie Bell, who met each other and fell in love when they were both employed at the department.
“Mr. and Mrs. Bellamy are our oldest daughter’s God-parents.” Carrie Bell commented. “She drove up from Greensboro to walk for Mr. B. Then she went to Wilmington and when she came back, I saw that medal hanging from her rearview mirror; it meant a lot to her too.”
Larry Bell had similar sentiments, “What a great event to honor someone who did so much for the community.”
Several participants were glad they took the time to do the event. Two people who had never done a 5K were the Sampson Independent’s own Jessica Wagner and Fayetteville resident, Kay Grimm.
“I walked some and jogged some,” Grimm was happy to report. She took advantage of several of the 5K practices in the weeks leading up to the event. “I’m working up to being able to jog more and walk less.”
When the last participant crossed the finish line everyone gathered around Mr. and Mrs. B as she spoke for the both of them, relaying to everyone how much the event means to them and how honored Walker is that the recreation department holds this event.
Then it was time for the light hearted “Mr. B look-alike contest.” First up was the canine competition. Mr. B perused the dogs, big and small, before deciding that Noodle Turlington looked the most like he would, if he was a dog.
Then came the ladies division and Ruth Godwin, another former recreation department employee, was chosen as the winner. The toughest competition was the men’s division. Finally, with some advise from his wife, Mr. B selected David Simonson.
Long time friends of the Bellamy’s, Roxanne Parsons and Marilyn St. Pierre had a friendly argument about which one of them is Mr. B’s best girl. They did agree to have their picture taken together sitting on Mr. B’s lap.
When contacted for comments on Monday Mrs. Bellamy said, “I just want to thank everyone who came, especially the recreation department staff for all they do. Coming out there on Saturday was like a dose of medicine for Walker. We really appreciate the way you all keep in touch with him and share all the goings on at the department.” She continued, “And he loves it when Jerry Herring calls him the ‘Godfather of Recreation’ he just gets the biggest smile when he hears that.”