Cray Brittian, the Science Hill High School football player who overcame a lifetime of homelessness to graduate last spring, will leave town Sunday for the Virginia Sports Academy.
The drive to help Cray with $5,500 in tuition at the Christian school for young athletes in need of both academic and athletic coaching to win a scholarship for further education has made good progress. Bonnie White, Homeless Program coordinator for Johnson City schools who is leading the drive, said there are several individuals and churches who have reached out to Cray.
But the young man whose life coaches, teachers and counselors at Science Hill compare to NFL player Michael Oher, another once homeless teen whose life story was depicted in 2009 film “The Blind Side,” is still without about $900 in books and has several other incidental needs for his first semester at VSA.
In the meantime, White said, “I have found something out. It is very expensive to send a kid to college.” Running down her list, she reported that in addition to books, Cray needs contact lenses, clothing, a laptop, size 16 shoes and bedding, all at estimated cost of about $700.
She repeated the request for anyone who would like to help to call Jeff and Bonnie White at 542-4221 or send a donation to them at 607 Pine Hill Road, Elizabethton, TN 37643.
Unaka Avenue Baptist Church is continuing its fundraising on behalf of church member Kim Miller as he prepares for a double lung transplant. The 56-year-old military veteran is on leave from his job with the U.S. Postal Service and is on the transplant waiting list at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.
The church is working to help Miller and his family cover the out-of-pocket costs of the procedure and medications and the travel and lodging expenses they will incur during the three months he will be in Nashville for follow-up care. On Aug. 23 they will take their fundraising drive to Chic-fil-A on Peoples Street.
Flyers for the benefit are available at the church and good for a percentage of the proceeds from every meal, drink, side item sold between 4 and 7 p.m., and for every party tray purchased for a pick up at a later date. For those without the flyer, simply mentioning the Unaka Avenue Baptist benefit to the cashier will work just as well.
“Funtastic Peel-off Coupon Booklets” for Washington County restaurants and businesses to help Miller and his family are also available at the church or may be ordered by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the church at 926-5951.
Donations to help Miller, payable to Unaka Avenue Baptist Church and earmarked for the Kim Miller Transplant Fund, may be made at any Bank of Tennessee location or by mail to Bank of Tennessee, P.O. Box 4980, Johnson City, TN 37602-4980
Throughout August, Verizon Wireless stores across East Tennessee will collect new school supplies to help students in need in their communities. All donations will go to organizations that help underprivileged and low-income youths prepare to learn and excel in school.
Locally, organizations receiving donations from the Verizon back-to-school drive include the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greeneville/Greene County, Johnson City/Washington County and Greater Kingsport.
Participating store locations where donations may be dropped off include 149 Fitness Way, Johnson City; 2608 E. Stone Drive, Kingsport; and 2815 E. Andrew Johnson Highway, Greeneville.
If there is a need or a charitable project in your neighborhood the Good Neighbor column can assist with, large or small, contact Sue Guinn Legg at email@example.com, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605 1717 or 929-3111, ext. 335.