This week is Regions Bank’s national United Way Week of Caring, a time set aside for corporate and individual United Way supporters to join forces in hands-on service projects for the nonprofit agencies and programs their contributions support year-round.
As United Way partners in the Johnson City area busy themselves on projects including a new swing set at Coalition for Kids, new flooring at the Interfaith Hospitality Network for homeless families with children, new landscaping at the Salvation Army, a new garden fountain on the patio at Adult Day Services, a Day of Play for the kids at the Boys and Girls Club and more, smaller groups of friends of local individuals in need are equally busy on service projects that could use everyone’s help.
Friends of Emily Day Whynot, a 43-year-old physician’s assistant at Medical Care in Johnson City and Elizabethton who passed away May 26 after a five-month battle with an aggressive kidney cancer, will host a benefit spaghetti dinner and silent auction for her family Friday from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at First Christian Church, located behind Target at 200 Mountcastle Drive.
The cost of the meal is $6.50 per person and both dine-in and carry-out meals will be available. Local businesses and artisans have donated about 25 items for the silent auction to help the family, including pottery, toys, jewelry, automotive services, salon services and local restaurant gift cards. All proceeds will be used to help Whynot’s husband and two small children with expenses, including the cost of her five-week hospitalization.
An education fund has also been set up at Bank of Tennessee for Whynot’s children, Carson, 7, and Sara Grace, 9. Those who wish to contribute may make donations to the Dwight Whynot Benefit Account at any Bank of Tennessee location or by mail to Bank of Tennessee, Dwight Whynot Benefit Account, P.O. Box 4980, Johnson City, TN 37602.
Online opportunities to help the family are also available on the “Friends of the Whynot Family” Facebook page with links to www.youcaring.com donation sites for Friday’s benefit dinner and for the children’s education fund.
Last week’s column included an update of the continuing need for support for the family of 5-year-old Weston Keeton of Blountville, who has spent the entire past year at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia with his mom, Julie, waiting for a heart and double lung transplant.
This week, Matthew Ricci Dressler. a runner from Harrisburg, Pa., who has become fast friends with Weston, is making a four-day,100-mile run from Pennsylvania’s capital city to Philadelphia to help the Keeton family with cost of his transplant and with living expenses during their time in Philadelphia.
Details, including video of the first two days of Dressler’s run that kicked off Wednesday and an opportunity for everyone to add their sponsorship to his effort, can be found at Dressler’s “A Run for Weston” page on Facebook. He’s asking for $1 sponsorships for each mile of the run he completes and is hoping contributors will chip in a minimum of $20 each for a 20-mile leg of his travels. His goal is to raise $10,000 toward the Keetons’ bills, which are expected to climb as high as $200,000. He’s also asked that “if you are not able to make a donation, please at least pray for Weston and his family.”
More information on Weston’s condition and opportunities to help with his transplant can also be found online at the Children’s Organ Transplant Association website, www.cotaforwestonk.com. and at the “Praying for Weston” page on Facebook.
Donations to COTA earmarked for “Weston K” may also be made by mail to the Children’s Organ Transplant Association, 2501 West COTA Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403.
Amanda Bennett, a junior at Science Hill High School, has been invited to take part in next month’s Law & Trial Conference at Stanford Law School in Stanford, Calif.
Bennett, who also participates with the Mock Trial Association program in Washington County courts in Jonesborough, wants to be a lawyer some day and this summer’s nine-day conference at Stanford is a great beginning.
Joyce Goins, president of the Johnson City/Washington County chapter of the NAACP, which accepted community donations to help Bennett raise the $4,000 she needed to make the cross-country trip, passed along the chapter’s thanks this week for everyone who contributed.
“It was people in the community who raised the money,” Goins said. “We accepted their contributions. We wrote the check. That’s taken care of. And I would like to thank everyone.”
If there is a need or a project in your neighborhood the Good Neighbor column can assist with, contact Sue Guinn Legg at firstname.lastname@example.org, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605 1717 or 929-3111, ext. 335.