Volunteer's 25-year Fund-raising Feat

April 23, 1995|By Sandra Ormsbee | Sandra Ormsbee,Contributing Writer

Thurman Ellis has seen them all: blisters, tired feet and pulled muscles. They are all a part of the March of Dimes' WalkAmerica, which celebrates its 25th anniversary a week from today.

Mr. Ellis, 72, of Jarrettsville has been a volunteer in charge of medical supplies since the charity walk began in 1971. He has coordinated first aid stations, volunteer fire companies and ambulances to make sure the walk goes off smoothly.

"It's a heck of a lot of work, but I've enjoyed it," Mr. Ellis said. "You see the kids and it makes all the difference. You know you're helping out."

Mr. Ellis has stuck with it, even though his responsibilities require him to begin setting up first aid stations in the wee hours -- 4:30 a.m., long before participants stroll by.

Harford County's WalkAmerica, April 30 at 8 a.m., will begin at Forest Hill Recreation Center, off Route 23 in Jarrettsville. It is expected to attract more than 500 walkers and raise $40,000.

Statewide, WalkAmerica is expected to include more than 5,000 Marylanders who will raise an estimated $500,000, said Sherry ,, Wormser, community director of the event.

After the 9.95-mile walk, food, beverages, entertainment and giveaways will be provided by local and national sponsors.

Harford County's youth ambassador, Michele Matteson, 6, of Edgewood will also be on hand. Michele has partial use of her legs because she was born with spina bifida, a spinal disorder causing paralysis and hydrocephalus, which prevents brain fluid from draining properly. She has been Harford's youth ambassador for four years.

Her father, Bradley Matteson, 26, of Edgewood said attending the March of Dimes' WalkAmerica boosts his daughter's confidence.

Proceeds from the walk will go to the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation to prevent birth defects and infant mortality.

WalkAmerica will take place at four other Maryland locations: the Navy Marine Corps Stadium in Annapolis, Centennial Park in Columbia, Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster and Memorial Stadium in Baltimore.

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