Hodges Chapel Church of Benson held 4EverFriends earlier this month, which featured carnival-like activities catered to children and adults with special needs or disabilities along with their families.
At the end of the event, a handicapped-accessible 2007 Town and Country mini van was given away. This van was donated to Hodges Chapel by a family that wanted to remain anonymous. The family wanted to “pay it forward” and for the van to “be a blessing” for another person or family that needed the van.
In order to be accepted as a possible recipient of the vehicle, community members wrote and submitted an essay about why that person should be selected and why they were most deserving. Multiple nominees were submitted, but only one winner named.
Hodges Chapel Pastor Michael Preddy said, “We had 10 nominees and only one van. If we had 10 vans, we would’ve given to all 10.”
It was announced that Jacob Wade of Salemburg was the winner of the van. Jacob is a 24-year-old young man who has Cerebral Palsy. He was nominated by Janice Lee of Dunn.
When submitting an essay about Jacob, Lee stated that she “has known Jacob and his mother, Missy Phillips, for about 20 years. Jacob has never been able to walk but enjoys taking trips and interacting with others at social gatherings. For Jacob to go to any event or even to the doctor, his mother must physically lift him into the car, which she does with a smile on her face. He is her sunshine!
“Jacob’s mother has had to have both hips replaced, has back problems, which there are no plans for treatment at this time, and currently has a broken leg, which she is receiving some help from family and friends. I know there are many people who would like to have this van, but I do believe Jacob is more than deserving and would so enjoy being able to get out of the house and go places.
“He would also be able to see out of the windshield when he rides, which he currently can’t do because he has to ride in the back seat and can’t sit up straight enough to see out of the window.”
After reading inserts from the essay, Jacob was given the keys to his new ride.
Organizers for the 4EverFriends event thanked everyone who made the day possible.
Among those participating were LifeLink, the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office, the Benson Fire Department, Carolina Balloons, Sybil the Clown’s helper Kim Bryant and Diane McLamb, author of “The Adventures of Wiggly Woo,” along with a number of HCC volunteers.