Dyer County Mayor Richard Hill begins the 2012 March for Babies event with a prayer as March of Dimes Community Director Jeannie Patrick and co-chair of the Dyer County fundraising event Janiece Wright of First Citizens National Bank look on.
March of Dimes Dyer County Ambassador Child Miller Williams and his family participated in the 2012 March for Babies in two significant ways. Miller not only served as ambassador child, he also inspired his family to create a fundraising team at the event. Here, Miller is pictured at the event with his parents, Patrick and Danielle Williams, and his grandparents, Pattye and Steve Williams and Dan Hager.
The Dyer County chapter of the March of Dimes offered two new opportunities for local residents to donate to the organization created to provide a healthy first step for babies. And the strategy paid off for Dyer County's 2012 March for Babies Campaign, with officials expecting to surpass the chapter's absolute goal for the year.
The inaugural Breakfast for Babies, held at the end of August, was the first new arrival to the March of Dimes fundraising season. The event featured celebrity waiters working at Perkins Restaurant and Bakery on the morning of Aug. 24. All tips and a portion of the morning's breakfast proceeds benefited the Dyer County campaign.
On Saturday, Sept. 29, the second inaugural fundraiser took place. Held the same day as the annual March for Babies, the Dyer County March of Dimes' first Run Baby Run 5-K provided local residents with a chance to pick up the pace in fundraising efforts.
The overall male and female 5-K winners included Jason Funderburk and Amber Moody.
Sun Products, also an event sponsor, took second place in the team fundraising competition.
First Citizens National Bank was the first-place team, raising over $6,000. The bank was also recognized as an event sponsor.
The 5-K began at 8 a.m., followed by the march at 10 a.m. The family-friendly events allowed the community to come together to raise money to support research, services, education and advocacy in the fight against prematurity, birth defects and infant mortality.
"We are projecting our March for Babies total to come in at $26,477.02," said March of Dimes Community Director Jeannie Patrick. "Our absolute goal for this year was $22,600 with a stretch goal of $30,000. We exceeded the absolute goal by $3,877.02 (and) we are still receiving donations. We will have until the end of the year to raise money and get credit in the 2012 budget."
Patrick credits Dyersburg residents with the success of the fundraising campaign.
"We had an awesome committee that really took the ball and ran with it," said Patrick. "They worked so hard all summer to make this walk a success. We added the Breakfast for Babies this year to the activities as well as the Run Baby Run 5-K. Next year, we will continue to add more activities to get more people involved."
Liesel Grossner accepts two Tennessee Titans tickets from Kelly Seaton of First Citizens National Bank and Miller Williams. Grossner won the tickets through a fundraising promotion of the Dyer County March of Dimes chapter.
First South Bank placed third in the team category. First South also served as an event sponsor.
Dyer County March of Dimes Ambassador Child Miller Williams and his family attended Saturday's event. The Williams family also participated as a fundraising team. Other teams made up of local families and businesses enjoyed a crisp fall morning walking together for stronger, healthier babies.
The top fundraising teams included:
* First Place - First Citizens Bank
* Second Place - Sun Products
* Third Place - First South Bank
* Fourth Place - The city of Dyersburg
"First Citizens National Bank was the top team raising over $6,000," said Patrick. "Hats off to the team captains for rallying their teams to do such a great job fundraising. With every penny raised, we get closer and closer to insuring that one day all babies have the opportunity to be born healthy and full term."
The city of Dyersburg took fourth place in team fundraising.
The top family teams included:
* First Place - McBride Miracles
* Second Place - Miller - Ambassador Family
* Third Place - Team Aimee
* Fourth Place - Haley Fincher Team
Local residents still have the opportunity to help the Dyer County chapter of the March of Dimes reach its stretch goal of $30,000 through the end of the calendar year.
Those interested in donating may contact Jeannie Patrick - firstname.lastname@example.org , Janiece Wright - email@example.com or Michelle Glass - firstname.lastname@example.org .