Dear Editor, I want to thank everyone who helped make the 2017 STOKES STOKED Youth Rally the huge success that it was. Although we had to postpone the event until Sept. 23, it still worked out well, with excellent weather. Over the course of the night, several hundred people floated in and out of Lions Park to enjoy the event.
STOKES STOKED would not be possible without the generosity of the Walnut Cove Lions Club which allows us to use Lions Park. Jonathan Tuttle of the Walnut Cove Wildcats’ football staff pitched in to handle field maintenance and lights. Burroughs Funeral Home set up their tents for us, and B & M Septic graciously provided port-a-jons. The Walnut Cove Volunteer Fire Department had a volunteer on hand all evening in case of emergencies. All of this set a terrific background for the event.
Once again, we were able to provide a free meal from 5-6 p.m., thanks to the following donors: Karen Wilson, Linda Shinault and Mary Joyce Alecce (hot dogs); Food Lion and Ingles of Walnut Cove (buns); Main Street Diner of Walnut Cove (chili, onions and slaw); Walnut Ridge Assisted Living (chips and sodas); Artist’s Way Creations in Danbury (desserts); and several other individuals who donated everything from tissues to napkins to ketchup!
Barry Conaway brought his big cooker, and with the help of his sister Ronda, labored in the heat to cook 480 hot dogs. Volunteers from local churches served the food. Tami Lilly and her crew from Exodus Ministries in King even brought a sno-cone machine to bless the crowd with free treats.
To make sure the actual show went well, our sound/stage man, LeVan Moxley of Moxley Production Services in King, provided stellar services. Over 30 churches from all over the county and beyond came together to form a very receptive crowd. Some of those churches even provided donations of money to bless Mr. Moxley and to screen-print t-shirts, as well as cases of bottled water and coolers of ice for drinks. Tammy Crawford came out from Central Triad Church in Winston-Salem to lead a community choir made up of singers from six churches. Rock Hill Baptist Church of Walnut Cove brought the instruments for the stage.
Once again this year, HanesBrands, Inc. sent a generous donation of several hundred t-shirts. Todd and Melissa Lomax of King were instrumental in helping us get the shirts screenprinted. Page’s Sports Screenprinting in Winston-Salem did a phenomenal job putting the “Help Me Lift Jesus” theme on the shirts. Dedicated volunteers from Fulp Moravian handled the task of giving out these free shirts.
We were grateful to the county officials who took time to come out for our special prayer over government leaders: County Commissioner Ronda Jones, School Board Chairperson Becky Boles, Danbury Town Councilwoman Wendi Spraker and Sheriff Mike Marshall. This was one of the most memorable parts of the evening, when the county’s citizens gathered around these leaders to pray for them.
We also appreciate Joan Doncsecz Robinson of King, our keynote speaker who moved us with her story of how she lost her vibrant daughter Hannah—former WSHS student and soccer player—to a drug overdose. This was a message our parents and youth desperately needed to hear. Thank you also to all the ex-drug addicts who came forth after Joan’s speech to pray that no one else perish from addiction-related causes.
Please forgive me if I have left out someone who helped with STOKES STOKED. There is not space to list every singer, dancer, testifier, choir, musician, church group, etc. that took part. Just know what a blessing you were to us all! Thank you also to all who prayed for this event, helped publicize it, attended it. We crossed denominational, racial, cultural, gender, regional and age barriers in unity to glorify God and lift Jesus. What you did matters!
Pastor Leslie Bray Brewer
Times of Refreshing Ministries