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Cross gears up for annual Walk for Christ

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Updated: April 5, 2018

By Quinton Bagley

Little River News

Bro. Jim Cross, pastor at the First United Methodist Church in Ashdown and Richmond, is greeted by family and well wishers as he returns to Dick Hays Stadium at Ashdown High School in this file photo from 2015.

The talking, training and planning are done for Bro. Jim Cross, pastor at the First United Methodist Church in Ashdown and Richmond. Now it is time for him to walk the walk.

Cross will walk 30 miles in one day on Saturday, April 21, to raise money for many charities – most of them local – as part of IMPACT 2018: Walking for Christ. This is the sixth year of the event and more than $95,000 has been raised in the past five years.

“I thought in the beginning that this would be a one-year deal,” Cross said. “It was such a success and had so much community support that I decided to continue doing it.”

In the past, Cross’s walk has ended at Dick Hays Stadium but this year things have changed.

“We are going to be ending at the Ashdown City Park this year,” Cross said. “In conjunction with the walk, there is also a co-ed softball tournament that Lonni Dollarhide and Jennifer Richardson have put together. I think we already have five or six teams committed and are looking for a couple more. Also, Matt Richardson is in charge of the chicken dinner that follows the walk.”

Walking 30 miles in one day is no small feat. Cross puts in a lot of time preparing for the event.

“I spend about four months getting ready,” Cross said. “I walk every day. If the weather is bad, I get on the treadmill and walk. It takes a lot of preparation to get ready but when you see the money raised and the people that it benefits, it makes it all worth while.”

This year’s charities include:

– Scholarships for Ashdown High School students in memory of Jalen Lewis.

– Meredith Ball and Marlee Pack, which are dealing with health issues.

– Ashdown City Park, Two Rivers Museum, Ashdown Community Library and 4th of July Spectacular

– Harvest Regional Food Bank Back Pack Program that helps students in Ashdown

– Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, Ark.

– Free camps for kids this summer: Football, Basketball, Baseball and Art

– Wesley Foundation at Henderson State: Ministry for College Students.

“These charities are ones where you can see the impact for yourself,” Cross said. “The majority of the money raised stays right here in Ashdown and every penny raised goes to the charities.

“The sports camps that will be held this summer will be free,” Cross continued. “Those attending the camps will get a free lunch as well and the camp instructors will be college athletes. It will be a great opportunity to learn new skills, get a free lunch and have a lot of fun.”

Cross said there were three reasons why he held this event every year.

“The first reason is to glorify God. The second is to raise money for good charities and the third is to bring the community together,” Cross said. “That is what we want to accomplish. The rest will take care of itself.”