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Walk For Life braves the cold

Around 150 people turned out bundled up against the cold to Columbia Park in Park Hills on Saturday morning to take part in the Parkland Pregnancy Resource Center’s 2018 Walk For Life fundraiser.

The PRC, a pro-life organization located at 815 E. Main St. in Park Hills, is a Christian-based, non-profit center for pregnant women and their families. The Walk For Life is one of two large annual fundraisers held by the center.

People of all ages and from a variety of backgrounds participate in the walk to support the PRC’s ministry to women and their families in St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Washington, Wayne, Reynolds, Iron and Madison counties.

One of the couples participating in the walk again this year was Robert and Bobbie Jo Brock of Irondale, who came to the park along with their two small children.

“We participated in the walk for the first time around three years ago,” Brock said. “I really like what PRC is doing … how they offer free resources to anybody. I think they help a lot of families, not just single moms, but also fathers. They have classes that can help the whole family.”

While Bobbie Jo admitted it was pretty cold outside, she said it wouldn’t have stopped her from participating in the Walk For Life.

“Because life is important,” she said. “Supporting that and standing up for it is important.”

Ken Little, husband of PRC Director of Development Amanda Little, was waiting with his wife’s mother, Bobbie Mann, to participate in his first-ever Walk For Life.

“I’ve not been able to do that before because I’m normally traveling for work, but I’m here this time,” he said. “The important thing for me about being here is rescuing babies. I think my wife’s a superhero. She saves babies every day because that’s what she does for work. I just think that she’s amazing and I want to give her all the help I can.”

Mann said that, besides Amanda Little being her daughter, she participates in the Walk For Life to increase the public awareness of the PRC.

“So many people don’t know about it and what they do in saving the babies’ lives,” she said. “I don’t think people really understand what important work it does.”

Kevin Boatright of Farmington is a veteran of Walk For Life and is not shy in explaining why.

“I’m an extremely pro-life person and enjoy what the PRC stands for and everything that it does,” he said. “My wife is very actively involved with the PRC and she is always my encouragement. The cold didn’t stop us — not at all.”

Jim Gillespie, of Doe Run, finds participating in the Walk For Life to be enjoyable.

“It’s just great to be coming together for a common and wonderful cause, which is pro-life,” he said. “I think PRC is a wonderful organization. My wife, Linda, and I are involved in PRC in a multitude of ways. Every chance we get we help in any way that we can.”

Linda Gillespie explained that there are a number of ways she and her husband help out the PRC throughout the year.

“We participate in the Walk For Life and the banquet, among other things,” she said. “These young ladies have support to carry their babies to term, keep them or give them up for adoption. It’s an excellent resource for them to have.”

Sarah Wilson of Park Hills, a PRC board member, was getting ready to take part in the walk along with her 6-year-old daughter, Katie.

“This is our sixth year,” Wilson said. “Even if I weren’t a board member we would be here regardless because we want to support the PRC for the positive impact it has on our community.”

Asked what she and Katie thought of the weather, Wilson said, “I think this is the coldest walk I’ve been to, but it’s not raining so I’ll take it!”

PRC Executive Director Becky Laubinger knows without a doubt the pro-life organization she leads makes a positive difference in the community.

“Along with patient and client visits, we provide healthy relationship classes for approximately 1,000 students,” she said. “In addition to classes and appointments, we provide families with diapers, wipes, baby clothes, highchairs, strollers and additional baby and mom-care items.

“We also offer free pregnancy tests, limited Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) testing, and first trimester ultrasounds. All of these programs and services are absolutely free to the patients and clients. Our goal for the walk this year is to raise funds that will allow us to provide all of these programs and services to families in the Parkland.”

According to PPRC Director of Development Amanda Little, the walk turned out to be another successful fundraiser with a strong turnout despite the cooler and damp weather.

“This year’s Walk For Life was great,” she said. “It turned out perfect. The weather was a little cold, yet I was surprised to see how many people were there and walked. We were especially proud of the First Baptist Church Desloge Youth Group who, for the third year in a row, had the most walkers come out and participate.

“I want to thank everybody who came out and took part, as well as our sponsors that helped make it all possible. This was my second walk as the director of development and I felt a lot more comfortable in getting everything together, and with the help of our volunteers, making the Walk For Life happen.”

Little added that the organization is still counting the money raised at the event and are expecting additional funds to come in over the coming days.

“I’m not sure what our total will be by the end of the week, but we’re thankful for what has been raised already,” she said.

Little added that donations are still welcome from those who were unable to participate in Saturday’s walk.

PRC has a 24-hour crisis hotline at 573-431-6001 or 800-395-4357.

“It’s just great to be coming together for a common and wonderful cause, which is pro-life.” — Jim Gillespie, Doe Run

People of all ages and from throughout the area bundled up and took part in this year's Walk For Life held in Park Hills' Columbia Park. There was a festive spirit among the participants as they took part in an event that raises funds for the Parkland Pregnancy Resource Center to work to save the lives of the unborn and provide services for parents and infants.

People of all ages and from throughout the area bundled up and took part in this year’s Walk For Life held in Park Hills’ Columbia Park. There was a festive spirit among the participants as they took part in an event that raises funds for the Parkland Pregnancy Resource Center to work to save the lives of the unborn and provide services for parents and infants.

State Rep. Kevin Engler cuts the ribbon at the starting line of Saturday's Walk For Life, held in Columbia Park and sponsored by the Parkland Pregnancy Center in Park Hills. Engler and his wife Chris were the single largest contributors to the PRC this past year. Despite the cool and somewhat damp weather, around 150 walkers participated in the walk that promotes pro-life in the Parkland.

State Rep. Kevin Engler cuts the ribbon at the starting line of Saturday’s Walk For Life, held in Columbia Park and sponsored by the Parkland Pregnancy Center in Park Hills. Engler and his wife Chris were the single largest contributors to the PRC this past year. Despite the cool and somewhat damp weather, around 150 walkers participated in the walk that promotes pro-life in the Parkland.

Kevin Jenkins is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3614 or kjenkins@dailyjournalonline.com

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