February 22, 2017 Edition

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Stephanie Mondy of Hoxie accepts a donation during a roadblock in Walnut Ridge on Friday to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Lawrence County raised nearly $14,500.
TD Photo ~ Ashley George

Volunteers raise money for wishes

Lawrence County once again participated in the annual Have-a-Heart Wish-a-thon to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

On Friday, volunteers manned roadblocks in Walnut Ridge and Hoxie to accept donations for the organization, which grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses.

Jennifer Archer, who helps coordinate the Lawrence County team, said the local total so far for this year is nearly $14,500.

Phil Baiza, who also assists with the event each year, is currently enrolled in the police academy, so Archer said Lindsey Cooper stepped up and took charge of the Hoxie roadblock.

Among volunteers were two local families who have been directly affected by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Baiza's son, Nick, a student at Hoxie School, is a former wish recipient, and he and his brothers volunteered.

Also, family members of the late Brenten Cox, who was a Sloan-Hendrix student, assisted with this year's event. Cox was granted a wish in August of 2015.

Ashley Bradley of Paragould, a former wish recipient, also helped in Lawrence County. In addition, students at Walnut Ridge and Hoxie schools participated by raising funds in advance and volunteering at the roadblocks.

Archer expressed appreciation to Sonic, McDonald's and Schwan's, as well as Walnut Ridge and Hoxie police and fire departments.

She also thanked Ashley George with Creative Touch Photography for taking photos of the event.

"It was probably the best group of volunteers we have ever had and definitely a beautiful day to raise money for wishes," Archer said.

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