The event took place at Knoxville Catholic High School on April 21 and was held to raise money for Columbus Home, a residential facility for abused, neglected or at-risk children that is operated by Catholic Charities.
Frank Murphy, one of the morning hosts on the radio station Star 102.1, served as the event’s emcee, keeping the crowd entertained, especially reading aloud the “shout outs” that people could purchase for a dollar to honor—and sometimes joke with—their loved ones. Star 102.1 also provided music for the festivities.
Father Ragan Schriver, director of Catholic Charities of East Tennessee, led the event and was its top fundraiser, bringing in some $2,500 for Columbus Home. Father Schriver and Mr. Murphy worked as a team to interact with the participants, and when a small technical glitch occurred that interrupted Father Schriver’s microphone during his opening blessing, Mr. Murphy lent his own voice, shouting Father Schriver’s blessing to the crowd.
“The real thanks go to you,” Father Schriver told the crowd as they gathered on the 40-yard line for a group picture.
A number of sponsors provided food and drinks, including Shoney’s, Scrumps Bakery, Wendy’s, and Pepsi-Cola, while other sponsors lent a festive air, such as Children’s Hospital of East Tennessee and Regions Bank, which held a drawing for a beach cruiser bicycle.
Before the walk, the football field at Knoxville Catholic High School was an island of fun, featuring inflatable rides, games, a magician, and demonstrations of Irish step dancing from the Drake School of Irish Dance. Visitors also could view artwork from local Catholic grade school students specifically for the event.
The walk began with a lap around the football field, and then spread out across the campus of Knoxville Catholic High School and All Saints Church, finishing back at the football field.