2010-02-17 / Front Page

Soldier Mom to get Walk T-shirt

Daughter's design wins Walk for Warmth contest
by ERIC LEVINE editor

Brianna Edwards Brianna Edwards BROWN CITY - The custom designed t-shirt for Sanilac County's Walk for Warmth fundraiser is on its way outside the county's borders - way out.

The T-shirt, which carries the winning design of 5th grader Brianna Edwards of Brown City, is being shipped to her mother, Michelle, an Army reservist serving in Iraq.

The 20th Annual Walk for Warmth, which raises money to assist individuals and families with serious hardships pay their home heating bills, is sponsored by the Human Development Commission. Money raised in previous walks has assisted senior citizens, the handicapped, working poor and others with utility emergencies.

The walk will be held Saturday, Feb. 27.

Registration is at 9 a.m. and the one-mile trek begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Human Development Commission- Adult Day Services Center, 227 N. Elk St., Sandusky.

This year's goal for Sanilac County is $10,000, said Amanda Hughes, an HDC worker and Walk for Warmth Committee member. Walks will also be held that day in Huron, Tuscola and Lapeer counties. All money remains in the respective counties where it was raised to help struggling residents.

Sanilac County Walk for Warmth representative Jessica Beatty presented gift cards to the 5th grade classrooms at Brown City Elementary last week. Neil Kohler's and Erika McClintic's classes received $25 cards to purchase supplies, while Tyler Leipprandt's class won a $50 card because the winner of the t-shirt design contest, Brianna Edwards, is in his room. Left to right - Neil Kohler and Erika McClintic display the t-shirt with Brianna's fireplace design, while Jessica Beatty, of the Human Development Commission that sponsors the walk, presents a card to instructor Tyler Leipprandt. (Photo by Eric Levine) Sanilac County Walk for Warmth representative Jessica Beatty presented gift cards to the 5th grade classrooms at Brown City Elementary last week. Neil Kohler's and Erika McClintic's classes received $25 cards to purchase supplies, while Tyler Leipprandt's class won a $50 card because the winner of the t-shirt design contest, Brianna Edwards, is in his room. Left to right - Neil Kohler and Erika McClintic display the t-shirt with Brianna's fireplace design, while Jessica Beatty, of the Human Development Commission that sponsors the walk, presents a card to instructor Tyler Leipprandt. (Photo by Eric Levine) Hughes noted that many of the people that receive help "are not usually on any type of assistance." She cited examples of people who lost their jobs because of the economy, or lost a spouse who was the family's primary wage earner and are now unable to keep up with bills.

The T-shirt design contest was open to fifth graders at Brown City Elementary. Brianna's design, a fireplace, was picked from about two dozen entries. The Human Development Commission awarded her a shirt, and also decided to send one to her mother, a playground aide at Brown City Elementary and Army Reserve supply sergeant.

"I think she'll like it," said Brianna, who says drawing is her hobby.

Why did she pick a fireplace for the design?

"Fireplaces always make me feel warm inside," said the 11-year-old.

She said winning the contest, "makes me feel. well, grateful that I can help."

Brianna's father, Bill Edwards, who has also served in Iraq as a Department of Defense employee, said his wife was deployed in December and doesn't know Brianna won the contest.

"I told Brianna we'll surprise her mom," said Edwards. "She'll be really happy (when she gets the T-shirt)."

The Walk for Warmth Committee felt Brianna's design "was really thought out," said Jessica Beatty, a committee member and HDC employee. "Her interpretation... of what we were trying to do...was right on. she got the whole gist--keeping neibhbors warm."

Brianna's class, which is taught by Tyler Leipprandt, was awarded a $50 gift card to purchase supplies. The two other fifth grade classes that participated received $25 cards.

Many church groups, businesses, and community organizations take part in the walk. Sanilac County Commissioners also are involved, and urge friends and family to join in, said Hughes.

"I know there's an awful lot of people in Sanilac County that have experienced medical problems, and financial problems because of lost jobs," said County Commissioner Jim Ruby of Marlette, who will walk with his wife, Dorothy.

"I think we're a pretty independent group (of people in this county), people who aren't looking for a hand-out," said Ruby. "But there comes a time when a little helping hand gives a jump start. This isn't year after year after year. For most people, this helps them out and put them back on track."

Ruby cited the example of a "woman who got behind (on bills) and didn't want to accept help." Through Walk for Warmth, "she caught up (on her heating bill, and), is not only self-relient, but a contributor to Walk for Warmth. That 's what it's all about."

For more information about Walk for Warmth, including pledge sheets, call the HDC office in Sandusky at 810-648- 4497.

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