Event emotional and heart-warming

Published 7:58 pm Tuesday, October 19, 2010

On Saturday morning, I had the opportunity to cover a truly emotional and heart-warming event at Dan and Bonnie Provence’s Spring Hill Christmas Tree Farm.

It was the first Epic 5K 5,000-meter, 3.1-mile Challenge to raise money for the Dylan Reid Faircloth the First Memorial Cross Country Scholarship.

The Challenge, which will be an annual event, is named in honor and memory of an outstanding young man, student athlete and 2010 Bainbridge High School graduate who tragically lost his life in an automobile accident.

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Special guests for the day were former Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets quarterback and Northside Warner Robins High School Eagles head football coach Stan Gann and his wife, Sissi.

Coach Gann received the heart of Dylan, who was an organ donor.

The turnout of Bainbridge and Decatur County citizens for Saturday’s big event was tremendous.

Dylan’s mother, June Faircloth, put things in perspective when she said the great turnout showed how much love everyone had for Dylan and his enthusiasm for and dedication to Coach Mandi O’Mara’s BHS cross country program.

Many of Dylan’s teammates came out to honor him by running in the event.

The five-member team of Davey Reynolds, Laura Cerone, John Hemanes, Georgia Hodges and Tyler Pollock spelled out Dylan with a letter on each of their sleeves.

Also running to honor their teammate and friend were the Lady Cats team of Morgan Lane, Maryanna Cunningham, Savannah Cook and Charlton Reynolds.

I commend Coach O’Mara, who has built a strong BHS cross country program, for putting together Saturday’s outstanding event in an outstanding young man’s memory.

Coach Gann said he and his wife, Sissi, attended the Bearcats and Lady Cats recent meet in Warner Robins, Ga., and was very impressed with their performance.

“You can tell that Coach O’Mara’s runners really work hard in preparation for their competitions,” he said. “They are all dedicated athletes.”

I enjoyed meeting and talking with Coach Gann, who quarterbacked Atlanta Northside High School to a 1957 state championship and went on to have an outstanding career as a collegiate quarterback under legendary Head Coach Bobby Dodd at Georgia Tech. He is also a former coach of two high school football teams in the Warner Robins area.

The scholarship in Dylan’s name, which Saturday’s Challenge benefited, will allow a BHS cross country runner to pursue his or her college education each year.

In conclusion, let me just say what an honor, privilege and pleasure it was for me to have the opportunity to cover such an outstanding event in honor and memory of such an outstanding young man.