More than 100 runners and walkers participated in the Zack Towers benefit run on Saturday while another 60 attended to watch the race and donate money. The event raised more than $2,000 for the Towers family. Towers, a senior, has been hospitalized since he collapsed on the football field in the Bulldogs’ November 1 home game against the Crossett Eagles.
First place winner in the men’s division was Shannon Taylor with a time of 16:18. Keith Pridgen finished second with a time of 16:39. Ashley Weast was the winner in the women’s division with a time of 20:08 and 10-year-old Kaylee Eifling took second place in women’s with a time of 20:39.
The fundraiser was organized by Star City High School Cross Country Team and Cane Creek State Park, with volunteers from around the community and from various SCHS groups, Southside Baptist Church in Star City, and Boy Scout Troop 930. A 2 Z T-shirts, along with several Star City businesses, sponsored free t-shirts for all race participants. Bank of Star City provided “Tower Power” bracelets for all participants, and Piggly Wiggly donated hot dogs for everyone. Gardner Nursing Home handed out custom water bottles for all in attendance. The race was a great showing of community support for Zack Towers and his family.
“We were honored to have some of Zack’s immediate family in attendance, and over $2000 were raised,” said Geoff Wright, park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park. “We hope all the walkers and runners had a great time, and we also appreciate those who donated to the cause but didn’t walk or run. Everyone’s participation counts.”
The race began with a prayer by local minister Jeremy Woodall, then the participants were off on a 2.5 mile trail/road combination. People of all ages showed up to support the Towers family, and folks came from as far away as Conway and Fort Smith and from Mer Rouge, La.
After the race, Southside Baptist Church had a chili fundraiser, and Monica from A 2 Z Shirts was around to print custom Zack Towers-related t-shirts. All proceeds from the chili and t-shirts went to the Towers family. Community and high school volunteers cooked hot dogs out back, and everyone had a chance to socialize before the awards ceremony.
“The race is over, and it was a successful fundraising event, but let’s all remember that Zack and his family still need our prayers and support as he continues his recovery,” Wright said. “Special thanks for the event go out to Virginia and Verner Kiernan, Bank of Star City, Piggly Wiggly, Los Toritos, Pine Bluff Blueprint, Southside Baptist Church, Monica King, Boy Scout Troop 930, SCHS Cross Country Team, SCHS Beta Club, SCHS EAST Lab, SCHS Cheerleaders, the staff and family of Cane Creek State Park, and all the other volunteers that helped make this fundraiser a success. It was a shining example of how a community can rally together to support a worthy cause.”