By MARY RAINWATER
No matter the weather, brave men from Anderson County will don high heels and make their way around a portion of Palestine’s Loop 256 Saturday for the annual “Walk A Mile In Her Shoes” fundraiser event.
The one-mile walk, devised to bring awareness to the need to end violence against women, begins at 10 a.m. at Palestine Regional Medical Center and concludes at the Palestine Mall
The walk is part of Walk A Mile In Her Shoes International which links men’s walks around the globe together for the effort to stop family violence and sexual assault. The Palestine walk benefits victim services of the Crisis Center of Anderson & Cherokee Counties.
“There are close to 30 men who have stepped up to walk to show support for the women in our community,” Crisis Center Program Director Roger Pharr said. “The funds raised by each walker are incredibly important to the continued services provided by the Crisis Center to victims of family violence and sexual assault.”
Pharr hopes the community will come out and cheer the guys on along the walk route.
“High heels were not made for men’s feet,” said Pharr, who will start his fourth walk on Saturday. “But it’s important to us to publicly show that we don’t take the women in our community lightly. We want them to understand that we support them.
“More important, the walk is about men broadcasting to other men that violence against women isn’t going to be tolerated in our community,” he continued. “We’re letting out fishing buddies, poker buddies, and coworkers know that if they are abusing their spouses or girlfriends, we’re not going to keep quiet about it.”
Last year, two walks in Cherokee and Anderson counties raised over $25,000 for the Crisis Center. Pharr is confident that the combined efforts of the counties will far exceed that this year.
“We know that the community is behind our efforts,” he said.
The community is invited to walk along with the men, “and to do so in the most comfortable shoes you own,” Pharr said. “Come laugh, yell, and definitely whistle at us. We are going to need the support!”
Registered walkers are to check in from 9:15-9:45 a.m. Saturday morning for a free breakfast. The welcome and kick-off is at 9:45 a.m. and the men hit the street at 10 a.m.
Upon arrival at the Palestine Mall, Aaahhhhsome Salon & Spa will be giving free foot massages to the men in heels.
Walk-A-Mile-in-Her-Shoes 2013 is sponsored by Palestine Regional Medical Center, MKS Oilfield, Trimble & Company, ETMC-Jacksonville, Damsel in Defense, Austin Bank, Jeremy Harmel State Farm Insurance, Stackin Bills, Heart-to-Heart Hospice, Jacksonville Wal-Mart No. 180, Family First, Vance Royon Farmers Insurance, Snaps Photography, Keep It Rockin’, Bobby’s Tire, Cherokee County Electric Co-Op and Southside Bank.
Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org