on June 1, 2007 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

Pendleton raises funds to remember youth

PENDLETON — The spirit of Justin Trotter refuses to die. A nature trail named for the Pendleton youth — who lost his battle to cancer in September 2004 — is nearing fruition. Friends Of The Park (FOTP) is guiding the project, Trotter’s Trail, which is being constructed at Veteran’s Park. Trotter lost his battle with cancer at the age of 15 after being diagnosed three years earlier.

Trotter’s Trail will cost approximately $21,000 to complete. On Saturday, the Pendleton Bi-Lo in Pendleton will help raise funds for the trail by hosting a dunking booth and hot dog sale from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. According to a press release, the dunking booth will give participants a chance to soak local dignitaries. Bi-Lo will reprise their hot dog sale on June 9.

Trotter’s Trail will be a winding 1,400-foot long trail through the woods adjacent to Barrett’s Place Playground. Constructed in 2005, Barrett’s Place is a top-flight playground constructed in memory of Barrett Beck. The 12-year-old Pendleton resident died in a tragic gun accident.

The Trotter’s Trail layout will feature an asphalt surface to accommodate wheelchair traffic. A width of six feet was chosen because it could allow simultaneous wheelchair use on both sides of the path. At one point during his sickness, Trotter’s leg needed to be amputated and the youth was confined to a wheelchair.

Volunteers have already completed the trail’s 24-foot long, 6-foot wide bridge. Ed Kirkley, retired Engineering Construction Executive with Fluor, has been instrumental in organizing this volunteer effort and overseeing the project.

“It’s going to be a gorgeous place,” said FOTP member Margie Whelchel.

When asked why she became involved with the Trotter’s Trail project, Whelchel said: “That boy enlightened me. He had such a wonderful outlook on life, loved living and loved everybody. It makes you want to live every day like he was doing. He made an impact on everyone he met.”

PPIM officials decided on a nature trail in remembrance of Justin Trotter because of the youth’s love for the outdoors.

Formed in 2005, FOTP is an arm of Pendleton Pride in Motion (PPIM), a 501(c)(3) organization that works closely with Pendleton town officials. PPIM generated more than $180,000 and mobilized over 1,600 volunteers to build Barrett’s Place. According to PPIM director Jo McConnell, the organization has donated $10,000 to the Trotter’s Trail effort. The project is also raising money through various fundraising efforts, including concession sales at Pendleton’s Spring Jubilee and a recent reenactment at Ashtabula.

“Pendleton is just a really close community,” McConnell said. “With the high school and Riverside Middle School being within town limits, I think that’s the reason (Trotter’s Trail) has hit such a chord with the community.”

Other upcoming Trotter’s Trail fundraising events:

• June 8 – “’50s Night” at First Baptist Church. The $20 tickets include dinner; a mystery show, “Fatal Fifties Affair” presented by The Show Offs; and a sock hop. Tables for eight can be reserved for the event, which starts at 6:30 p.m. For ticket information, call Debra Padgett at (864) 646-7748.

• June 9 – Bi-Lo hot dog sale

• June 30 – Independence Day celebration at Veteran’s Park 6 p.m. Free admission and fireworks. Concessions will be available for purchase. For more information call Kirsten Woods of Pendleton Home Builders at (864) 331-0480.

To make a tax-deductible donation to Trotter’s Trail, mail checks to Pendleton Pride in Motion, P.O. Box 1192, Pendleton, SC 29670 and designate “Trotter’s Trail” on the check’s memo line.