By Marla Jones, Sports Editor
Thirteen-year old Bryson Richey was in a tragic ATV accident which led to the amputation of his left leg. Bryson was a 3-sport athlete, and was very competitive in all three. To continue to play the sports that he loves, he will have to have a special sports prosthetic. To honor his determination to be back involved in sports and to help aid in expenses, a 5k/Fitness Walk and Fun Run was held Sunday at the Rainsville Civic Center. Over 700 people registered for the event. There were donations and registered runners from throughout the South.
Bryson Strong started with an idea from Pam Willingham and Marcie Davis. They both had directed 5k races and knew this was a way to help the Richey family. The two asked fellow runner and Freedom Fest Director, Jerry Clifton to join them in getting the race to become a reality. Jerry was an obvious choice due to his success in the Rainsville Freedom Fest. With the addition of Ashley Jackson and Lindy Vizzinia, the Bryson Strong Race Committee was formed.
“Everyone who knows Bryson, knows how athletic he was. He was a superstar at every sport he played” said race coordinator, Pam Willingham. “He will need a different prosthesis to play sports. Knowing his love for sports, we wanted to be able to help him get back to what he loved.”
The community gathered to show their love for the Richey family. Before the race started, participants joined in prayer for him. Bryson and his friends rode in a golf cart and gave encouragement to all the participants. His encouragement kept so many motivated. He is not a quitter. When most peopel would have gave up, Bryson has remained strong. A few months before the accident, Bryson gave a speech on never giving up, no matter what the circumstance.
True to his speech, he has not. He has received motivation from several special people including, coaches from Alabama and Auburn University.
The Bryson Strong race helped raise $34,500 to go toward the purchase of a special sports prosthesis. The mother of Bryson, Danielle Richey, spoke to the crowd of participants Sunday. She, along with the entire Richey family, expressed their appreciation. She asked that everyone that attended the event, to come back and watch Bryson when he gets back doing what he loves, playing ball. We at the Southern Torch wish Bryson the best of luck and can not wait to see him back in action.