In a day meant to honor the memory of Hannah Rinehart, the young woman who died tragically in early September of this year, friends and family gathered to run a race and raise some money.
Snellville Patch, Operation Appreciation and 104.7 The Fish put the event together to honor Hannah's memory, but also to raise money for Operation Appreciation, a nonprofit dedicated to helping former and current National Guard families in need. Founder Beth Waters took on the case of Mark Rinehart, Hannah's widower, while she was in the hospital.
When Dan Smith, an old friend of Mark's, heard about Hannah's passing, he wanted to reach out and find a way to show Mark that he is not alone.
On Sunday, Nov. 18, over 100 people turned out to show him exactly that.
"I just wanted to do something, anything, to help him out," he said when he first began planning the event.
As friends old and new showed up to participate in the race, walk and games, Mark said that it was just surreal. Many friends from his graduating class came, some of whom he had not seen for a decade.
"Among the blessings in my life, I am thankful for a community that has gone out of their way to make me feel loved and supported," Mark wrote to supporters after the event. "When that community is your own hometown, and those people are the families and kids you grew up with, that love and acceptance only feels more endearing."