South Georgia man's legacy lives on - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

South Georgia man's legacy lives on

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A south Georgia man's legacy lives on, one year after he was shot during a robbery at his business.

Walter Phelps died a month after that attack.

Several young men are charged with the murder.

Phelps' family wants to make sure other young people do not go down that path.

Lee Branch YMCA is sponsoring the first Walter Phelps Memorial fun run.

Walter Phelps daughter told me her family wants to give back to the community that her father loved so much.

Walter Phelps was shot and robbed at his P and P Garden and Hardware store one year ago.

He died about a month later from his injuries.

His daughter Leigh Anne Aaron, along with the rest of the family, has organized a fun run in his memory.

"Now that we have had this to focus on, it is really helped us come together as a family," Leigh Anne AaronWalter Phelps daughter/Race Director.

She said her father lived his life giving back to the community and employing young people in his business.

"We looked at it and thought, well do we want to focus on the victims or de we want to focus on the youth and we decided you know daddy would always employ youth that other people would not and give them an opportunity and so we decided we wanted to carry on that legacy," says Aaron.

The fun run benefits the YMCA's "Reach for the Stars Summer Program" in the hopes of giving at risk youth a positive direction, to prevent crimes.

"Then that will keep them off the streets and get involved and will also show them leadership possibilities where they can grow and be a leader themselves," says Aaron.

The 5K race and one mile fun run are part of the Run and See Georgia Grand Prix Series.

Don Vanoteghem, who runs about 4 times per week, says he is proud to be a part of such a meaningful race.

"I think it is great that you can memorialize someone in a respectful fashion like that," says Don Vanoteghem, Runner/ Lee County H. S. Teacher.

He says runners will enjoy the partially shaded trail in the woods that The Y-M-C-A created specifically for this run.

"It is much more scenic, more shade, and we enjoy the shade for sure especially this time of year," says Vanoteghem.

And Leigh Anne says she is confident her father is proud they are celebrating his life instead of mourning his death.

"I think that he is able to see all of this because it has been so positive rather than us walking around in grief all the time," says Aaron.

The run will be held Saturday, August 6th at the Lee Branch YMCA.

Prizes and refreshments will be provided.

Register at www.active.com, or pick up a registration form at the Lee Branch YMCA or the Albany YMCA.

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