Walter Phelps memory lives on - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Walter Phelps memory lives on

It's been over a year now since former Lee County commissioner Walter Phelps died from injuries he received during a violent armed robbery.

But family members of the late Albany businessman want to see his name remembered not for how he died, but how he lives.

Today the Lee County YMCA sponsored the first annual Walter Phelps Memorial fun run.

Lee County residents came together to run in memory of Walter Phelps.

His oldest son said the large turnout is a testament to his memory.

"How folks in this community saw him and felt about him, To come our and blaze this heat and put in 5K is a tremendous effort," says Chuck Phelps, Walter Phelps' son.

Chuck, along with the rest of the family, organized a fun run to honor their father.

"It gives us something as a family to focus on, rather than dwell on what is happened and put a positive spin," says Chuck Phelps.

Four men are charged with Phelps' murder and the family wants to make sure other young people do not go down that path.

"If we provide the children a better opportunity, then there will be less victims in the world," says Chuck Phelps.

He says this event is to help the youth of Lee County and the YMCA's "Reach for the Stars Summer Program," in hopes of giving at risk youth a positive direction.

Something Walter Phelps tried doing while he was alive.

"He really tried to give children that were underprivileged a step up and help them get jobs, and help them learn work ethic and to earn money on their own. He was trying to instill those qualities in young children," says Shea Fears, Family Friend.

Shea Fears came out today to support the Phelps family and honor Walter Phelps.

In elementary school, she was good friends with Walter's daughter, Leigh Anne.

"I would spend the night with her on Friday nights and we would get up and go to the store on Saturday and play," says Fears.

Chuck Phelps also spent his childhood days at work with his dad, along with many people in the community.

"I run into them in my professional life and they will remind me that they stood beside me on the pea machine back when we were little, shelling peas or butter beans," says Chuck Phelps.

Walter's family says he would be proud they are celebrating his life rather than mourning his death.

The runners enjoyed a partially shaded trail in the woods that The YMCA created specifically for this run.

Copyright 2011 WALB.  All rights reserved.   

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