A friendly competition is heating up between the county Republican parties in Georgia to see who can win the title of “Most Generous,” and Upson County’s Republican Party is seeking the help of the community to put them in the top spot. However, the contest is about much more than just a title; it is about helping support a local charity, the Bowen Story Fund, which is dedicated to enhancing the lives of families dealing with pediatric cancer who have to travel more than 50 miles away from their home for treatment. Since the need of each family going through treatment is different, the contest will collect gift cards from now until June 15 for restaurants, gas, grocery stores and pharmacies to be given to the Bowen Story Fund for distribution.
J.D. Stallings, Chairman of Upson County’s Republican Party, is part of the state organization’s Community Service Committee, whose focus is to demonstrate President Reagan’s message of Republican optimism. The group has met for the past year and recently chose four charities to be the beneficiaries of the contest, of which the Bowen Story Fund was one. Stallings suggested the local group when narrowing down the list and the rest of the committee quickly jumped on board.
“I went to school with Scott and knew about the Bowen Story Fund so I suggested it to the group,” said Stallings. “They were very interested because it is specifically for helping people outside of Atlanta. This should excite all of us because Bo was a resident of Upson County and this is a great chance to show the state how generous this community can be when it comes to good causes.”
The Bowen Story Fund is named after Bo Story, a courageous little boy who fought hard against medulloblastoma, a highly malignant brain tumor, from the time he was 23 months old to just before his fourth birthday in August 2011 when he received God’s ultimate healing. In his memory, Bo’s parents founded the Bowen Story Fund in hopes of helping other families who were going through the same type of things they had while their son was receiving treatment. Though his life on Earth was rather short, the strength that Bo showed while battling cancer inspired many people, especially his own family. That inspiration led to the creation of their personal motto, “Be Strong, Be Bo Strong,” which also serves as the motto of the charity.
Scott Story, Bo’s father, is honored their organization was selected to be part of this fundraiser.
“I am so happy that J.D. has pushed to get the Bowen Story Fund recognized in the state Republican Party. It is an honor to have my son’s legacy remembered with the GOP,” said Story. “I am so proud of the legacy Bo left with helping and inspiring people. To have others step up and help us truly warms my heart. I can’t say thank you enough to J.D. and all of the county Republican parties participating. This will provide much needed gas, meal, and grocery gift cards to families fighting childhood cancer. These are things we felt a need for when Bo was sick, so this way we can help where we know it’s needed. I thank each of you that support this local charity for families fighting childhood cancer! Be inspiring! Be incredible! Be Bo Strong!”
According to Stallings, county parties participating in the competition will be divided into categories based on population; that way a smaller county like Upson is not going against the larger counties such as Fulton. The counties will be broken into four groups of fewer than 80,000 citizens; 80,000-200,000; 200,001-300,000; and over 300,000. The winning county party will receive recognition from the State Party and the individual winner in each category will receive two tickets to the Fall Victory Dinner and the private reception beforehand, photos with elected officials, and special recognition both in the dinner program and at the dinner.
Those wishing to help donate to the cause should purchase gift cards in the amounts of $10-$25 and from vendors that have locations in the Atlanta area. Some of these include restaurants like Chili’s, McDonald’s, Subway and Zaxby’s; big box stores such as Walmart and Target; drug stores such as Walgreen’s and CVS and grocery stores such as Kroger and Publix.
All cards donated for the Upson County Republican Party must be turned in by June 15 and can be mailed to Chairman J.D. Stallings at 119 R Street, Thomaston, GA 30286. You may also contact him by email at email@example.com.
Ashley Biles can be reached by calling 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @AshleyBiles1