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BHS senior ‘pays forward’

May 18, 2012

Cody Walters

    Cody Walters, who stands about 5-7, was one of the toughest guys on that Bellmont Sectional football championship team last fall. Today, in the eyes of many, he stands much taller than the new World Trade Center building going up in New York City; taller than that "world's biggest" in Dubai.
    It was Cody Walters who, when he learned a friend's mother was battling breast cancer, charged ahead harder than he ever did on a football field, and he was one tough dude when he was toting that ball. The senior at Bellmont launched a website to accept money offers to help his friend's familiy. He set a goal of $100 ... and raised the goal several times.
    Today, the fund has raised over $5,000 for Katie and Matt Birch and their family, including Isaac, the football player/wrestler who was one of a close-knit group of football players who last fall overcame a lot of odds to secure only the school's second Sectional championship ever.
    That amount is more than a little impressive when viewed in the context that there was no formal publicity about the collection, just word-of-mouth, much of it through social media.
    Cody also launched a campaign to get all the football guys and anyone else going to the prom to wear pink vests with their tuxes, in honor of Issac's mom. Last Saturday, Bellmont held what had to be the pinkest prom of all time, and the pink was glowing when Katie and family showed up to mingle and say thanks.
     "Yeh, there was a lot of pink," Cody chuckled earlier this week. "And Katie was there; that was pretty impressive (since she was only 11 days removed from surgery)."
    After he learned in mid-April of Katie's diagnosis, Cody used the website designed for such a purpose. "Isaac was my teammate and I just wanted to help the familiy," he explained. "Something like this happened in our family a few years ago and I thought I needed to pay it forward."
    Project Pink Vest became the code name for the fund and the exercise in humanitarianism by the young guy.
    Cody, the son of Mark and Susan Walters of rural Decatur, began his camaign with a goal of $100. Soon the goal became $1,000, then $2,000, then 3 and 4 ... and today the fund stands at over $5,000. Again, strictly through social media and word of mouth until late last week.
    "That was what really surprised me, the amount of money we got," Cody said. "We started out with a goal of $100 and went past that real quick. In theee weeks we were over $5,000. It was pretty much a long shot that we'd ever get that much."
    The money is deposited in First Bank of Berne and is for, Walters explained, "Whatever the family needs. Katie is going to be off work (Adams Memorial Hospital) for awhile and they'll be able to use it for things like gas money (traveling for treatments in Fort Wayne), things like that."
    To make a donation and/or to see just what's going on, go to: gofundme.com/project-pink-vest That's where you'll find Cody's pink-filled site.
    Walters says donations also may be given to him or another student who knows Cody. or by visiting First Bank of Berne and saying you'd like to make a donation to Project Pink Vest.
    Next falll, Cody will be carrying a football for Manchester College/University. For now, he's carrying the ball for a friend and the friend's family. And the young man is ever thankful for the community support that simply overwhelmed him.
    "I sure want to thank the community for everything they've done," he said with obvious sincerity. "I'm so thankful."

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