By: Lacy Hilliard
Andy and Lisa Zeggert are a local couple on a mission. Actually, the Zeggerts are on far more than one mission. The pair co-founded a Christian outreach program in Johnson County called Old Mill Ministries and they have spent the past several years growing their reach and spreading positivity throughout the county.
One of the biggest endeavors Old Mill Ministries undertakes is their annual Back-to-School Bash. The 2013 Back-to-School Bash was held on July 27 at Old Mill Music Park in Laurel Bloomery. The event has grown in size and attendance each year and the Zeggerts are already busy making plans for 2014. At this years event, over 700 attendees enjoyed horseback rides, bouncy houses, face painting provided by several youth workers, and portraits by Rick Bellamy. Several local gospel and bluegrass groups and two youth groups entertained adults and children alike while they enjoyed a hotdog lunch with all the trimmings plus ice tea and bottled water as well as free popcorn and snow cones. After a program by Lisa and Andy Zeggert, the 450 backpacks, filled to the brim with school supplies, were handed out to the crowd.
The event received accolades from several people in attendance including Debbie Garland of Doe Valley who said, I wish Johnson County would realize everyday that Gods love is there for them, not just during the special times. It does my heart good to see everyone getting such blessings and getting along in Gods love and care. I just want everyone to know He is always there for them every day.
The blessings were plentiful at the Back-to-School Bash and so was the generosity of the many sponsors and volunteers that helped make it possible. A youth group from Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Vale, North Carolina and a group from Pleasant Beach Baptist Church in Elizabethton also played a large part in the success of the event. They pitched in wherever needed and provided their services with a thankful smile. Sponsors for the event included McDonalds who donated 60 biscuits and 15 gallons of tea, Food Country who donated about 1,200 hotdog buns, and Teammates Pizza who donated all of the hot dogs. Big Johns Closeout was also a corporate supporter with the owners, Jerry and Michelle Bowers, also going far above and beyond what was asked of them. Pleasant Beach Baptist Church gave the kids animal balloons, hoodies, gum, water, and prizes. Mount Vernon Church not only brought their youth group to help but also provided 150 toiletry bags for the high school students. People from that area gave clothes, school supplies, and even the use of an enclosed trailer for hauling. Leonard and Lesa Arnold of the gospel group, New Covenant, provided sound and entertainment. Also, there were two young bands, Mountain City Crossroads with Lois Dunn and Ten Gallon Drought, a band made up of high school students. All of these people and more are the reason the 2013 Back-to School-Bash was such a success.
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