Press photos by
Dennis Wetherhold Jr. For Whitehall-Coplay Press. Used by permission.
Rev. Martha Sipe, St. John, Fullerton
When Kate Murtaugh heard about the devastation that Hurricane Katrina
caused along the Gulf Coast, like so many others, she wanted to do something
to help. When her congregation had a brainstorming session before worship
the following Sunday for ideas on how they could get involved in the
disaster relief efforts, Kate had an idea: She would organize a walkathon.
A junior at Whitehall-Coplay High School and a member of St. John
Lutheran Church, Fullerton (Whitehall), Kate got to work on the
details of her
plan right away. She began by writing a letter to the superintendent
of the school district, asking him for a meeting to discuss her ideas
and propose the use of the school track.
After meeting with the superintendent, the principal, the vice principal,
and the director of operations, Kate addressed the entire school board
at their meeting. The board was so impressed with her idea that they
offered the use of the track without charge.
Kate handled all the other details of the event, too, including developing
and distributing the sponsor sheets, soliciting donations from two
local grocery stores for snacks, and enlisting the help of her mom
in making baked goods for the event.
Finally, on a sunny Saturday morning in early November, two dozen members
and friends from St. John’s gathered at the Whitehall-Coplay
track. For three hours they walked and cheered one another on (and
to the marching band as they practiced), all to raise money for Katrina
For Kate, the most memorable part of the entire event came when she
figured out the total miles walked – 83_! “I was shocked that we
did such a great job!” she said. The event raised over $1,200.00.
Kate is modest about her efforts. “I think it's very important
that we recognize that the church collected tons of other donations through
other benefits – like the bake sale and yard sale, for example.
This was a whole-congregation effort, and I think we did a fantastic
job representing what a big difference a caring, close-knit church