Local 5-year-old Niles Hawkins will be named an honorary Walmart driver this Saturday at 11 a.m.
Niles will have the opportunity to ride in a semi-truck to the Washington Court House Walmart where he’ll be greeted with cake, balloons and gift cards that he will use to go on a shopping spree.
His special day has been organized by Walmart Heart, a group of Walmart drivers, as well as some other associates who are dedicated to helping individuals with disabilities “to feel special” and to giving “them a break from their normal daily routines,” according to Pamela Adkins, who is a human resources assistant for the Grove City Walmart Transportation team and a volunteer with Walmart Heart.
Niles, who was a premature baby, has suffered from some complications due to his early birth.
“We definitely would love to make the day special for this child,” said Adkins.
According to truckersnews.com, Walmart Heart was founded in 2006 by four Walmart drivers: Danny Ewell, Greg Carter, Phillip Hargrove, and Rickey Oliver. When the program began, about 300 drivers had agreed to participate. The group estimates that that number has now risen into the thousands. These drivers are not paid for their participation in Walmart Heart events.
The Grove City Walmart Heart Group members are: Mark Ferrando, Nick Koutz, Jeremy Justice, Brian Morrow, Greg Murphy, Chris Sheridan, Randy Shifflet, Joyce Stewart, Greg Vaughn, Pamela Adkins, Tamara Hopkins, Celeste McGuire and Jonathan Gaupp.
According to Adkins, “Our drivers are a group of really good people and they spend a lot of time and a lot of their own money to set up these events out of the kindness of their hearts.”
She also said, “it means a lot to them to see someone’s face and to help them have a special day.”
Reach Megan Neary at 614-440-9124 or @MeganNeary2