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The death of Georgia College Professor Allison Everett left an enormous void within college circles as well as throughout Milledgeville and Baldwin County.
Everett died from injuries she received in a head-on collision in October 2016 on Lake Laurel Road near Milledgeville.
This weekend, back-to-back community events will be held to help raise money for the Allison Everett Scholarship Fund at GC.
The first event will be a gospel sing on Friday night, featuring many notable singers at Freedom Church, located at 500 Underwood Road in Milledgeville. And on Saturday, a 5K will get underway at the Oconee Greenway, beginning with pre-registration at 7:30 a.m., and the race starting at 9 a.m.
Toyia Barnes said the gospel concert is free to the public. It begins at 6 p.m. A love offering will be taken up and proceeds will go to the Allison Everett Scholarship Fund at GC.
The Allison Everett Gospel Concert is hosted and sponsored by Freedom Church, where Everett attended and participated in many community-wide church events. The pastor there is the Rev. Tim Thomas.
Some of the featured singers at the gospel concert will include Sheerah Collins, Jon Scott, Chrissy Graham and Laurie Meeks, as well as others.
Those attending the gospel concert are asked to bring a can of food in memory of Everett’s special feed the hungry project that became so successful at Café Central.
“Tuesday, Sept. 3, is her birthday, so we thought that this weekend would be a perfect opportunity to put these events together to remember her,” Barnes said, noting that the 5K event on Saturday will be sponsored by the GC Exercise Science Club.
Everett would have celebrated her 54th birthday today (Tuesday).
Barnes, who serves as the office coordinator at GC’s Exercise and Sciences Building, said Everett deeply loved her family, the Lord and gospel concerts.
“She also believed in living a healthy life, so we all wanted to do something that really defined who she was and what she was all about while she was here on earth,” Barnes said.
She said Everett was one of her closest friends a relationship that grew through the love that Everett had for God, Barnes said.
“Her love for the Lord; and thus her family became my family,” Barnes added. “She babysat my kids when I needed help. She was just a good person. She was genuine to everybody. What you saw with Allison is what you got with Allison. She just had such a great heart for people.”
Barnes said it was amazing to see the number of lives that Everett touched — not only in Milledgeville and Baldwin County but many parts of Middle Georgia.
“She had such a love to help people, and a love for people,” Barnes said. “She was the first one to sign up if you needed help. She was always there. She was just the salt of the earth. We all really lost a genuine person — we really did.”
Barnes said to know Allison Everett was to know an honest, faithful person.
“To have known her was to never forget her,” Barnes said. “This lady was absolutely amazing.”
Mike Martino, exercise science program coordinator at GC, said he prefers to think of the upcoming events as a labor of love for someone who gave so much of herself to the community.
“We were very close friends, just like Toyia and I,” Martino said in a recent telephone interview. “I’ve been here 23 years, and she was here that entire time. So, I knew her for 20 years.”
Asked what he remembers most about Everett, Martino didn’t hesitate to respond.
“It was her loving spirit and her desire to care for others,” Martino said.
During the food drive that has been held for many years between GC and Freedom Church, Martino said the year before Everett tragically was killed in the car crash that she wanted to establish a goal so it would give students something to strive toward.
That crash also claimed the life of Everett’s 54-year-old brother, David Black, who also lived in Milledgeville. The wreck also seriously injured Everett’s husband.
“I said, ‘Well, it's 2015 or 2016, why don’t you say we want 2,015 or 2,016 items,’” Martino recalled, noting that goal was surpassed. “We delivered more than 2,000 food items for the hungry of this community.”
Martino said there has been a void at GC and in the community since Everett’s death.
“That’s why we wanted to establish this scholarship so that her memory would live on forever,” Martino said. “We don’t ever want Alison to be forgotten because she helped so many people while in life.”
At one time Everett was the owner of a business in Milledgeville.
“She owned her own business back in the day, and she worked for me at BodyPlex, too,” Martino said. “She was just such a great person.”
Martino described his longtime friend as a devoted spouse and mother.
“She was really a great person,” Martino said. “Our community really lost a hero in many ways. She was always smiling and being helpful to so many people all the time. The students absolutely adored her.”
Everett was one of the people that Martino said he relied on to share scripture from the Bible.
“We talked about our spirituality a lot and how God plays such a vital role in our lives, and we shared Biblical verses,” Martino said, pointing out that it helped both of them get through some difficult times in their personal lives. “We were both usually the first two people to get to work every morning, so we would talk about things going on in our lives. Sometimes she would ask me for advice and other times I’d get advice from her about something going on in my life.”
Martino said Everett had a notebook with verses that were all about the importance of a personal relationship with God and your relationship with your spouse or significant other.
“That book went around, probably to hundreds of people,” Martino said.
He remembered she loaned the book him one time and directed him to go through it.
“She wanted me to pick out what resonated with me, and then I gave it back to her to somebody else that I thought might could use it,” Martino said. “It was just amazing how many people actually were helped by that book.”
Martino said even though the gospel concert is separate, the proceeds from it will go to the Allison Everett Memorial Race and to the Allison Everett Scholarship Fund.
“And then the Georgia College Exercise Science Club of which I am the mentor will take proceeds from the race into the endowed scholarship also,” Martino said.
Pre-registration for the 5K on Saturday will begin at 7:30 a.m.