Benefit attracts people who just want to help

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 4, 2003

VIDALIA, La. &045; When Jamey Rushing found out in September, just a couple of weeks after his wedding, that he had colon cancer, things seemed at their lowest.

But in the months since his diagnosis, Rushing and his new wife, Lynn, have also found themselves surrounded by angels.

&uot;Before all this happened, I thought the world was just dog eat dog,&uot; Rushing said softly, shaking his head in disbelief. &uot;Since then, I’ve seen what real caring is.&uot;

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It was just then that the Rushings’ &uot;angels&uot; began to sing.

Starting early Saturday afternoon and continuing well into the night, with nearly a dozen acts taking the stage at the Riverview RV Park for a gospel concert. Proceeds went to pay the Rushings’ rising expenses.

Some of the top gospel acts &045; some from as far away as McCall Creek, Miss. &045; donated their time and talents to the benefit, said Ronnie Cox of Vidalia, one of the event’s organizers.

Others also donated their time in other roles. Mike Harrell, for example, heard about the Rushings’ plight through his church, First Baptist Church of Vidalia.

He walked up and down Carter Street in Vidalia, eventually getting businesses to give more than $700 and to donate more than 70 items to auction at the concert.

Those items, most auctioned enthusiastically by Harrell himself, ranged from a smoked turkey to a hand-carved walking stick to a truckload of pit run gravel.

As soon as the Rushings are mentioned, Harrell cranes his neck toward the back of the park’s multipurpose room, which was beginning to fill with people.

&uot;Are they here?&uot; said Harrell, 64. &uot;I’ve never met ’em before.&uot;

Brushing off praise, Harrell said he was just a retiree looking for something to do, &uot;and it seemed like a worthy cause.&uot;

That’s right &045; Harrell did all that walking for someone he had never met. Lynn Rushing would never have believed such generosity was possible until recently.

&uot;It is awesome. God is so good. I give all the glory to Him,&uot; said Lynn Rushing, who was manning the concession stand.

&uot;The other day, we got a $500 donation. Then, when I was at the hospital, a lady I didn’t know emptied her coin purse into my hands.&uot;

There isn’t even time to name all the people whose names she has found out, so she thanks them all at one time. &uot;God will bless each and every one for what they’ve done,&uot; she said.

For his part, Cox &045; an organizer with Roy and Pat Doughty and others &045; also dismisses praise but has plenty of kudos for those who have made donations to benefit the Rushings.

&uot;The support of people in this area has just been wonderful, and I want to say thanks to all of them,&uot; Cox said.

A fund has also been set up at Concordia Bank & Trust for Jamey Rushing, and the local chapter of ABATE has set up a benefit motorcycle run for later this month.

Meanwhile, Jamey Rushing has had to quit his offshore job and endure no fewer than five surgeries and chemotherapy.

But in the midst of it all, he is still thankful.

&uot;If it hadn’t been for family and the works of God and for people I don’t even know praying for me, I couldn’t have made it,&uot; he said.