A local sports star is coming home to help out his old school.
Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Vance Walker is returning to Fort Mill to lend a hand and help raise money for middle school sports at Fort Mill Middle.
Walker, a 2005 graduate of Fort Mill High, is just the second NFL player from Fort Mill. He spent four years with the Atlanta Falcons and one with the Oakland Raiders. This off season he signed a three-year contract with Kansas City, which won a division title and earned its first playoff berth in years last season. Walker was drafted in the seventh round out of Georgia Tech by Atlanta in 2009.
He will help with the Fort Mill Middle Running Five to Keep Sports Alive 5K to raise money for the school’s sport programs. Walker, who went to Fort Mill Middle, was contacted by his middle school coach Darryall White.
“He was on board when he realized what the state of athletics was,” said Tony Caricari, assistant principal at Fort Mill Middle. “Vance will be there race day and we hope he will start the race and we hope to have him sign autographs.”
Caricari said he hopes to raise between $10,000 and $15,000. The $10,000 is needed to pay for sports at the school. The other $5,000 is needed for equipment.
Middle school sports are not paid for by the Fort Mill School Board after a change in the way the state funds public schools and the recession. Parents formed a booster club to raise the money needed to keep middle school sports programs running. Last year, the school board allocated more than $60,000 in surplus revenue to the middle school sports fund.
The 5K will start at the Walter Elisha Park at 9 a.m. Saturday. A fun run will start at 9:30 a.m.
Caricari said having someone like Walker return home means even more than getting a Carolina Panther to help out.
“It’s huge,” he said. “It’s a connection with our school. Because people know that he walked the same halls and played on the same fields.”
Caricari said he wants to have nearly 500 people participate in the event, and already has about 300 signed up. The cost of the 5K is $30 and $35 on race day. The fun run is $12 or $15 on race day.
To sign up for the race, go to runningfive.racesonline.com.