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Local pastor’s walkathon to benefit community

The Rev. Melissa Pratt, senior pastor of Teays Valley Church of God, will walk 63 miles to raise funds and awareness for a building project geared to benefit the community.

Pratt, 44, has been walking 10 miles a day on most days to prepare for the upcoming walk to take place Oct. 7, 8, 10 and 11.

"I am not an athlete," she said. "I am a short, chubby person. My feet, hips and back hurt. I have blisters and new calluses. I live on ibuprofen. It's pain for a purpose. It's a blessing to do this."

The church is in the process of building a community ministry center on a 74-acre tract of land. The building will include a multipurpose area with a double gymnasium, kitchen, indoor walking track, and conference rooms.

"It will be open to Putnam County residents seven days a week," Pratt said. "Putnam County has grown so quickly that parks and indoor facilities can't keep up."

When Pratt came to the church as pastor in October of 2006, the church already owned the property located about a mile from the church. Within the last few years the size of the congregation has grown along with giving. The current church building along with two homes are for sale for $2.2 million.

Site preparation will cost about $1 million. Plans call for raising $1.1 million and borrowing $1 million. The ministry center is to be phase one of a three-year building project that will cost an estimated $4.3 million. Selling the current property would speed along building plans.

The current church is located at 4430 Teays Valley Road and the construction site is one mile away. It is located east of Rocky Step Road off Teays Valley Road. The public is already using the land that now includes a picnic shelter that seats 100, two sand volleyball courts, a playground, restroom facilities, and two miles of hiking trails.

Pratt said she has already garnered much community support for her upcoming walk.

"I am in awe of the generosity," said Pratt, who has raised about $9,000 in just two weeks.

Among community donors are Milton Rotary, Putnam County Rotary, Fifth Third Bank, Putnam County Bank, Pray Construction, Teays Valley Hardware, and Arts in Action.

"Arbogast Pianos donated three pianos for me to sell," she said. "One is $1,000 and two are $800. They are used and in nice condition. All proceeds go to the walkathon."

Pratt plans to walk on Oct. 7, 8, 10 and 11 with a break scheduled for Oct. 9. Her husband, the Rev. Thomas Pratt, has been training with her. During the event, called Mission Possible, he will follow along in an RV.

Contributions are tax deductible. Checks for the building project should be made payable to Teays Valley Church of God and sent to P.O. Box 270, Scott Depot, WV 25560. Go to for online contributions. 

Contact writer Charlotte Ferrell Smith at or 304-348-1246.





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