Chance meeting leads to shaved head, ticket sales

Published 1:44 am Saturday, October 29, 2016

In the two-and-half weeks since Randy Hildreth happened to meet Traci Flowers at the Kiwanis Covington County Fair, he’s sold 310 raffle tickets and shaved his head, all for a good cause.

Randy Hildreth and Gordie Cartwright met for the first time on Thursday.

Randy Hildreth and Gordie Cartwright met for the first time on Thursday.

“I have no doubt the Lord put me in her path,” Hildreth said Friday.

Hildreth went to the fair, he said, to hear the Whatley Street Baptist Mighty Men’s Chorus perform.

“I listened to them, then walked around outside,” he said. “I was leaving, and was within 200 feet of walking out the door when I noticed a lady was looking at me.

“She said, ‘Excuse me, sir. What is your name?’

“She had been given my name as someone who might be willing to help her with a fundraiser,” he said.

Flowers, who is an owner of Andalusia Armory, organized a fundraiser for Straughn High School’s Gordie Cartwright, who was diagnosed two years ago with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia. He has exhausted all medications for this type of leukemia, and will receive a bone marrow transplant from his sister, Ginee, in the coming weeks.

Flowers’ fundraiser will give away a firearm each day for 10 days, with drawings set for Nov. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18. Tickets are $10.

When she asked Hildreth to help her, he agreed, and accepted a package of tickets, then began posting on social media about their availability.

“Within about two minutes, I got a response from somebody who said he wanted 25,” Hildreth said. “I checked the envelope, and only had 20.”

He kept picking up more tickets, and before last night’s ballgame, he had sold 310.

“It’s been amazing,” he said. “People have really been responding.”

Hildreth knew Gordie’s father, but had never met the beneficiary of the fundraiser. He decided this week to meet him.

“I like to put a face with what I’m doing,” he said. “You can get inside people’s hearts if they understand.”

So he arranged a meeting for Thursday afternoon. Almost as an afterthought, he decided to shave his head in solidarity with Gordie, who is losing his hair as an effect of chemo.

“I was really amazed at the kind of person Gordie is,” Hildreth said. “He is a well-mannered, very polite young man. He has a great attitude about fighting his disease.”

Hildreth said he first hoped to sell 100 tickets, but now that he’s exceeded that goal, he wants to hit 500 or better.

Hildreth is retired from the Air Force and operates a small business. He never thinks of himself as a salesman.

“Me, I just think the good Lord is blessing us,” he said. “According to a post Gordie’s mother put on Facebook, the transplant will cost $1.2 million. He’ll have to stay in Houston for four to six months.

“I know the Lord put me in Tracy’s path that night,” Hildreth said. “The Lord has blessed this endeavor a lot.

Something very strong inside of me was telling me just keep running with it, and see what you can do.”

For information about the fundraiser, contact Flowers at 406-0793. Tickets are available at Andalusia Armory, Deals on Wheels, Harold’s, Vinny’s in Gantt and Barnes Tire.