Stewart Eaton of Hattiesburg is the winner of a new, fully-loaded Toyota Highlander XSE, thanks to the Forrest General Healthcare Foundation Win This Car! raffle.
On Thursday, August 26, Joe Paul, chairman of the Foundation, drew Eaton’s name as the official ticketholder in this year’s raffle, which benefits addiction treatment and recovery at Pine Grove Behavioral Health and Addiction Services, Forrest General Healthcare Foundation’s latest project. Only 1,400 tickets were sold.
The announcement was made following a live drawing at Toyota of Hattiesburg. Eaton picked up the keys to his Toyota Highlander on Friday morning.
“This is something we buy a ticket for EVERY year,” said Susan Eaton, Stewart’s wife. “We joke about it. Last year we had to buy our daughter a car, but decided we would wait until we won the Foundation’s raffle drawing. When that didn’t happen, we laughed. Now that everybody has a car, we win one.”
Stewart, a clinical therapist at Pine Grove, is actually the one who purchased the ticket. He said he knew the drawing was happening, but didn’t expect a call.
“This is just great,” he said. “The Foundation does great work with their projects. And, this one with Pine Grove is especially something that means a lot to me and the people I work with. It will be exciting to see the fruits of these projects in the next couple of years.”
“We don’t buy tickets for things like this,” said Susan. “But we do purchase one of these tickets each year because this is where he works. And, we know everybody contributing makes something good happen, so winning is always secondary. You never think you’re going to win.”
Funds raised from the campaign will be used for the completion of the Spiritual Grounds at Pine Grove, complementing the existing Circle of Healing sculpture, the Fire Circle, the Meditative Labyrinth and the Medicine Wheel. The final two elements include the Pine Grove Chapel and the Bell Tower.
Located on the Pine Grove campus, the Chapel will serve as a peaceful and serene setting for small groups, meditation, personal reflection,or simply a place to relax and enjoy.
The Bell Tower, consisting of artistic soaring pieces of steel and wood with three bronze bells, will have a much deeper meaning at Pine Grove. The three bells symbolize the journey of addiction. As a patient ends the first part of their journey, they ring a bell to celebrate. Upon finishing the second part of the journey, they find it requires someone to help physically ring the second bell. On the final journey, the patient discovers it takes a group to ring the third bell, strengthening the idea that as we heal, we must reach out and seek help from others.
“I feel incredibly humbled by the overwhelming generosity of our community and Forrest General’s employees,” said Martha Dearman, executive director of the Forrest General Healthcare Foundation. “There’s something beautiful and peaceful about communing with nature during the recovery process. In addition to aiding in their recovery, the Spiritual Grounds offer patients a unique experience that can only be found at Pine Grove. We feel incredibly passionate about this initiative, and we’re glad to see the Hattiesburg community supporting it, as well.”