Runners gathered along the starting line in preparation to take on the miles for Mason Rhinehart Saturday morning at Centerville Conservation Community.
Two months ago, the week that was supposed to be a joyous occasion, turned into the worst week for the Rhinehart’s family.
Two days before Mason Rhinehart’s seventh birthday, his grandmother, Martha White, stabbed him to death. The incident took place in the family’s home at Killearn Lakes Plantation.
While the brothers were playing their video games, White told the boys she had a surprise for them. She took Mason into the bathroom and locked the door. Aden heard his brother wailing from the bathroom screaming “I don’t want to die, please do not kill me.” Aden attempted to break his way into the bathroom, but he could not.
White, 63, who was babysitting 8-year-old Mason and Aden while the parents, Zack and Spring, were working is charged of first-degree murder. Responders fled to the scene and found Masons body lying on the bathroom floor with several stab wounds in his chest.
Family, friends and loved ones joined on Oct.25, in supporting the Rhinehart family.
Lauryn Collier, a supporter of the family, expressed that Masons death touched her heart.
“It inspired me to know that even when tragic things happen, there is a way to have a positive outlook that can help change lives to work towards living like Christ,” Collier said.
This tragedy did not only inspire her, but it also inspired the community.
Kim Barnard, a Rhinehart family friend, said Masons death taught her to have a stronger faith because of Spring and Zack’s courage and strength.
“It allowed me to see things in a different perspective,” Barnard said.
This event would not have been possible if it had not been for Andrea Meadows. She made Miles for Mason 5K and Fun Run Fundraiser possible. The idea of the 5K came to mind one morning while she was running.
“I was heartbroken and thinking of the family and it came to mind,” Meadows said.
She called a couple of friends that helped make the race a success and indeed it was.
Runners took off at the sound of the bell and in first place Duane Evans came running across the finish line.
“It was important for me to support the family,” said Duane.
Following Duane, Jeremy Chang came in second and Paula O’Neal in third.
Everyone joined in fellowship after the race for a time of fun. Vendors and sponsors such as: White Oak Construction, Whole Foods, Re3eye Coffee, Woodmen of the World, BJ’s Party House, Way-FM and many more donated food and entertainment. All proceeds from the fundraiser went to help the Rhinehart family.
Zack and Spring were overwhelmed by the love and support their family and community showed. Running for Mason gave them the peace and joy they needed to continue on and celebrate the life of their son.
In the words of Zack Rhinehart, "Mason was their gift who was called into heaven. What White did was meant to destroy them, but God is going to switch it to good. Mason earned a quick ticket to heaven and if she does not make it right with Christ, she will just earn a quick ticket to hell.”
As the Rhinehart family continue to move on with their lives, their tragedy will be turned into a testimony and the acts that were meant to destroy them will be turned into good. Mason may be gone, but he will never be forgotten.