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Alma seniors Evan Hewitt, Joshua Gulley, and Brant Peppas helped raise money for an ailing student and family


By Kevin Taylor

Alma Schools 


Alma seniors Evan Hewitt, Joshua Gulley, and Brant Peppas were not about to sit back and let Andrew Carson's horrific motorcycle accident ruin the start of their senior year of high school. 


So the Alma trio hatched a plan to help alleviate some of the cost Carson's mom, Zula Gibson, was about to unexpectedly take on.


Carson lost part of his right leg following an accident three weeks ago. He’s currently at Children’s Hospital in Little Rock. 


"He's always uplifted other people," Hewitt said. "He's the loudest guy at football games; he's a great, great guy. 


"I love being around him, and anyway we could help him, we were going to do whatever we could."


In less than two weeks, the trio’s bracelet, which reads “PULLING FOR ANDREW,” has swept through campus.


"It's awesome seeing everybody support him," Gulley said. "I know if he or any of his friends were in that situation, they would do the exact same for us."


"He's (Carson) gone through a lot; I feel like I needed to help him," Peppas said. "We've grown up with him forever. He would do the same for us."


With specially printed wristbands and cash apps, the trio has helped fund more than $2,500 to help offset a portion of the mounting debts that occurred during Carson's Little Rock hospital stay. 


Hewitt said he’s had high school students from Northside, Greenwood, and Van Buren, among others, text him to ask about giving to the cash app.


“The fact that the kids were struck with it, and they had a plan, that’s impressive,” Alma principal Brian Kirkendoll said. “I went to Little Rock and went to Children’s (Hospital) to visit Andrew and his mom and was asking what kind of needs they have. I didn’t really need to do it, on my level, because when I got back they already had these bracelets and they were doing it on their own. I think it reassures Zula and her family how much this school cares about them.


"It's a special place."


Gulley said his mom, Amber, helped get the ball rolling by ordering 500 bracelets that the trio sold, on their own, for $5 between classes and at lunch. 


"My mom was looking at ways to help them out, and she was looking at wristbands," Joshua Gulley explained. "She said she could order them. The price for 500 came out to about $220. I left the room so she could come up with more options, and when I came back they were ordered."


"He's a kid that all three of us have known for years," Hewitt said. "We all grew up with him. When we found out what happened, it killed us all mentally. We knew how hard it was for him and his family, and the recovery that he was going to have. The one thing that doesn't stop is the bills; his mom still has to pay the bills at home, especially now with the medical bills that are going to be piling up. 


"Me and Josh and Brant got together, and Josh had the idea of bracelets."


So they got busy.


Hewitt thought they might sell them for $2 or $3, and Gulley suggested $5.


"Doing the math, that's over $2,000," Hewitt said. "We started raising awareness as best we could to give the money to him and him through this tough time."


The cash app, which is a direct deposit to Carson's mom, has been the biggest hit, Hewitt said. "We don't even have a number," he said. "We're hoping to hit the $ 2,000 mark."


The value of the lesson learned is what hits home with Kirkendoll. 


"It just shows how much we love each other," Kirkendoll said "It's not necessarily who is the best academically, or who is the best at athletics. To me, that shows a favorite. Some people have a favorite restaurant, or a favorite place to go, which is based on the service they get or the hospitality. That's one of the things about Alma; we're a family and we take care of one another.


“That just goes to show how much we care about each other. Our community loves this school, they love the people that go here, and it’s vice versa.”



"I think I've learned that if we can come together as a community, and see something bigger than ourselves, then we can really raise a lot of money and raise support," Hewitt said. "To have the mental backing of a town and support him and keep him in good graces. 


"It's really taught me that if it can all come together, then good things can come of it."