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Heart Walk celebrates its 25th birthday

More than 3,000 people put on their walking shoes and stroll through Gulfport to raise money...
More than 3,000 people put on their walking shoes and stroll through Gulfport to raise money for the American Heart Association.
Updated: Sep. 22, 2018 at 9:18 AM CDT
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GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Butch Oustalet and Jonathan Allen compete against each other every day. They’re rival car dealers who strive to be number one. But on this first day of fall, Oustalet and Allen put their rivalry aside and joined forces. Their partnership helped make the 25th annual Gulf Coast Heart Walk a big success.

Allen chaired the 2018 Heart Walk. One of his first acts as chairman was to lean on the 2017 chair for guidance. Oustalet was last year’s chairman. And he willingly provided his insights.

The silver anniversary Heart Walk started at Jones Park in Gulfport. Dozens of businesses entered teams in the walk. Many of them wore t-shirts showcasing their support. Oustalet’s team wore red shirts with the message “Big O says save hearts regardless”. The word regardless is Oustalet’s signature in TV commercials.

As many as 3,000 South Mississippians were expected to participate in the Heart Walk. Cheerleaders and a marching band were at Jones Park to inspire the walkers as they headed out on their stroll through Gulfport.

Allen posted this message on Facebook to help explain why being the chairman of the American Heart Association’s 25th annual walk was so important to him. “I walk for John Harden. I walk for Mike Hall. I walk for Betty Canipe," he wrote. "These wonderful people were taken because Heart Failure and Stroke. These people deserved my time and attention and I bet that anyone that reads this post could think of three people themselves that would give you a reason to come walk for them.”

More than 3,000 people were expected to walk in the 25th annual Gulf Coast Heart Walk.
More than 3,000 people were expected to walk in the 25th annual Gulf Coast Heart Walk.(Andi Outstalet (custom credit))

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