Luray Walmart associate and non-profit win $10,000 grant

Audre King and Derek McNeal celebrate after learning they received a $10,000 grant from Wal-Mart. | Credit: WHSV
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PAGE COUNTY, Va. (WHSV)— It all started with a post on social media. Walmart associate Derek McNeal entered the Walmart Associate Challenge earlier this year.

In order to enter, associates shared a post about how they sparked kindness in the community. When McNeal came to work on Thursday, he thought he would be giving another pitch to Walmart to win. Instead, McNeal was told he was one of 12 winners across the country.

"When I opened it and seen you were a winner, it kind of just all sunk right in," McNeal said. "It was probably the best feeling."

The winners each received a $10,000 grant, and McNeal knew he wanted to help his friend Audre King. King is the force behind Living Legacy, a nonprofit in a nonprofit in Luray working to create a community center.

King was just as shocked to learn they were winners.

"Earlier today I thought I was coming in for an interview for $10,000, and to find out I get here and it's laying in my lap is an amazing thing," King said.

Back in 2017, Living Legacy purchased the building they've been renovating and working to turn into a community center. King said this money will be the final push they need to open soon. For McNeal, it meant a lot to help get them to the finish line.

"To be the final push is pretty extraordinary," McNeal said. "I'm glad I could do anything he needed, so to be able to give him this little bit at the end is unexplainable honestly."

King said the community center is something that's been needed in the Luray area.

"It provides recreation for them, Friday night dances, mentorship, an ability to be able to go outside of the valley, just travel and learn and see other cultural aspects of life," King said.

He said the building should be finished next year. King said the mentorship program is already up and running, and there are 55 youth already participating. King said he's also been in contact with the Page County School Board to have an after school progam during the fall 2020 semester.