Joey Nichols, chairman and CEO of the Jimmie Van Zant Cancer Charity, said he was in awe of the support the group receives at its roadblocks in Morris. The group is devoted to helping individuals with cancer of all types, fulfilling a dream their friend Jimmie Van Zany had before his death from cancer.
“We try to help within 48 hours,” Nichols explained. When Van Zant was sick, Nichols said they were shocked to learn how few resources there were to help patients with needs like paying bills and buying groceries or even purchasing medications.
The groups urgency coupled with the large number of cancer patients in need, often leads them to concerns about funding, but they raise money via fundraisers and roadblocks in various cities where they are allowed.
As debit cards have become more commonplace, roadblocks have often struggled. Nichols explains that some people simply roll through the roadblocks without looking or interacting with them, while others promise to return with cash, but never do. Except in Morris.
“You always hear ‘oh, I don’t have any money, but I’ll be back,’” Nichols said. “But these people actually do come back!”
Nichols said a roadblock in Morris can often raise twice as much for the nonprofit group than those they have in their hometown of Gadsden.
“The people are just so nice and caring,” Nichols said. “It just blows us away how good the people are there. It’s a wonderful community filled with caring people.”
The group has another roadblock set up at the four-way stop in Morris for October 5 and they are usually there from about 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.