Secret millionaire gives money to church camp project - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Secret millionaire gives money to church camp project

Posted: Updated:

A vision for building a church camp on the Cahaba River near Montevallo will soon come to fruition. It's because of a surprise left in one woman's will, a surprise that may touch many generations.

Cabins will soon be going up at Living River, a Retreat on the Cahaba. It will become the camp and conference center for Presbyterian Church USA. There will be six buildings put up on the property first.

Benga Harrison, Living River Director of Development says , "From the time we started our fund raising, we've had dips and mountains and valleys I guess I should say."

For several years, campaigning has been going on to create this vision, a vision that caught the eye of an Avondale widow who made a donation with her church congregation in 2007.

But, she wanted to do even more to support the retreat.

Robert Hay with the Presbytery of Sheppards and Lapsley says "Spring of 2011, Bette Wilson, walked into my office to talk about leaving Living River in her will."

After Bette Wilson died November 20th 2012, Hay thought the 81-year-old had left her 2 bedroom house to support Living River. Turns out - this secret millionaire - left more than 2 million dollars. Hay says not even her friends knew about her assets.

"It was like winning the lottery. I never experienced anything like it. It was shocking."

The Living River Board had set a 2 million dollar goal to get this project going and one year after her death the prayer was answered. "God knew where it was all along, it was in Bette Wilson's estate."

Wilson did not have any children - but her donation will help transform lives for generations.

Harrison says, "We still have a lot of work to do, we're excited, we're thrilled, but our job is not done."

Wilson only had one simple request that an appreciation plaque be placed at the retreat remembering her, her husband, and her parents. Construction is expected to be begin December 16th.

Wilson's church was closed and sold and those proceeds were also donated to the retreat. Construction will be finished by the end of Summer.

  • Tuscaloosa Area NewsMore>>

  • Reward offered in McCalla church arson

    Reward offered in McCalla church arson

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 12:33 PM EDT2014-07-30 16:33:44 GMT
    Investigators have released a sketch of the suspect in a Saturday church arson in McCalla who may be responsible for other fires in the area. They are also offering a five thousand dollar reward for information leading to his arrest.More >>
    Investigators have released a sketch of the suspect in a Saturday church arson in McCalla who may be responsible for other fires in the area. They are also offering a five thousand dollar reward for information leading to his arrest.More >>
  • Two shot at Tuscaloosa apartment complex

    Two shot at Tuscaloosa apartment complex

    Two shot at Tuscaloosa apartment complex

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 2:50 PM EDT2014-07-29 18:50:22 GMT
    A female juvenile and an adult male were shot around 7pm at Forrester Gardens Apartments in 1300 James Harrison Pkwy.More >>
    A female juvenile and an adult male were shot around 7pm at Forrester Gardens Apartments in 1300 James Harrison Pkwy.More >>
  • Judge Rules Benz Plant Violated Labor Laws

    Judge Rules Benz Plant Violated Labor Laws

    Saturday, July 26 2014 11:29 PM EDT2014-07-27 03:29:07 GMT
    A judge has ruled Mercedes-Benz U.S. International violated labor laws while dealing with employees interested in forming a labor union.An administrative law judge for the National Labor Relations Board ordered MBUSI to revise rules in its employee handbook governing the solicitation and distribution of materials at its auto manufacturing plant in Vance.The United Auto Workers accused Mercedes managers of stymieing pro-union employees' efforts to distribute information about the union.Mercede...More >>
    A judge has ruled Mercedes-Benz U.S. International violated labor laws while dealing with employees interested in forming a labor union.An administrative law judge for the National Labor Relations Board ordered MBUSI to revise rules in its employee handbook governing the solicitation and distribution of materials at its auto manufacturing plant in Vance.The United Auto Workers accused Mercedes managers of stymieing pro-union employees' efforts to distribute information about the union.Mercede...More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...
  • Latest StoriesMore>>

  • UCLA wades through damages from pipe flooding

    UCLA wades through damages from pipe flooding

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 1:32 PM EDT2014-07-30 17:32:18 GMT
    The quiet summer campus of UCLA found itself suddenly steeped in water and chaos after a major water pipe burst and spewed some eight million gallons, stranding people in parking garages and flooding the...More >>
    A ruptured 93-year-old water main left the UCLA campus awash in 8 million gallons of water in the middle of California's worst drought in decades, stranding people in parking garages and flooding the school's...More >>
  • Police: Naked intruder grabbed soda then fell asleep in couple's bedroom

    Police: Naked intruder grabbed soda then fell asleep in couple's bedroom

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 1:16 PM EDT2014-07-30 17:16:10 GMT
    A New Mexico man faces charges after authorities say a couple found him naked and sleeping in their bed.More >>
    A New Mexico man faces charges after authorities say a couple found him naked and sleeping in their bed.
    More >>
  • Reward offered in McCalla church arson

    Reward offered in McCalla church arson

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 12:33 PM EDT2014-07-30 16:33:44 GMT
    Investigators have released a sketch of the suspect in a Saturday church arson in McCalla who may be responsible for other fires in the area. They are also offering a five thousand dollar reward for information leading to his arrest.More >>
    Investigators have released a sketch of the suspect in a Saturday church arson in McCalla who may be responsible for other fires in the area. They are also offering a five thousand dollar reward for information leading to his arrest.More >>
  • Greene County Schools ready to "turn up"

    Greene County Schools ready to "turn up"

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 8:49 AM EDT2014-07-30 12:49:10 GMT
    The Greene County School System has announced a back to school event. It's called the “Back to School Turn-Up.” More >>
    The Greene County School System has announced a back to school event. It's called the “Back to School Turn-Up.” More >>
  • Social Media Night big draw at Regions Field

    Social Media Night big draw at Regions Field

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 7:22 AM EDT2014-07-30 11:22:59 GMT
    In Baseball, it's important to keep your eye on the ball, but local baseball fans are also keeping their eyes on social media. It's something that's helping the Birmingham Barons fill the seats for home games.Lynnsey Nowell says, "I keep up with a lot of things around Birmingham through Facebook, Twitter, Instragram. I'm one of those people always re-posting stuff." It's that effort that scored Nowell free tickets to Tuesday night' s Barons Game.She also threw the first pitch.Nowell says, "I'...More >>
    In Baseball, it's important to keep your eye on the ball, but local baseball fans are also keeping their eyes on social media. It's something that's helping the Birmingham Barons fill the seats for home games.Lynnsey Nowell says, "I keep up with a lot of things around Birmingham through Facebook, Twitter, Instragram. I'm one of those people always re-posting stuff." It's that effort that scored Nowell free tickets to Tuesday night' s Barons Game.She also threw the first pitch.Nowell says, "I'...More >>
  • Jews and Christians pack out the Levite Community Center for the largest rally since 1974

    Jews and Christians pack out the Levite Community Center for the largest rally since 1974

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 11:13 PM EDT2014-07-30 03:13:13 GMT
    The guns and rockets are on the other side of the world but the conflict is impacting people in Alabama.More >>
    The guns and rockets are on the other side of the world but the conflict is impacting people in Alabama.More >>
  • Shelby wants plan to fix Central Alabama VA

    Shelby wants plan to fix Central Alabama VA

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 9:19 PM EDT2014-07-30 01:19:22 GMT
    U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) today sent a letter with U.S. Representative Martha Roby to VA Secretary Robert McDonald, who was confirmed by the Senate Tuesday. The letter requests that Secretary McDonald provide a plan within 60 days that identifies the problems at the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System, what can be done to correct them, and a timeline for implementation. It also requests that Secretary McDonald visit the facility in Montgomery with Senator Shelby and Represe...More >>
    U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) today sent a letter with U.S. Representative Martha Roby to VA Secretary Robert McDonald, who was confirmed by the Senate Tuesday. The letter requests that Secretary McDonald provide a plan within 60 days that identifies the problems at the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System, what can be done to correct them, and a timeline for implementation. It also requests that Secretary McDonald visit the facility in Montgomery with Senator Shelby and Represe...More >>
  • Sam factor prepares Rams for sensitivity session

    Sam factor prepares Rams for sensitivity session

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 8:26 PM EDT2014-07-30 00:26:35 GMT
    To guard against another Miami Dolphins bullying scandal, NFL teams are holding sensitivity sessions during training camp.More >>
    To guard against another bullying scandal, NFL teams are holding sensitivity sessions during training camp.More >>