Zombie walk raises money for children’s charity

“Zombies” detour inside Wal-Mart on Monday while walking from HH Gregg to the GameStop on Campbell Lane. The mile-long walk celebrated the release of “Dead Island,” a new video game, while raising money for the Center for Courageous Kids.

Cameron Koch

A small horde of nearly two dozen enthusiastic zombies shambled their way down Campbell Lane on Monday night, shocking drivers and shoppers alike.

GameStop sponsored a “zombie walk” to celebrate the release of the new zombie horror video game, “Dead Island,” while simultaneously raising money for a local charity, the Center for Courageous Kids.

The Center for Courageous Kids is a nonprofit organization based out of Scottsville where children with medical challenges can enjoy the camp experience. The camp’s goal is to uplift children by providing memorable, fun and safe experiences at no cost to the families, according to the center’s website.

Originally, the walk was scheduled to be about a mile long, beginning at the GameStop in Greenwood Mall, although this was changed to nearby H.H. Gregg, and finishing at the Campbell Lane location.

“Managers don’t get infected,” said GameStop Manager David Garcia after deciding to pose as a survivor of the zombieocolypse for the event.

Fellow GameStop Manager Mikeal Gallaway, the man behind the event, also posed as a survivor, brandishing a machete as he and Garcia fled down Campbell Lane from the horde.

Starting at H.H. Gregg and making their way to Best Buy, the zombies started to get startled looks. As the undead creatures walked down the sidewalk, many cars drove by honking their horns in approval. The zombies made sure to put on their best acting skills whenever they approached people.

Wal-Mart was the next stop on the zombie walk, as Gallaway and Garcia ran through the store yelling “Help!” and “Watch out, zombies are coming!” with the fake zombie horde right on their heels.

After entertaining Wal-Mart shoppers, the horde made its way to Target right next door, where the zombies played with shopping carts before moving on to the final destination, the GameStop on Campbell Lane.

Adam Ferguson of Bowling Green came decked out with a Ghostbuster proton pack and drove a Ghostbusters themed car, appearing at GameStop just as the hoard arrived, declaring “Zombies, ghosts — they are both undead.”

Food provided by Buffalo Wild Wings greeted the hungry monsters as they entered the GameStop to wait the remaining three hours before the midnight release of the video game “Dead Island.”

Gallaway decided to turn what could be a mundane event, the midnight release of a game, into an event that the whole community could get behind, even deciding to raise money for the local charity Center for Courageous Kids with donations and a silent auction.

“Mikeal prompted me with the idea,” Garcia said. “We got together and tried to get it going and it just kept getting bigger and bigger.

“If there’s some fun to be had before the game, it makes the hours go faster.”

Gallaway considered the first-time event a success.

“I was actually really happy with it,” he said. “The first of many.”

New Castle junior Josh Barnett was among the enthusiastic zombies, complete with fake blood and imitation peeling flesh.

“Oh my God. It was a gigantic success,” Barnett said. “I would come to every one of these.”

When asked why zombies are incredibly popular, everybody had something to say.

“Zombies are a more human form of monster, more personal,” Garcia said.

“It’s very relevant to the current situation,” said Amber Staples, a tattoo artist who was on site to do caricatures of people in their zombie forms. “With so many diseases, they are a little more relevant to our time, a little scarier, a little more real.”

“They are awesome — like Batman,” said Dakota Jett from Morgantown as he waited for “Dead Island” to be released. “They are fun. People like it because it isn’t real. They get tired of every-day life.”

“I am sure everybody who came will come again and bring their friends,” Garcia said. “I hope our midnights will continue to grow.”

“It’s fun. Everybody likes zombies.”