Tuesday, May 7, 2013

                                                      and to wrap it all up.........................

just a summary of our week and some of the vents that we experienced out on the river.

12am Monday the 22nd...Paul and I along with the girls and Jason Dean arrived at the Falls dam and finally located the canoe put in. unloaded the truck and loaded up the boats. Set off at approximately 1230. Temperature dropping down to the mid to upper 30s. Our hands quickly became cold and bodies soon followed. We were surprised by the amount of beavers in this section due to the population of homes along the river. We arrived at Old Milburnie Dam around 5 and decided to sleep till dawn since we couldn't see the dam or how to get around it. We pulled our sleeping bags over our heads and tucked down inside the hull of our boats that had been pulled barely afoot out of the water. As Paul aka the mule said famously, he shivered himself to sleep. WE awoke about 630 to notice that we had slept and smartly so about 30 yard from the top of the dam. We dragged our boats down a path and put back in below the dam.

2pm,,stopped at covered bridge road in Clayton and met up with the day crews from station 1 and 2 along with Chief Dean,Barbee and Lt Benson. Talked for 30 minutes and headed on down the river.

330. Reached hwy 42 and met up with families,Donnie Ayers, Stacey beard and others from the news paper and friends. Had bbq sandwhichs and cake for Pauls bday. set off at 430

830 pm made Smithfield and after a quick stop we kept paddling.

11pm stopped on a boat dock for acouple of hours to rest/
1105 RAIN...it rained the entire time we slept but when your tired,you sleep. Packed up at 1 and set off again. Our sleeping bags are soaked.

TUESDAY 115 am..paul says i m so tired.he hooks his boat to mine and i pull him for a few hours. hitting trees and other debris that only causes him to snore louder.

415am..the fog is bad and the lights are not working well,i also can paddle anymore. we pull over and make a pitiful fire out of whatever dry wood we could find. warm up and cook some oatmeal then doze off for thirty minutes or so.

615 am off again but muddy from ankle deep sludge we just drug our boats on.

1115 we met up with the camera man from channel 5 news. he followed us around for half an hour or so and just talked and filmed. Giving birth to the MULE,(watch the news video).

1pm Bentonville FD met us at the Richardson boat ramp with new supplies and conversation. Said so long to the news guy and then Bentonville and set off again for our next check point.

6pm Listened to the news as we went around the power plant outside Goldsboro. watched Pauls face as he called himself the mule,,PRICELESS.....

930 at dinner at a boat ramp and moved on.

WEDNESDAY 3am yet another boat ramp to sleep on,We were drifting by this point and sleeping sitting up. Probably not the best thing to do so we pulled it over.

7am 4 hours of sleep wow thats what that feels like. moving on again.

1130 Cliffs of the Neuse....pulled over and walked around,they offered us hot showers and a place to charge our phones, we took them up on both accounts. They told us of a group doing what we were doing but they were ahead of us.

230 off again for a long night

930 pulled into Kinston...24 miles in 7 hours
slept on the boat ramp again since we are ahead of schedule,Paul was asleep in the first 5 minutes of laying down.Even slept through the guy fishing 15 feet from us at 11 oclock.
J Dean meet us with new supplies at 7 the next morning. Hung out till 8 and moved on.
Kinston was cool to paddle through. Through town so you actually have something to look at instead of trees.

THURSDAY 8am off through kinston till lunch

1pm,lunch and the big decision was made. We've had enough and we've earned every second that we are ahead of schedule. We made the decision to paddle hard and through the night if need be and be done Friday instead of Saturday. we made the calls and then set back off.

630pm we arrive at our next boat ramp. Two people on shore yell out "you guys those firemen". Startled and curious we say yep. They had been keeping up with us via newspaper. They were the group we were told about back at Cliffs of the Neuse. They invited us up for dinner and we accepted. They said they had to be were we had to be on Friday by 5 also and they would get us there on time if wed stay the that night. They were a relay for life group called HOPE FLOATS. They were on the same course but raising money for cancer. IRONIC huh. We sat and talked and then participated in a ritual of theres. We read name they had prepared of family and friends of theres that had or was affected by cancer. Great time. We Fell out around 930 and slept cold but well needed till 630...packed up with the group and set off on our final leg.

FRIDAY 830 paddling off on the prettiest day yet,and our last.

1 pm lunch and moving fast to keep up on schedule...the week is finally kicking us hard. bodies tired and wind AGAIN is in our face.
Pushing hard with tired shoulders and finally a blister,Paul's back hurting and the wind directly in our faces we pulled into New Bern at %pm

New Bern FD and another couple that had read about us was there in full force on the dock upon our arrival. Took some pictures and talked for awhile.

SO GLAD ITS OVER but yeah id do it again.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Thank you Casey!

I think we have failed to mention that Casey Cecil is letting Paul borrow his kayak (the red one) to paddle in.  It's very much appreciated.  Maybe next year you can go on the paddle too!

Every little way that people have supported Allen and Paul has been amazing and we are grateful.


If you haven't donated yet and want to, you can go to the FireFighters Assisting Armed Forces Families website at www.ffaaff.org and use their PayPal function to donate.  Make sure to mention its for "Paddling for Pennies" or Allen & Paul.

There are also plenty of white t-shirts for sale for anyone interested.  Leave a comment here or email at kory.williford@gmail.com and we'll get it to you!


Cliffs of Neuse

Spent a few hours there today to recharge the cell phones. They were
able to sleep for about 4 hours last night. They slept in the kayaks
some as well. Allen said they're sore from paddling all the time, but
they're having fun. Thanks to everyone for your continued support.

They will be at Hwy 70 in Kinston Thursday morning at 7 am to resupply again.

Photo: Cliffs of the neuse

Bentonville FD

Thanks for stopping by to help resupply the guys on Tuesday!

Photo: Thank you bentonville FD

Props to Love is Bald on the trip

Photo: LiB LOVE on the neuse

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

WRAL video


Great job Allen and Paul!

Thank you WRAL, Stacy and Amanda with Clayton News, who helped spread the word in the media!

In the news

Allen and Paul will be on WRAL news tonight!

Update on last nights paddle

Allen and Paul got to Smithfield around 8:30pm.  Around 11:00pm they laid down to sleep and it started pouring rain around 11:05pm.  (Their sleeping bags are soaking wet.)  They put the sleeping bags back in the Kayaks and slept in there until 1am.  They got up, got back in the river.  Allen tied Paul to him and pulled him until 4am.  He said at one point Paul's kayak hit a tree and Paul didn't even budge!

They're having problems getting their phones charged, so the updates will not be as frequent as Mondays.  We will keep you updated as often as possible.

They are now at Richardson Bridge in Goldsboro and expect to be at Ferry Bridge around 4pm today!

Saturday, April 20, 2013


check out this video from the town of Clayton, Allen and Paul's efforts are highlighted starting around the 4 minute mark. adventure starts tomorrow night at midnight!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Come to WalMart in Clayton April 13-14!

T-shirts will be for sale at the WalMart in Clayton, 805 Town Centre Blvd, all day Saturday and Sunday April 13-14.  Come out, drop your spare change in the jar or purchase one of the awesome t-shirts available for sale.

Grey shirts, $20/each, Pink or White shirts, $15/each
Also, save the date for Tuesday, April 16.  From 5-8pm Allen and his crew will be at the Zaxby's in Clayton, 12857 U.S. 70, (in front of the WalMart).  A portion of that night's sales will go to Paddling for Pennies!  And, if you didn't get your shirt on Saturday or Sunday you can get it there.

A HUGE thank you to both WalMart and Zaxby's for their support of this great cause!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

More t-shirts!

gray shirts are $20, pink & white shirts are $15

contact Allen at allen.williford@gmail.com to order

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Thank you to REI in Cary for donating items to help with the trip!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Patriot Shooting Sports

Thank you to Patriot Shooting Sports for being a donor.  It is very much appreciated.

For more information, or to contact them, please go here:

They are located at:
134 E Main St
Youngsville, NC 27596

Friday, March 22, 2013

T-shirts for sale!

In exchange for any donation of $15 or higher, you will receive a Paddling for Pennies t-shirt!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Quiller Contracting

Thank you Troy Quiller from Quiller Contracting for being our newest sponsor!

Quiller Contracting, a licensed general contracting company,
 can help you remodel your kitchen or bath, 
or make that addition you've been wanting for your home a reality.  

Feel free to reach out to Troy if you need something updated in your home.  

Friday, February 22, 2013

GI Joe's Army Surplus

A big "thank you" to

GI Joe's Army Surplus in Clayton, NC

for sponsoring Allen & Paul on this trip.

You can find them at:
10581 U.S. 70 Business
Clayton, NC 27520
(919) 553-5657

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

5 Hour Energy

 Thank you to 5 Hour Energy for providing the box of goodies seen above! 

This will help our paddlers stay up as they will not be stopping to sleep at night.

Joining the trip

Paul Zais from Clayton Fire Department has committed to the journey! 

He will be paddling with Allen Williford the week of April 21, 2013. 

Thanks Paul! 

Anyone is welcome to join the trip!  You can commit to paddle the whole

 week, or you can meet at certain points and ride along for a stretch.  If

interested, post a comment here or contact Allen Williford at


Paddle Creek

We'd like to thank Paddle Creek in Wake Forest, NC for helping us acquire this kayak. 

We're just two 1/2 months away from the trip!


Wednesday, January 16, 2013







When:  April 22nd - 27th,, 2013

I will attempt to paddle the Neuse River -starting in north Raleigh at Falls Lake to New Bern, a total 193 miles.

An after party will be held at City Limits Saloon in downtown Raleigh the evening of the 27th.

We are asking you to take the pledge to donate 1 penny per mile paddled.

ALL proceeds will be divided between the North Carolina Fallen Fighters Foundation and

Fire Fighters Assisting Armed Forces Families.

Sponsorships levels:

Bronze - $150.00 sponsorship

Receives publicity on our Blog, FFAAFF.org website and Facebook. A decal to be placed on the boat we are going to Raffle off. 2 raffle tickets for the boat and gear.

Silver - $300.00 sponsorship

Receives publicity on our Blog, FFAAFF.org website and Facebook. A decal to be placed on the boat we are going to Raffle off.  2 raffle tickets for the boat and gear. Plus your choice of one of the two framed prints of paintings by Capt John Woodall (ret).

Gold - $500.00 sponsorship

Receives publicity on our Blog, FFAAFF.org website and Facebook. A decal to be placed on the boat we are going to Raffle off.  2 raffle tickets for the boat and gear. Plus both framed prints by Capt. John Woodall (ret).

After Party:

At the after party we will Raffle off the boat used and all the gear that we have acquired for the trek, along with other items to be announced. Tickets for this are $5 dollars each or $100 for 25.

To donate or to be a sponsor, please go to the Fire Fighters Assisting armed Forces Families web site, FFAAFF.org, go to donate and use the Paypal.  Please ear mark your payments with Paddling for Pennies and leave your contact info.  All donations are tax deductible.

Allen Williford


Capt. John “Woody” Woodall (ret)

The flyer and letter for paddling for pennies

My name is Allen Williford and I work for Clayton Fire Department.  April 22-27, 2013, myself and Paul Zais, a fellow firefighter and Veteran, will attempt to paddle from Falls Lake in Raleigh, following the Neuse River to New Bern, NC in 5 and a half days. The trek will cover 193 miles of river and half of the state. 

The objective, with the help of others, is to finish the 193 miles in enough time to meet everyone at the after party in Raleigh. To do so means paddling approximately 35 miles a day – including overnight. 

Being a first responder means everything.  It means you hug your spouse and children a little differently before and after work. It means you live to a new standard: you’re viewed, you’re watched, and you are loved. Sometimes you receive a “thank you,” but even when you don't you still remember that moral agreement you made, whatever it takes to get the job done, whatever it takes.

So many members of our first responder family and our military service brothers and sisters have done whatever it took. Many are not with us anymore but in remembrance of them I take on this quest.  We honor them by donating to these two foundations - hoping we all go to work never needing their assistance.

The two foundations I’m raising money for are:

The North Carolina Fallen Fireman Foundation (NCFFF) and Fire Fighters Assisting Armed Forces Families (FFAAFF).  All proceeds will be divided between the two.  For more information about these organizations and to donate, please visit the website at www.ffaaff.org.

Please consider joining this effort to make a difference.  I am asking for donations in the amount of one Penny per mile paddled.  Other amounts are welcomed.  All donations are tax-deductible. I am also looking for sponsors to help with our trek.  This means corporate or private sponsors, and those who are interested in meeting me at pre-determined spots on the river to swap out supplies, etc. 

Again, I ask for your donations or your sponsorship to help those who have done whatever it took.

Thank you,

Allen Williford


Capt. Capt. John “Woody” Woodall (ret)