Born October 8th, 1950 in Douglas, Georgia. I was ran over by a car at age 3. Mom and dad were told I may not walk again. The rehabilitation and prayer worked. Graduation from high school took place in Jacksonville Florida and shortly after that, I joined the Navy. After a 6 year enlistment, an honorable discharge was issued. An awesome wife and 2 beautiful children followed that. 42 years was spent working at 2 crafts. 1) air conditioning and refrigeration 2) insurance sales. I have 5 beautiful grandchildren.
2000 Dad passed away in a nursing home. He had alzheimer’s.
2001 A bleeding ulcer put me in the hospital. I weighed 272 lbs at the time and spent 4 days in ICU. I went to work immediately and lost 118 lbs over the next few years.
2006 I set 5 goals. The stair system at Amicalola Falls State Park has 604 stairs. Going to the bottom and returning to the top would mean a round trip of 1208. The goals were as follows :
- 25 round trips
- 30 round trips
- 35 round trips
- 40 round trips
- 50 round trips
It took a long time and a lot of persistence to finish. Each goal was completed. The final goal, 50 round trips, took 17 hours and 18 minutes, and was completed in 2012. That was a special day for me. My daughter and her family came up for most of it, and helped me get safely home. I had never been so tired and ready for bed in my life.
So, for the first time in a long time I had no goal. That felt odd. Prayer ensued and an answer came. After the prayer, I walked outside for a few minutes. Upon reentering the house I reached in my pocket for my wallet and when I went to place it on the bookshelf, it fell behind it. The book case contained movies. While attempting to retrieve my wallet, a movie fell to the floor. The movie told me what I would be doing next. The movie was “Forrest Gump”
2013 Departure took place at the Atlantic Ocean on January 12th, 2013 and finished at the Pacific Ocean, unofficially, on August 20th, 2013, in Marina, California. * I was 62 years old. I went from Skidaway Island State Park near Savannah to Monterey California. 2,594 miles were on foot and 458 miles in the passenger seat of a car. **
This was technically an unsupported endeavor, but due to the kindness of others, there was much support. 226 days from start to finish. 22 miles per day averaged, on the days I ran, jogged and walked.
The numbers below are approximate and probably on the low side:
- 40 senior care facility visits
- 50 television interviews
- 100 newspaper interviews
- 20 radio interviews
- 6 magazine articles
Because of the heavy media coverage, hundreds of folks came out to see me on the road. Many meetings were held with the hopes of raising awareness. $27,000 in donations were raised for the Alzheimer’s Association. Over 3000 cards and/or bracelets were given out that contained the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 Helpline phone number. The recipients of the cards and bracelets were folks that expressed a need for help. 9 pair of Brooks Pure Connect shoes were worn. 10 nights were spent in a tent
* The Alzheimer’s Association asked me to finish “officially” at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Factory on August 26th, in Monterey. No ocean there, it was the bay.
** My intentions were to travel every foot on foot, but due to extreme heat and a weakness, of some sort, on my part, I did not go every foot on foot. I have no problem with my decision and it was made by me alone. Those decisions were posted as they happened, on both Facebook and WordPress. I am extremely proud of my trip, raising awareness, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. This was truly an “Epic Journey”
2014 “Across the Land” moved to the beautiful north Georgia mountains in the Chattahoochee National Forest. Sleeping was done in my tent or my car. During the day Amicalola Falls State Park would be my home. 3500 miles were completed there, on foot. The car was parked strategically so the Alzheimer’s Association signs would be seen. One sign spoke of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s event and the other advertised the Helpline. Alzheimer’s clothing was worn on every outing. Cards and/or bracelets were given out that contained the 24/7 Helpline phone number.
2015 Started out as another every foot on foot journey, but soon became a combination driving and running event. The car, the signs and me looked the same as we did at Amicalola Falls. The cards and bracelets were once again handed out. Traveling from Tybee Island Georgia to Goffs California was the order for this year. A place would be strategically picked, the car parked and the running, jogging and walking began. This was a great way to talk with more folks than before. Most of the conversations from this trip were with folks that were not caregivers. Some had been, but no longer. The interest in alzheimer’s was high.
2016 An every foot on foot event across America started. Plans changed. On January 24th, a different kind of trip began. I headed to the home of my mom. She was 87 at the time. Her 88 year old husband was not doing well. I became a 24/7 helper. He passed away on March 12th of 2016. The remainder of 2016 my job is to keep mom safe, maintain dignity and raise awareness concerning alzheimer’s when able.
2017 Brought a little more time for raising awareness concerning alzheimers. Job 1 continues to be keeping mom safe.
There have been many failures mixed in with across the Land, plenty of success to. The failures were because of me. The successes were because of us.
On August 12th, 2017, the Epic Journey ended.