Sunday, September 7, 2014

  It was a week ago that I walked the final 12 miles in from Forest Lake.  Paul Mueller from Education Minnesota and Lisa O'Neill, head of the Letter Carriers in the State, started those final miles with me and it was a privilege to share their company.  Paul had another engagement but Lisa walked 7 miles and we shared the memories of my endeavor.  It was great to share with those that have such an important position in life and a responsibility towards so many.  And then it became even better as Mike joined me down the road.  I hadn't seen Mike in years but we used to work together and again shared in memories.  
  I finished the 12 miles as I'd walked so many in the past days, alone.  But seeing my beautiful wife there to greet me was all I needed.  I did what I'd set out to do.  Walk 300 miles to benefit those in our community that are having a hard time feeding themselves and their families.  As in the past, I succeeded with an effort that took 2 years to organize.  And as I reflected, there were things that should have been done, things that could have been done, but that's not important.  I've learned so much that will hopefully help me in the future, to do a better job!
  Now it's time to ask all of those that have "resolved" to support the Minnesota Miracle, to step forward and honor that resolution.  I'm being afforded the opportunity to speak to thousands at the end of September and more in October.  So I'm far from being done with this effort.  Though my goal was never reached, each and every one that donated can be assured that their funds will never be touched!  Only the interest of the Minnesota Miracle Ending Hunger Fund endowment will be used.  I keep my promises!  It's still up to Minnesotans to establish how well we can help those in need.
  I'll thank all that have become part of the Minnesota Miracle both now and when the effort has been completed.  The list of those individuals and groups is pretty large so it may have to wait for the book I hope to write when I get old!  62 and smiling!  Thank you very much!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

  I'm so close to home and haven't taken the time to write a blog, and apologize if I must.  12 days from ending a journey that's been long in coming.  And I'm so grateful to all that have made these past days so memorable.  As I walk the road, constantly hoping to see wildlife, and sometimes the wife down the road with refreshments, it gives me such a calm and allowabity to just reflect and see all the goodness in life.  There are so many people that have such large hearts filled with compassion and a tenderness making all feel at home.  
  I've found some disappointment but my expectations are to blame.  It's the first time I've chosen to put a financial aspect with the journey I've created and it's hard to compete with so many needs around us.  I have to applaud so many out there working hard for whatever cause they support.
But I have to say  I still like the way I put things out there.  For every 5000 times my feet hit the concrete, I'd like someone to donate a penny.  And I'll end with that.  Please keep in mind that it's up to Minnesotans to create the "miracle"!  We'll have to wait to see how many it affects!

Friday, August 8, 2014

  Well I'm back after 4 days of nothing.  It's not that I didn't have anything to say but I was a little weary at the end of each day.  I sometimes thought about the "why" while walking the 11 miles a day, and questioned my thinking on the whole endeavor, but then I just looked around at the beauty of nature, and the questions dissappeared.  And I never questioned how my age might be a factor?  Something else that nature's beauty put to ease!

  Something I am questioning at this point of the walk is this.  After spending over a year speaking to the Union leaders throughout the state, why haven't more come on board with donations?  I know  that the State leaders sent out a letter acknowledging their support to nearly 1000 Unions across the state and yet I've only seen donations from less than 50?  For those that have shown their support with donations, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I ask that you reach out to those that haven't and ask that they come on board.

  I'm doing my very best to give my brothers and sisters across the state, recognition for their strength and solidarty, carrying myself proudly, and hiding the pain of the daily walk.  I only ask for a penny a mile in return.

Even though this started with my union brothers and sisters, it will take EVERYONE in the state joining in with donations and support to raise the monies needed to create our perpetual fountain of food.  So, PLEASE, spread the word to churches, schools, civic groups, your friends, neighbors and families and consider donating to help end hunger.  If everyone gives just a few cents a mile, our goal can be reached! 
  I have to take time to thank my loving wife Joan!  Once again, I couldn't have taken on this cause without her by my side.  She waits patiently as I walk, updates the facebook page, and is my constant consolation at the end of each day.  So it's true that behind every good man is a great woman!!!!!!

still a long walk home,

Monday, August 4, 2014

Day 3

Yes, I know it's a boring title...I'll try and come up with something better for tomorrow!
Anyway, another day's walk is done and Gary's taking a nap.  We ended up buying him new tennis shoes last night and his feet were much happier today!  Funny how that works---his original shoes were VERY expensive, fancy shoes and the new ones were about twenty bucks.  

It was a bright, sunny day out there with a nice breeze, and Gary covered 11 miles for a total of 34 so far.  I think he's doing very well and hopefully getting used to the routine of the walk each day.  We're definitely sleeping well under the stars and cool.

Some of my friends from Ashland Productions (a community theater group I work with) met up with us at the giant walleye at the entrance to Kabetogama Lake area and we chatted with them a bit.  So nice to see friendly faces so far from home---thanks Jill, Maria and CeCe!!  

Not much else.  THANK YOU to all that have donated so far and all that are following on our Facebook page at Minnesota Miracle 2014 as well.  PLEASE help spread the word and if anyone has any media contacts they can hook us up with that would be great.  We want everyone to have the opportunity to donate and to be a part of ending hunger in Minnesota!!!

Still a long walk home,

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Day Two:

Done and sore--- I had a little trouble keeping up the 3 miles an hour today.  Fell about 15 minutes short of the pace.   But I managed complete the day with 11 miles off the 300 for a total of 23 miles walked these first two days!

I asked the wife to do the blog yesterday, but forgot to remind her to thank Mike Holden and everyone that helped send us off from International Falls---a HUGE thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Now it's time to relax and get a foot massage so that I'm ready to take on the day 3.

It's a long walk home,

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Walk Has Begun!!

After two years of planning, today the walk started.  We got to Kabetogama Lake and the Arrowhead Resort yesterday---what a beautiful setting!  We relaxed and got ready.

This morning we met at the Bob Walls Memorial Union Hall in downtown International Falls.  Mike Holden drove Gary and I around so that we could see Rainy Lake from several vantage points---a lot of water!
Then back to the union hall for our send-off.  We had a great bunch of people to send us on our way.  Too many to name, but nurses, teachers, the volleyball team, city workers, children big and small.  Gary and Mike led the parade to the edge of town.  Everyone walked those first couple of miles.  Then it was just Gary.

The way we are working this is that we will have a "home base" for several days in five different spots along the route.  Today Gary walked from International Falls to 10 miles south of it.  We painted a mark on the shoulder (sorry if that's illegal!), drove back to our campsite.  Tomorrow we will begin at the mark and walk 10 more miles, make another mark, etc.  So we know exactly where we've left off to begin there the next day.

We are at Lake Kabetogama until 8/6.  Then we bring the camper with us and will go down to Eveleth where we'll be based for 10 days until the 16th.  So for half of those days we will be heading north to walk each day and the other half we'll be heading south.

Please pass the word!  You can donate from the website, or mail a check.  Also, check out our Facebook page Minnesota Miracle 2014---I will be posting pictures there as I can.

The adventure has begun!!  Gary has his first 12 miles under his feet and hopefully his body won't be too unhappy in the morning.

with hope in our hearts,
Joan and Gary

Saturday, July 19, 2014

  It's been a couple of exciting weeks.  Joan and I drove to International Falls earlier this month and I made a return trip last week.  Mike Holden had a meeting with his Union leaders and I was part of what's coming in August.  I left with a solid belief that the people in town will surely send me off on the 300 mile walk with more than a smile.  I also met with Emily Gedde with the "Journal" newspaper.  She assured me that they'll do all possible to take the beginning of the Minnesota Miracle into the eyes of the public.
  Prior to heading to International Falls I met with two great individuals in Duluth.  Scott Dulas and Larry Sillanpa.  Scott is the President of Branch 114 with the Letter Carriers and Larry is the Editor for "Labor World"!  Turns out that the letter carriers have their annual picnic scheduled for August 17, the day I walk through Duluth.  So they're joining me for part of the walk along with members of other Unions that day!  It should be both a day to remember and one that will be beneficial to the fundraising goal.  It also marks the half-way point of my miles walked.  Either I'll have found a physical strength to carry me through to the end or have to use the goodness in the hearts of all I've met!  Stay tuned!