Just outside Libby earlier this week, I met Alizabeth. This young lady, whose Grandfather was a Marine, always wanted to become a Marine herself, but circumstances out of her control did not allow her to fulfill her dream. But she is still serving her country with her enthusiasm and love and support of those who freely give their lives for our great country!
Thank you to the Libby veterans that fed me, got a motel room, and donated to help other veterans. You make this journey remarkable.
As I was leaving Libby, Alizabeth came out to say goodbye to me one more time, said I am her hero for what I am doing. Thank you, but I am not a hero. All the men and women risking their lives in every aspect of serving this great country are the true heroes. Please keep them all in your prayers.
I had no sooner left Libby proper, when I realized I had to go to the bathroom. I saw a gold shop up the road, and felt compelled to ask them if I might use their restroom. Just then another resident, who was an Army Veteran, came out from across the street to greet me. I thought about asking her about her toilet, but for some reason I felt compelled to go into the gold store. The owners were a very nice Christian couple who prayed with me for a safe journey. What a blessing. How funny that God even uses our bowels to connect us to brothers and sisters in Christ!
And then later, who would have guessed I would meet two men from my own hometown, working road construction along the way! Nice surprise.
That night, my good friend Bruce met me at Mile Marker 54 and took me to the Bitterroot Lions Camp in Marion. It was this very camp that brought my wife and I to Montana 11 years ago! After retiring from civil service, I found a job as the camp manager there. Although I only pursued it for one summer, Bruce and Jennifer took over when I left, and we became very dear friends. I appreciate their hospitality so much. They took me in for three nights, driving me back to my starting point each morning.
I am going to call Wednesday’s stretch of Highway 2 between Mile Markers 56-77 the Golden Road! I had so many people stop to donate alongside those Thompson Lakes. On behalf of wounded veterans, thank you to everyone who has helped further this cause. Two of those people are our friends Bob and Barbara, who drove up from Thompson Falls. Bob walked a few miles with me. THey are great friends and prayer warriors as well.
Today Bruce walked 11 miles with me, pushing the cart the entire time. His wife Jennifer joined us just west of Marion, and walked to dinner at the Hilltop Inn. The owners surprised us and picked up the tab. So many generous people supporting this journey, I just cannot say thank you enough. I also met a gentleman who told me the sad story of his brother who served in Vietnam and then died from complications of Agent Orange. He was only in his 30s.
I also want to thank all the drivers along Highway 2 who have been very generous with the spacing. I really appreciate that motorists have really paid attention and graciously given us plenty of walking room.
Tomorrow morning, Friday, April 26, I will give a presentation at the school in Marion. Although I have given many, many presentations in the past, this will be the first on-the-road talk. I am honored to be given the opportunity to speak to our future leaders.
I am available for presentations along the way. Please visit the contact information on www.walkingforthefallen.com for scheduling.
“In closing,” (as most preachers would say to their sleepy congregation), I will be walking into Kalispell tomorrow. I will come in from the west on Highway 2, cut up Meridian (by the fairgrounds) to Highway 93 north, and end at The Sportsman between 5:30 and 6 p.m. This fine store — blatant plug for them — believed in me when this journey was in the initial planning stages. They donated my two-seater jogging stroller, one of the very first items I needed to secure to make this walk a reality. I am grateful to them for their faith in this venture.
If you want to walk with me as I enter Kalispell, I should be near the western edge of town around 4-4:30. Of course these times are not set in stone, but an approximation.
I look forward to seeing some of you tomorrow, then taking a few days off at home with my wife before I start the next leg!
~ Semper Fi ~