As I sit here in Missouri on Christmas Eve wondering about what I can write about, I decided that I would leave the arts and talk about one man’s journey. A journey he calls The Walk of Life. A journey that started 27 years ago when his son, at 4 years old, developed juvenile diabetes. That man is my brother, Art Werner, and he has decided to walk from Whistler, British Columbia, Canada to Key West, Florida. Since his son, Jonathan, was diagnosed with diabetes, his nephew, Ross (my son), contracted a rare form of cancer and died at age 28. Seven months later, our mother’s husband, our stepfather, Cec, also died of cancer. Art decided he wanted to do something to honor these people. As he had relatives that served in the armed forces in Canada, he decided to honor all veterans with his 4,000 mile walk as well.
His walk is chronicled on his daily blog at www.thewalkoflife.org. While he is not raising money specifically for any cause, the honorees were involved in different organizations and anyone can donate to those organizations in the name of the honoree. If someone does make a donation when they meet him on the road (and many have), he donates that to Camp UTADA, a diabetic camp in Utah that his son attended every year and later worked as a counselor over the summer months.
Today, Christmas Eve, the walk starting temperature was 23 degrees. Why does Werner walk when it is this cold. "Diabetes doesn’t take a day off. Those who have died from cancer or given their lives for our freedom, don’t get to enjoy this holiday. So I will walk today, too."
In addition to the honorees listed on the Website, he carries a medicine bag made by a member of the Shoshone Nation filled with names of loved ones who other people would like to honor on the walk. See the Website for details on sending him a name.
So what is my role in this walk. In addition to setting up his website and notifying media outlets of his arrival in their city, I decided to spend 12 days over Christmas to be his support car driver. As our son is one of his honorees, my wife and I felt that we could be separated at Christmas for the first time in 32 years in order to support Werner in the walk.
His first support car driver was our 80-year-old mother, Joan Bund, who travelled from the beginning to mid Montana. Then Jim Doran, from the Pacific Northwest joined him until Dec. 20. That is where I come in. I am joining him as his support car driver until Jan 2. We hope to be in the Central Arkansas area, close to Maumelle, by then. At that time I have to go back to work. This is where you come in. He needs help to complete the walk by early April and reach his finish line in Key West. Florida.
He/we need a volunteer who doesn’t mind sitting in a car all day, waiting until the next opportunity to move up. You do live in a motorhome when not on the road. Your meals are provided. You have plenty of time to read, sleep or talk to friends while waiting for the radio call to move the support car up to the next safe spot. Not a very glamorous job, but it will assist one man complete this part of his life’s journey – The Walk of Life. For details see www.thewalkoflife.org.
Mark Your Calendars
Top of the Rock Chorus will hold open auditions Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013. Audition times are 2 p.m. — 5 p.m. Auditions will be held at U.S. Pizza, 5524 John F. Kennedy Boulevard in North Little Rock. Interested singers should prepare one minute of acapella music that showcases their talent. Please call Nancy Loney, 501-231-1119 for a specific audition time and additional information regarding rehearsals and commitment.
Top of the Rock Chorus is a member of Sweet Adelines International, sings four-part harmony and is the premier chorus in the greater Little Rock area. Visit www.topoftherockchorus.org for additional information.
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