[Hpn] Granite Falls, MN -- Walk of Hope for the Homeless takes man through
Wed, 24 Jul 2002 15:33:18 -0500
Walk of Hope takes man through Granite Falls
By Adam Rynkiewich - Granite Falls Advocate Tribune - July 05, 2002
Granite Falls , MN -- You may have seen him packing down the Hwy. 212 or maybe
he walked right through Granite Falls and you never did catch a glimpse. Just a
man in a backpack humping through the thick morning humidity.
"The news people seem to find me now and then," he laughed. "I haven't sought
much publicity. Just stopping at churches, talking to people."
Dan Lyons is about two-thirds of his way through a quiet coast-to-coast hike
called "Walk of Hope".
Having started in Everett, WA on May 4 at 10 a.m., Lyons has been snaking his
way across Idaho, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota in searing, recently
overwhelming heat at a pace of about 15 miles a day.
"I get about six to seven hours of walking in a day, starting at 5:30 in the
morning," said Lyons. "Met some really great people along the way."
In his hometown of Antioch, CA Lyons works for the Golden Hills Community
Outreach Center. The center offers both worship services and hot meals to
homeless and low-income people of all ages, including some veterans.
"Through my work, I've met so many people, young people too, living on the
street and in cars," said Lyons. " I wanted to do something more."
Lyons is no stranger to benefit walking, even to walking across the nation. Just
last year, he raised $17,000 for Alzheimer's research in memory of a friend of
his by walking from Crescent City, CA to Cape Henry, VA.
As with the last walk, on this hike Lyons has lost a lot of weight (about 25
pounds) and gained the skin color of a sun-dried tomato.
"That journey (the Alzheimer's Walk) was well-planned and we got the big
sponsors," said Lyons. "This walk has been really based on faith."
Lyons is equipped with a letter of introduction from his Assemblies of God
Church back home as well as a letter of commendation from California Governor
Gray Davis and other letters from his U.S. and state representatives.
"But this was more thrown together, trying to raise some money along the way,"
said Lyons of his approach to fighting homelessness.
Running on faith and hope, though, is not a hindrance in a long solo journey, it
seems, though they do not always produce a bed for a night's rest or even food
every day of the journey.
But faith and hope are something as integral as the shoes that save his feet
from the griddle-like roads and as essential as the gallon jug of water he totes
in his left hand.
Thirty-two years ago, Lyons, a Vietnam War veteran, lost his best friend in the
"Near Danang. . . I was moving out," said Lyons, trembling, "and he gave me his
St. Christopher pin. . . for safety. He was a Catholic. Later, I found out he
was killed that day. Now, I want to take this pin back to him, place it on the
Vietnam War Memorial."
The Walk of Hope is then also a Walk of Faith; faith and hope that money can be
raised to help the homeless people Lyons works with every day and hope and faith
that he can honor his friend by returning a gift cherished for many years.
The trek will end in Washington D.C., probably alone, without fanfare, but Lyons
said that would probably be best, at least for a moment, a moment alone to share
with his friend.
Lyons will also be meeting with U.S. Rep. Ellen Tauscher while in Washington,
D.C. to discuss legislation dealing with California's homeless needs.
If you would like to check on Lyons' progress, read some of his journal or
donate to his cause, please go to www.walk-of-hope.com.
H. C. [Sonny] Covington, Editor
Homeless and Housing News