There is light after the tunnel for Gary Walters and his 15-year-old son Jackson.
The duo left their Baxter home Aug. 13 and they've been making their way to Washington, D.C., on their in-line skates. As of Friday, the father and son team are expecting to be only a couple of miles away from their destination by Monday night.
At the end of the day Thursday, the Walters made it to Cumberland, Md., and Walters wrote in his daily log, "We are less than 170 miles for D.C. now and I can see the end. I think we may take Friday or Saturday off or make it at least just a short day."
The Walters have been making their trek across the county in an effort to raise funds and awareness for Kinship Partners, the nonprofit organization that matches adult mentors with children.
SPOTTED: » Follow in Photo Galleries Walters Wacky Adventures
For the past six years, Gary Walter has gone out of his way with coming up with ideas on how to raise money for Kinship Partners. In 2003, he biked from Baxter to New Orleans. In 2004, he camped out for more than a week on top of Brainerd's historic water tower. In 2005, he walked the length of Minnesota in 17 days. In 2006, he swam across Lake Mille Lacs. In 2007, he lost 100 pounds in a year. In 2008, he unicycled around the track at Adamson Field.
As of Friday morning, the Walters have raised $11,170 in donations.
Walters is scheduled to meet with Congressman Jim Oberstar Tuesday afternoon on the Capitol steps. Thursday he has two appearances scheduled, one at a Minnesota township leadership meeting where he anticipates the entire Minnesota Congressional delegation will attend and a second appearace with Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
David Downing, Kinship Partners executive director, in an e-mail Friday said the national mentoring collaborative sent an e-mail to all 48,000 mentoring programs in the country about Walters' adventures and that Walters is working on a meeting with Colin Powell, who was the 2009 National Mentoring Month spokes person.
Downing said Kinship Partners will be hosting a welcome home event for Walters and his family from 5-7 p.m. Sept 16 at the Brainerd Kinship office, 910 Pine St., Brainerd. The Kinship mentoring partnerships and the community are invited to come and thank the Walters for their efforts. Cake and ice cream will be served, games for the children and a short program at 6 p.m.
JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5851.
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