Friday, October 14, 2005

Illinois - Land of Contrasts
Don Vermilyea's Reflections
October 2005

Dear Friends

For only the second summer of the four walked, wild fruit was plentiful. The early fruits (blackberries and raspberries) mostly dried up, but the apples were abundant from wild trees. There was even a peach tree with golf ball size fruits on the ground. Man they were good!

Illinois was brutal hot and humid for the entire four months the walk was there, except for about ten days. This makes three summers out of four with well above normal temperatures. Fifty degrees is a nice temperature for me, eighty is very hot to walk and sixty-five and above at night means sleep is accomplished in sweat. But… it didn't rain much, bad for farmers and good for me.

Church of the Brethren and others hospitality was excellent for the most part. This is the largest thank you section so far. June and July thank yous for food, lodging, etc., to: Karen, Charley, and Kenny Bridges; Jim and Becky Griffen; Howard Schockey; Tony Saputo; Dale, Penny, Courtney, Sammy, Evan, Andrae, and Brenden Dinterman; LaPlace Church of the Brethren; Jodie, Derek, Torie, Josiah, and Isacc Agar; Bill Nickerson; Becky from the Salvation Army; Eric Volkel-Barno, Melinda, and Andrew Barno; Terry Link; Marsha, Allen, and Emily Krall; Kres, Elizabeth, and Becka Lipscomb; Springfield First Church of the Brethren; Fletcher Farrar and Mary Jessup; Jan Stoller; Joan Boatz; Astoria Church of the Brethren; Gary Schultz; Woodlands Church of the Brethren; Jeanine and Ernie Shanks; Camp Emmanuel; Debbie Taylor and Love Community Church; Tammy and Kevin Kessler; Canton Church of the Brethren; Virgina Everist; David Radcliff; Larry and Barbara O'Neil; Chris, Jenny, and Molly Stover-Brown; Hannah Edwards; Amy Heckert; John and Michelle Elder; Leonard, Vicky, and Wendy Matheny; Peoria First Church of the Brethren; Christine Hoecker; Dana McNeil; Church of the Brethren General Board; Marilyn Kiefaber; Peter Yordy; Philip and Peggy Yordy; Panther Creek Church of the Brethren; Annie and Jerry Sales; St. James Evangelical Congregational Church; Dan McFadden; Judy and Neil Brinkmeir; Harry and Cindy Wilkinson; Anna Pomazal; Chuck and Jane Pomazal; Dixon Church of the Brethren; Dale and Alice Wickert; Pat Ball; Camp Emmaus; Church of the Brethren Illinois Junior High Camp; Jim Miner; Barb, Tim, Alex, and Cheyenne Krehl; Uldine Baker; Dean and Sue Coppernoll; Pat and Earl Miller; Yellow Creek, Freeport, and Rockford First Church's of the Brethren; Church of the Brethren Illinois Senior High Camp; Mike Garner; Polo Church of the Brethren; and Richard and Joyce Person.

August and September thank yous for food, lodging, etc., to: Franklin Grove Church of Brethren; Dale Erisman; Lelia Place; Ruth and Lloyd Shipman; Judd and Kay Peter; Christ Connections Community Church; Jeff Rugg; Ginger Florence; Dennis Webb; Naperville Church of the Brethren; Ron Olsen; Jim, Elvira, Elizabeth, and Nate Lawdenski; Faith Church of the Brethren; Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford; Ralph Miner; Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren; Jeanne Ardith Davies; York Center Church of the Brethren; Carolyn, Mike, Hannah, Jonah, and Renee Neher; Douglas Park Church of the Brethren; Shirley Petracek; Christian Peacemakers Team; Chicago Fourth Presbyterian Church; Richard Williams; Allison Hutchinson; Chicago First Church of the Brethren; Orlando Redekopp; Barb Dugan; Ruth from Monee (Gas City); Zion Lutheran Church of Chebanse; Ryan from Buckley; Rex Richardson; Margaret Hicks; Champaign Church of the Brethren; J.P. from Paris; Jim Clark; Oak Grove Federated Church; David and Vicky Johnston; Allison Prairie Church of the Brethren; Tim and Dottie Ridgely; Eric Poole; Walnut Grove Church of the Brethren; Pat Rothrock; Debbie Baker; Sharon and Gene Gardner; Kenny Rutherford; Martin Creek Church of the Brethren; Carson and Donna Tullis; Hurricane Creek Church of the Brethren; Tom and Linda Dooley; Marlene Carpenter; Charlene and Bud Leitch; Carlyle United Methodist Church; Guy Ball; Christi, Jeremiah, Jacob, Blake, and Nikki Aeschleman; and Vienna First United Methodist Church.

Special thank yous to: Keith Cummins and Julie for teeth cleaning; Dale Sesse for glasses; Eric Volkel-Barno for typing, emailing, and CD work; Phil Miller for a haircut; Chuck Pomazal for a new reflective vest; Pat Ball for medical help; Jeanne Ardith Davies for typing and emailing; Carol and Darrell Needham for shoes, pair #10; Jewel McNary for maps; Kenny Rutherford for a watch; Carson Tullis for new glasses; Christi Aeschleman for typing and emailing; Ed Garrison and Clarene Dunn for initial church contacts.

A double thank you to all of those I have forgotten to thank.

All kinds of people walked with me in Illinois. Dan McFadden of the Highland Avenue Congregation upped his record for the most miles walked across America to 92. Annie Sales of the Franklin Grove Congregation walked 42, the second most. Guy Ball of the Dixon Congregation is in third with 39. Jim Batterman formerly of the Woodlands Congregation, and now residing in Houston, Texas is in fifth with 26. Camp Emmaus in rural Mt. Morris was the sight of the most at one time to ever walk with me, 91 campers and counselors from the Senior High Camp!!!!! And the Junior High Camp included 45, good for third place all time. I am grateful for all that walked with me. I am even more grateful to those who carried my pack on their back.

And then there is my good friend Barb Dugan who drove from Pennsylvania to walk with me. This was a huge treat. But as usual the huge majority of the time I walked without human companionship.

Illinois had skyscrapers, the tallest of the walk. Such riches tied up in buildings in corporate America. Illinois yielded the second most money from their streets and highways. It was everywhere. Poverty abounded in much of the state too.

Law enforcement was as ornery as the weather. The general public was more ornery than not. There was more Church of the Brethren rejections in Illinois than the prior three plus years west of the Mississippi. It is a wonderful feeling when I know there is at least floor space at night for this homeless person. I have a hard time when we put politics, busyness, selfishness and other excuses above sharing a sleeping space with a Christian brother.

Illinois began after crossing the Mississippi River for the third time and ended when the walk crossed the Ohio River for the first time into Kentucky. I am glad this state is over.
Illinois Stats
May 29 2005 - October 03, 2005
71 nights hosted
56 nights homeless
1393 miles were walked
In Christ's Love,

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