Dispatches

Route 66

Salvation Army Captain Walks 66 Miles on Route 66 to Help the Homeless

To raise awareness about the problem of homelessness in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area, and to raise funds to support services for this population served by The Salvation Army, Captain Ken Chapman, area commander, took to the streets walking historic Route 66 for 66 miles in 66 hours with the goal of raising $66,000. He took on the challenge for three days in December, sleeping outside in bitterly cold weather in empathy with those without shelter. (The January edition of the “War Cry” print edition carries the full report.) Here are excerpts from Captain Chapman’s blog about the experience.

In setting the fundraising goal at $66,000, local businesses, advisory board members and Salvation Army staff members provided sustenance and encouragement during the walk, as well as donations. 

I will walk 66 miles on Route 66 in 66 hours to raise awareness of those in our area who have no place to call home…and I would sleep in a cardboard box each night to experience to feeling of homelessness – and raise $66,000 to help with our mission to serve the homeless population of the Tulsa area.

I began in Claremore at the Courthouse, joined by two faithful Salvation Army soldiers – Isaiah Stegall and Luke Swain. It so happened to be the coldest weather in two years for the three days of the walk.

The last five miles were torture for us, yet we kept on, finally arriving at Area Command – 24 miles traveled by foot that day. I collapsed in my chair in my office.

We set up our cardboard boxes outside, got our sleeping bags in the boxes, nursed our aching and blistered feet, and turned in for the night around 9:00 pm. It was 20 degrees that night.

We rose around 6:00 am and prepared for the day’s journey of another 24 miles. We walked to Tally’s and had a hearty breakfast. Thank God for sidewalks!

Isaiah began playing praise and worship music on his Bluetooth speaker and preaching blogs.

Our Territorial Headquarters Communication Bureau from Atlanta caught up with us and began to video the walk. It was dark when we arrived to the end of the second day journey and were greeted by Major Travis Israel and Chris Priest – with a warm fire. Major Israel provided a great supper for us and gave us great encouragement. As people left and the fire died down, we NEVER got warm that night – it was nine degrees inside our boxes and we shivered the night away with about an hour of fitful sleep.

Our Development Director, DJ Morrow, brought us a wonderful breakfast to begin our final day. We left the Fairgrounds about 7:30 with aching feet to tackle the first five miles into the downtown area of Sapulpa. We stopped at American Heritage Bank for some water and rest. We are grateful to the bank for the donation they gave toward the $66,000 goal. Major Israel joined up with us, as well as Ellison Perkins.

Our muscles and feet were really hurting and every step was painful, but our spirits were high and we mentally focused on completing the task. When we arrived back at Ollie’s, we were so surprised to be joined by an Advisory Board member, Billie Barnett and her husband, Howard, the President of OSU-Tulsa, and Ken Busby, Executive Director of the Interactive Route 66 Experience to be built across the street from the Cyrus Avery Memorial Park. They were a delight and they lifted our spirits. At the "bridge," we were joined by Staff Sergeant Vaugh and his lovely wife for the final miles.

We joined up with the Bagpipers and marched into the BOK Center to the sounds of “Amazing Grace” to officially end the walk. There was a presentation of a Proclamation from Tulsa County Commissioner Karen Keith and a closing ceremony. 

Note: All three of us “walkers” were at the Joy Center the next morning, filling angel bags and 4200 food boxes, then we all were in the Tulsa Christmas Parade that evening – the warfare must go on – Jesus is coming soon and we have to get busy. We will have an eternity to rest!

  • I am so grateful for my walking comrades – Isaiah Stegall and Luke Swain – amazing men of God who are so faithful and model soldiers of The Salvation Army.
  • I am extremely grateful for the support of the CRD Department of The Salvation Army Southern Territorial Headquarters. Major Israel and Chris Priest were amazingly kind to us and they both exemplified servant leadership.
  • I became totally dependent on God to give me the strength and spent much of the walk praying and praising.
  • We need to stretch ourselves beyond what we think is possible. We need to get out of our comfort zones to empathize with others. Life cannot be all about us. Nothing is impossible with God!” Luke 1:37

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