By Jerry Campbell
This year, I wanted to raise awareness for the Alzheimer’s Association by going on a little walk of my own for the cause — well, all of the Walks in the Pacific Northwest to be exact. Since I couldn’t be in every city when the Walk was happening, I journeyed around Washington, Oregon and Idaho on my own, walking each route to raise awareness. I even created my own walk route in Federal Way. The trek culminated with the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Seattle, where I joined thousands of others in the fight against Alzheimer’s.
You’ll notice in the pictures that I’m wearing a baseball cap. In every city I visited, I stopped to get signatures of every person in uniform I encountered — whether it was military, police, or fire personnel. I also collected a rock from each location, as a token of my journey in honor of Arline, a family friend who is living with dementia. Here are some photos and a little travelogue from the 19 walks I did this fall. Enjoy!
- Port Angeles: Nice day in a beautiful city. The 9/11 Memorial at Waterfront Park is beautiful and will make you remember. Interrupted two firefighters during their lunch to get autographs and thank them for their service.
- Bremerton: The walk route had views of the shipyard and the Turner Joy from the Manette Bridge. I also got signatures from a Naval officer and police officer for my cap.
- Portland: Another beautiful day for a walk in Old Town and along the river. Some excitement brought the fire and police personnel around (all turned out well), so grabbed a few autographs and a photo. Walk included a trip across the historic Steel Bridge.
- Vancouver: I headed just across the Columbia River and downtown to Ester Short Park. Old Fort Vancouver was right there, as were some bronze historical monuments and an old apple orchard. Added a signature from the Vancouver Chief of Police to my cap!
- Longview: Last walk of a perfect day, was a relaxing stroll around Lake Sacajawea.
- Yakima: As hoped for, a perfect day for a leisurely drive and a couple of walks. A great river walk and the really nice Sarg Hubbard Park. One more signature for my baseball cap from a police officer.
- Kennewick: Headed to the bandshell and then for a walk along the river, where there were grandstands for the boat races and a monument sign for the first federal road in the Northwest.
- Walla Walla: Walked at the old fort, where there was a solar system along the trail. Went by historical officers’ quarters on the way back and saw the historic Fort Walla Walla cemetery too.
- Lewiston: Late night arrival, but the riverside walk was beautiful and well lit. Took a selfie with some skateboarders!
- Coeur d’Alene: The Centennial trail is awesome. Got autographs and selfies with EMTs and firefighters.
- Spokane: I walked by the Gonzaga Law School. There were cool sculptures and there was a food festival going on. Ate some food and got an autograph and selfie with a service member.
- Moses Lake: It was warm and sunny for a walk!
- Wenatchee: It was a gorgeous evening for a stroll. Saw some neat sculptures and a mini train along the way.
- Tacoma: A nice walk around the University of Puget Sound campus. There were historical homes and beautiful landscaping.
- Mt. Vernon: Interesting mural and a beautiful river walk.
- Everett: Another beautiful walk along the water. Saw the historical schooner, The Equator, during this incredible day for walking.
- Redmond: The walk is very nice, and I got an autograph and selfie with the Redmond Chief of Police.
- Federal Way: I decided to create my own Walk to End Alzheimer’s here in Federal Way by taking a little stroll from the Federal Way City Hall to the 9/11 Memorial outside South King County Fire and Rescue Station 64.
- Seattle: This was the completion of my goal to walk all routes in the Pacific Northwest! It was a beautiful day to walk around the Space Needle with an incredible crowd. Hopefully one day, we can say that this terrible disease has been cured because of the true Grand Champions: the folks who donated to find a cure and the ones who care for our friends and family struggling with Alzheimer’s. Thank you for supporting me on my journey!
Editor’s note: Jerry is a retired 62-year-old veteran who previously worked for Alaska Airlines. He would like to thank all the women and men in uniform he met along his journey, and to all those in uniform he didn’t meet, for what they do for us. Lastly, he would like to thank The ScoreBoard for their support and donating the hat used to collect signatures.
Inspired by Jerry’s journey? Make a donation to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in your community now through Dec. 31 and join Jerry in moving us one step closer to realizing our vision of a world without Alzheimer’s.