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Man Walks Lincoln Highway to Raise Awareness of the Highway & Alzhiemers

April 23, 2014
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Jeff Blair will be walking on the Lincoln Highway beginning April 25th leaving Dyer, Indiana on the Indiana/Illinois border and head east along the 1928 version of the first transcontinental highway…THE LINCOLN HIGHWAY.  He will end this journey walking to the Indiana/Ohio border on May 5.

04/24/14 His objectives for this walk are four fold.  First, I am hopeful to raise significant charitable contributions for two worthy organizations…the Alzhiemer’s Association and the Lincoln Highway Association.  Also, He’s looking forward to seeing some of the old, even original buildings, businesses and mid-west Indiana scenery available along the 1928 route and placing so cool pictures on line for others to view.

Further, Blair expects to meet a host of great Hoosiers along the way that will share some time with him and with those he can talk about both the Lincoln Highway and Alzheimer’s associations.  

Finally, he wants to celebrate his 66th birthday by walking the 150+ mile distance over 11 days just to prove he still can!  

Here are the daily stops in case you want to walk along…

April 25        Dyer to Merrillville                  11 miles

April 26         Merrillville to Valparaiso       15 miles

April 27         Valparaiso to Hanna                12 miles

April 28         Hanna to Hamlet                      13 miles

April 29         Hamlet to Plymouth                15 miles

April 30         Plymouth to Etna Green         15 miles

May 1             Etna Green to Warsaw            15 miles

May 2             Warsaw to Columbia City        17 miles

May 3             Columbia City to Ft Wayne     14 miles

May 4             Ft Wayne to New Haven          13 miles

May 5            New Haven to IN/OH border   14 miles

 

History from the Jeff Blair website www.blairwalk.com

While growing up in Goshen, IN, the Blair’s lived just one block off Lincolnway East.  It never occurred to me to find out why this road (Route 33) was called Lincolnway during those early years.  In the mid- 1960′s I went off to college  (Hanover College in southern Indiana) several hours from Goshen, then pursued a career that had my family moving around the country to a variety of great places…none too close to Goshen, though.

When I retired a few years ago, we moved back to northern Indiana and built a home on Lake Tippecanoe, north of Warsaw.  One day I happened upon a brochure about something called the Lincoln Highway and found out that the old Lincolnway East route in my hometown was actually part of the FIRST TRANSCONTINENTAL HIGHWAY IN THE US AND WAS FORMED IN 1913).  That led to some inquiries with both the national and state associations so I could learn more.

After just a couple of meetings and some valuable history lessons, I was hooked.  I got active on both the state and national levels, attending conferences and meetings, buying the research books, supporting both organizations as often as possible.  I have even driven the full 3500 mile national route from Times Square to San Francisco and encourage other road warriors to do the same.  If you want to see some pictures of other states and wonderful scenery along the Lincoln Highway, let me know!

The LHA nationally and the INLHA in Indiana are both not-for-profit organizations that are accomplishing great things to commemorate, promote, protect, educate and beautify this great road,  to remind us all of the part the highway played in developing the auto industry and America’s tourism business, to educate our youth  (and some of our older youth) to its fascinating history, to support the road through the state legislature and agencies, to memorialize our terrific 16th President (certainly this is the longest and one of the first memorials to this great American), and more.  Of course, like most not-for-profits we are always on the lookout for new members and new sources of financial stability.

About 6 years ago I also got interested in Alzheimer’s as my father in law (Leo Radkey) reached his 90′s and was deteriorating physically, but maybe even more so mentally.  He was a tough old bird and it was rough to see him go but he lived a long, interesting, and meaningful life ( a “runner” for the Marines in WWII, for example) and eventually passed away.  Watching his mind go a little at a time during those latter years was difficult, but it got me reading and studying ways we might slow down the onset of Alzheimer’s or slow down its growth in any of us through puzzles, training, exercise, music, and mind stretching games.

Later it dawned on me that these two seemingly unrelated topics…my father in law’s Alzheimer’s and the Lincoln Highway actually have something in common.  Both relate to MEMORIES.  The great memories of the glory of the Lincoln Highway as it stretched from Time’s Square in New York City to Lincoln Park in San Francisco…and the wonderful memories that Leo shared with us of his life plus the ones we had of being with him over 50 years.

So, I am combining these topics into one long walk…150+ miles along the 1928 route of the Lincoln Highway through Indiana in order to see the sights of both yesterday and today along the route, plus to reflect on the thoughts of Leo and what he meant to our family.  I plan to raise thousands of dollars of contributions (hopefully) to be split equally between these two important organizations and am paying all of my own expenses along the way so that ALL PROCEEDS of pledges and donations can be split and shared with the two organizations without deductions for admin fees.

It is important to thank the Alzheimer’s Association of Indiana for assisting me in this effort and for providing literature that I can share with those I meet along my walk who express interest in the subject.  I also want to thank the many volunteers at the Indiana Lincoln Highway Association for their efforts in creating pledge cards, preparing press releases, scoping out diners and hotels and landmarks, and supporting me in so many ways.

 

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