Retired teacher from Antioch walks to raise funds for homeless
Dan Lyons, a retired sixth-grade teacher from Antioch who’s walked across the U.S. four times in the last six years raising money for various causes, is now in Nevada City.
Lyons, 56, is walking from San Luis Obispo to Sacramento, this time, to raise money for the homeless shelters in San Luis Obispo.
“It’s in my soul; I love helping people,” Lyons said. “I can’t write a check for a million dollars to these causes but I can walk and bring hope and inspiration to other people.”
In 2001, Lyons raised $17,000 for the National Alzheimer’s Association walking from the Pacific to the Atlantic coast, he said. In 2002 and 2006 he walked the breadth of America again and raised $10,000 for the Homeless Veteran’s Counseling Center, $36,000 for the American Cancer Society and $12,000 for the Klamath Falls Gospel Mission, Lyons said.
Lyons is taking a circuitous route to the state’s capital because the further he walks, the more money he raises through pledges.
“It’s terribly challenging,” Lyons said about his cross-country walks. “When I end my walks from the Pacific coast to the Atlantic, everything (about the journey) comes back to me and sometimes I just melt down on the beach and cry. Once it’s over, all the pressure is off you. It’s a daunting experience.”
Lyons is full of mind-boggling experiences that are almost the stuff of adventure novels.
He’s survived a blizzard in Montana, tornadoes in Nebraska, a robber in Wyoming, a drunk driver in Missouri who tried to kill him, and a bear in Arkansas about to steal from Lyons’ backpack, he said.
In his present walk, Lyons is being supported by the California Polytechnic State University, said Jeff Morgan, student director co-ordinator at the Cal Poly Student Community Services office.
Lyons also has a letter of support from Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo), according to Christine Robertson, chief of staff at Blakeslee’s Capitol office.
Once he reaches Sacramento, Lyons said he will meet June 12 with Blakeslee and Sen. Abel Maldonado (R-Santa Maria) to discuss the issue of homelessness in the state.
Both Blakeslee and Maldonado’s office said Lyons had no appointment with the respective officers on the specified date.
“A lot of the homeless I’ve met are not derelicts as people may think them to be,” Lyons said. “Many of them come from good backgrounds and are educated. Something happened in their lives, which took away everything.
“The homeless are out there. They will always be there. We’re in this together,” Lyons said.
To contact Soumitro Sen, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4229.
Funds raised by Dan Lyons will go directly to the Homeless Services of the Economic Opportunity Commission, a nonprofit based in San Luis Obispo.
Donations can be made through the commission Web site at http://www.eocslo.org or mailed to the commission at 1030 Southwood Drive, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401. Checks should be made out to the Economic Opportunity Commission.
You can read Lyons’ blog about his walks at www. aicr.org.uk/coasttocoast/ RoadBlog.aspx.
– Soumitro Sen
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