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April 4, 2013

Rhode Island – Friday, March 29

This morning I made my way north from Newport to Bristol, where I was going to make my final Rhode Island donation at the Rhode Island Veteran’s Home. I had called first thing in the morning, and they told me that the donation could go to the activities program. I found them outside of town – they’re located in a pretty place on 110 acres, with a couple monuments. I went inside and they called the activities director, who came up to meet me. I gave her the donation and she had some questions about what I was doing, and then she invited me to have some homemade chicken noodle soup in their cafeteria for lunch and she told me a bit more about the place. Unlike many veteran’s homes, where residents must be 50 or 55 years old, the Rhode Island place has some younger vets here – some just in their 30s. And they deal with a whole scope of conditions – from physical injuries to PTSD. The majority of their residents are male, and they have a pretty good turnout of family members who visit. They were getting ready for a big Easter celebration. They currently have 187 residents, and back when the home first opened a long time ago, the place was a farm, and the residents did everything from tending a garden to caring for animals.

From there I headed over to Colt State Park, right on the bay. It was a beautiful place to walk – a long stretch of the walking path was right along the water. I only needed to do 6 1/2 miles today to finish up the Rhode Island walking, so we did about 3 1/2 miles at the park, and then I went into town where we picked up part of a bike trail at Independence Park and finished off the other 3 miles. When Taryn had joined me in Rhode Island last October, we had made a donation to a soup kitchen in Bristol, and walked just a little bit, and I was happy to get back to walk some more. Bristol prides itself on being the home of America’s largest Fourth of July celebration, and instead of having a yellow centerline down the middle of the roads, they have red, white and blue lines. The lady at the veterans home said that when it’s tourist season, it can take her 3 times longer to get to work because of the extra traffic. Rhode Island is a small state and kind of congested and bottle-necked at the many bridges, and it attracts so many people that I’m relieved to have visited when I did!

Then, after a 5 month delay because of Hurricane Sandy, I finally finished what I wanted to do in Rhode Island! I had walked all 56 miles, and made all 7 donations – the food pantry at North Kingstown United Methodist Church, Roger Williams National Monument, Lucy’s Hearth (a shelter for women and children), Bristol Good Neighbors Soup Kitchen, Robert Potter League for Animals, Jonnycake Center Food Pantry and the Rhode Island Veteran’s Home.

Then it was time to drive east across yet another bridge in Rhode Island (in very congested traffic!) and across one more small part of Rhode Island that’s connected to Massachusetts, which will be State #27. I said good bye to Rhode Island while looking at a rainbow.









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