Today, we storm the beach. Walking the Black Horse Pike, the 322 and the state 50 (there’s that number again) on a gray winter’s day through south Jersey, I was reminded of something my friend Kevin wrote me last week. “We are here, you just don’t see us because we are all behind you.” It summed up everything about walking the past 3,486 miles, from Fisherman’s Wharf to the Music Pier. The daily words of encouragement, the e-mails, the tweets, the simplest of texts … they meant everything during the hardest stretches of open road; of endless road. I hung onto them like buoys in a storm. Some days they were the only communication I had before bedding down in a tent on a nameless road, seemingly alone. Remarkably (or maybe not so, given the magic of these six months), the messages would come from someone different each day — my wife, a friend, a nephew, even someone I had met two towns back. Setting forth, there was a want to be alone, a need to rebuild self-confidence and a desire for simple self-sufficiency. There was much to prove. To myself. But it didn’t take long to discover that this journey was no solo undertaking. It was the most collaborative effort with which I’ve been involved. The Onny and Oboe Fund is being built on the backs of all those who connected (and re-connected) since June 18 — exactly six months ago. And while this walk may conclude today in Ocean City, this was no finite race. The steps that have worn through seven pairs of sneakers were a beginning, not an end. And we march forward together, the hundreds of donors, family and friends (new and old) alongside the future recipients of this scholarship fund. Us dreamers united.
Today, WE storm the beach.