After hitting their 66-mile goal, Salvation Army volunteers couldn't wait another second to kick off their shoes.
Captain Ken Chapman, area commander, and the Salvation Army Volunteers completed their 66-mile Route 66 Hunger Walk in Claremore Saturday afternoon.
They were met with a brass band, refreshments, a balloon archway and warm embraces-but their journey getting there wasn't quite as comfortable.
Chapman said he and the volunteers spent each night sleeping in tents and cardboard boxes, to raise awareness of the plight of the homeless population across northeast Oklahoma. Further, Chapman said he wants people to be aware, especially this time of year, of the resources available in Rogers County.
That's why he decided to end the walk in Claremore.
“We want to bring attention to the plight of the homeless,” Chapman said Saturday.
He took a moment to praise the efforts of the Rogers County Salvation Army Advisory Council.
“I am so incredibly proud of the Salvation Army Advisory Council here in Claremore and Rogers County. They do amazing work. They raise over $350,000 each year, they feed over 450 children every month. We keep people from staying on the streets here in your city,” Chapman said. “We keep people from becoming homeless, we pay their utilities and the people here today do that work. They are the real heroes.”
He said their journey started in Sapulpa Thursday morning at the Route 66 Car museum.
“We wanted to end in Claremore because of the amazing work you guys are doing,” he said. “And it's been going on for over 35 years.”
Safely stopped in Claremore, having walked from Catoosa that morning, Chapman said, “Our feet our hurting, our blisters are yelling at us, our muscles are hurting but it was worth every step.”
Other than raising awareness, Chapman said their goal was to raise funds-$66,000 to be exact.
During the festivities, Claremore Mayor Bill Flanagan was called upon to read a proclamation to commemorate the moment.
Flanagan said people, like the Salvation Army volunteers, are what make Claremore what it is.
He praised their efforts-“their vision, determination and dedication.”
He extended appreciation on behalf of the City of Claremore.
Joining in the festivities was Rogers County Commissioner Ron Burrows who said, “This is such a great project. It's an honor for Claremore to be the final stop.”