Woke up to a very nice sunrise in Etna Township. I punched in the alarm code to enter the township building and shortly afterwards the alarm began to sound. I could not turn off the alarm and within minutes the local police were on the scene asking who I was. I showed them my I.D. and told them that I had permission to be in the building. Thankfully, soon after, one of the township employees showed up to inform them that I was legally there. There was some difficulty to get the alarm straightened around and we never quite figured what went wrong but they were able to disarm it eventually.
After saying goodbye to John Carlisle and Etna I began my 7½ mile walk to Licking Heights High School. There I was greeted by the National Honor Society at the driveway entrance and escorted into the school. Once inside I was given a very generous donation from the students that had been collected earlier in the week. Afterwards the office staff offered me a snack and led me to the coaches shower room. I think after two days of hiking they thought it would be a good idea that I take a shower. I took the hint! I soaked up the hot water and remembered how many times I have taken for granted the ability to turn on a faucet and have clean water. In 1985 I had lived in Tanzania, East Africa. Clean water was not something to be wasted. People would walk for miles each day just for a bucket of water. In Flint Michigan United Way is working hard to help with the water crisis currently going on because of the lead that has leached into the system. In Licking County we have some very healthy water systems but yet those who are homeless may not always have easy access to running water. We can all do our part by helping not to pollute our water, by using water saving toilets, and turning off the faucets when not in use.
After the shower, I headed out to pitch my tent before the baseball and softball games began. I was invited to speak at both games and to throw out the first pitch. It had been a while since I threw a baseball or softball but I managed to get them thrown in the right direction anyway. The Licking Heights Hornets played the Licking Valley Panthers. It was a beautiful evening for some good old fashioned youth baseball and softball. Superintendent Phillip Wagner stopped by and we had a chat about many of the issues that affect the students in his school district but also about the many opportunities in his district. His district is growing by leaps and bounds and is a very diverse student population.
Throughout the evening everyone seemed to have a great time. After everyone cleared the fields, I caught up on some of the emails I was desperately behind on and as dusk came, I was ready to crawl in the tent and rest. It was warm enough that I left one of the sides open to enjoy the stars. Somehow looking at the stars always seems to remind me of my place within the universe.
Continue to follow Deb on the 50 the United Way journey. To donate toward 50 the United Way go to www.unitedwaylc.org/50donate