Walking Cross Country With a Purpose

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By Connie Goff,

Maryville, MO – Some people walk because they enjoy being outside. Some walk to enjoy quiet time away from the cares of the world. Some walk because it’s doctor’s orders. Chris Graham, California, and Kelsey McManus, Virginia, walk for a much different reason – to defend the rights of unborn children.

Graham and McManus are among those participating in three simultaneous walks originating from Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, that began on May 22 and will end in Washington, DC, on August 15. The walks are part of Crossroads’ yearly pilgrimage across the United States.

Crossroads was founded in 1995 by Steve Sanborn, a student at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, and is a Civil Rights organization that exists to help bring about a culture of life and defend the right to life of all unborn children. Walkers are primarily college-age students. Men and women, over 18 years of age, from all over the US are welcome to participate.

When Deanna Sporleder, respect life coordinator for St. Gregory’s parish, received an email that the Crossroads walkers would be in the Kansas City area Saturday, July 11, and Sunday, July 12, she called Crossroads to ask if representatives could come to Maryville to speak to the congregation of St. Gregory’s and share their feelings about abortion and the rights of unborn children.

“I jumped on it and called Crossroads and they were gracious enough to say yes,” Sporleder said. “They borrowed a car and came up here. Myself and one other Maryville resident went to Kansas City last Sunday night to a private barbecue kickoff for the walk to leave Kansas City that night, (the walkers were) headed to Warrensburg.”

While they were in Maryville, Graham and McManus shared some of the experiences they had while participating in the walk, as well as ministering and sharing their feelings about how precious life is.

Graham said the group of 10 walkers that make up the central route group were walking roughly a 3,000-mile walk at 50-70 miles a day.

“We are sleeping three to four hours a day, with one support vehicle and an RV held together with duck tape and prayer,” Graham said.

Sporleder said the small RV roof was literally separating from the cabin area above the truck cab.
“But all they talked about was how friendly the midwest has been, stopping to ask if they need assistance because they were walking in front of a vehicle with emergency flashers on,” Sporleder said. “They have such touching and sometimes hilarious stories to share. They were just fun to be around. Can you imagine walking day and night and then borrowing a car to drive two hours north to speak to people in Maryville? We were blessed to have them here.”

After ministering in the Kansas City area Graham and McManus, along with the other walkers, continued their trek with stops in Warrensburg, Tipton, Jefferson City and Union.

They will cross into Illinois through St. Louis on July 21, eventually reaching Washington, D.C., where the three walking routes will connect for a pro-life rally on August 15.

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