Walking complete, fundraiser continues

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Richard Atkinson has been pounding the pavement again for his Oldest Man Walking fundraising campaign. He launched two similar fundraisers in 2009 and 2014. (Heidi Desch/Whitefish Pilot)

Yes, the 15-year quest of Old/Older/Olderer Man Walking is finally complete!

With over 1,000 miles under my belt, I have decided to hang up my walking shoes, wool hats and mittens for the last time. I will now concentrate on finishing off the actual fundraising campaign. I am too old to be walking and fundraising at the same time!

My fundraising efforts are focusing on two things, project FREEFLOW and the Center for Sustainability and Entrepreneurship, otherwise know as the greenhouse project.

FREEFLOW (Flathead River Educational Effort for Focused Learning in Our Watershed) is a field science high school club that centers around water quality and natural resource issues that effect our environment. Field studies locally and throughout the West are at the heart of this club and thatís where the problem lies: the current field science bus clocks in at over 425,000 miles and there are serious concerns that it will not be usable (or safe) anymore.

Secondly, funds for the CSE are actually an extension of my walking efforts five years ago. Students and teachers have been living with that amazing facility for a few years now and there are additional needs that will help improve its overall usefulness. At the top of my personal list is a food forest, which will include dwarf fruit trees and berry bushes (if you have ever seen my orchard you will understand my passion for things fruity). Other items include rainwater collection tanks and composting systems.

My fundraising goal tops off at $100,000. Carol and I have already given $25,000 to get the ball rolling. And we have received numerous donations, including dollar bills from Muldown kids on their way to school. As always, your donation is tax-deductible through a designated fund of Oldest Man Walking at the Whitefish Community Foundation. For more information, contact the foundation at 863-1781 or visit www.whitefishcommunityfoundation.org, or send donations to P.O. Box 1060 Whitefish, MT 59937.

Please help me to complete what I consider to be my last fundraising effort EVER! Thank you for your support!

Richard H. Atkinson, Whitefish

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