Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, September 15, 1997

15,000-mile record walk for charity

By ANDREA VARGO

Blinding sun bakes the bench where Donald Brown, 52, sits outside the Howard Lake City Hall.

Brown, a high school drop-out from Newton, Mass., strips off shoes and socks, as he tells his story.

The fact sheet handed out by his personal trainer, Charles Movra from Governador Valadares - MG, Brazil, says Brown started college at age 36 and graduated from Harvard Law School at age 44.

Brown has been a factory foreman, injured on the job, who was told by doctors that he would never walk again.

A veteran of the Marine Corps, he is considered disabled.

Selling his business gave this entrepreneur an opportunity to spend a year walking to raise funds for United Cerebral Palsy.

His own small son is a victim of this disease.

There are actually four charities, said Brown, that split the money pledged to the walk.

Private schools may participate in the walk, if they use the funds to recruit disadvantaged children.

In fact, when the team reaches South Dakota, they will walk with the Sioux Indians and will dedicate all funds raised there to the legal fight the Sioux are in to remain sovereign.

Movra, the trainer, continues to doctor Brown's feet during the short break. Brown walks for 20 minutes, then takes a break. He covers 40 miles per day.

Movra was a soccer hero in Brazil, said Brown. He was injured and couldn't play, so he became a nurse.

The Brazilian nurse doesn't speak much English, so Brown helps out with the questions.

Brown is also a motivational speaker for schools and organizations.

He said, "Never say never. Keep your eyes on the prize and wake up each morning walking!"

Brown told the Herald, "The way people treat us is awesome. This state is so friendly. Everybody waves! That hasn't happened in any other state."

"You know," he said, "we walk from big city to big city, but it is the small towns that really count."

Movra puts clean socks on Brown and helps with his shoes. The rest is over. The walk continues.


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