Johnstown man to hike Appalachian trail for polio eradication

Local News

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (WTAJ) —A Johnstown man is about to take the trip of a lifetime over the next 100 days, and he’s doing it all on foot.

As a Rotarian, Owen understands the importance of the organization’s involvement with polio, which is why he is devoting three months to this adventure. “hike the Appalachian trail which goes from Georgia to Maine 2,200 miles within 100 days to raise 100,000 dollars for polio eradication because that’s still a things and it shouldn’t be and so I’m just trying to do what I can with the small amount of time that I have on this rock as we careen through the cosmos and try to make tomorrow a little less terrible of a place,” says Owen.

Rotary is one of Owen’s many passions. “He bleeds rotary. He eats, breathes and sleeps rotary,” says Camette Standley, Owen’s wife. Music theater and performance are also a love of Owen’s. Which is why Owen is bringing a long a special friend, one you might say has his back.

“My ukulele — this is Miscellaneous she’s my girlfriend, and made from carbon fiber,” says Owen. “Not only does she help serves as some entertainment, but also she’s there for my sanity and for my mental health.”


And Rotarians across the country are helping Owen along the way. “I’m also coordinating with other rotarians on the ground which is very exciting – people I’ve never met but through rotary there’s a shared level of trust. They’re very receptive to meeting me on the trail like at a trail head it’ll be very late in the day and after doing 25 miles every day I’m going to be pretty whooped and very stinky,” says Owen. So, several folks have stepped up to help. They’ll put Owen up for the night, take him grocery shopping, feed him a hot meal, and give him a place to shower and do some laundry. All before dropping him back off where he left off, and he’ll start the 25 mile trek all over again.

Owen’s wife Camette will be sending Owen care packages along the way. She even plans on making a trip out to West Virginia when he makes it to the area to check out their favorite sushi joint. “As he is going on his journey he’ll need to restock some of his supplies so I’m going to be the person at the house putting those packages together this will be the longest we’ve ever been apart — but I’m super excited for him,” says Camette.

Owen starts his trip on March 9th. If he stays on track and keeps his goal of 25 miles a day over the course of 100 days, that will put him home some time around the beginning of June.

For more information on how you can help Owen’s Odyssey visit hikeforpolio.com.

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