For a while there, country singer Jimmy Wayne was worried.

He wasn’t sure his months-long Meet Me Halfway campaign to walk from Nashville to Phoenix, Ariz., to raise awareness of at-risk and homeless youth was having the impact he had hoped. Recently, he changed his mind.

Wayne, who left Nashville on foot New Year’s Day, said from the road that the stories of teen adoption he is hearing are keeping him motivated over the last leg of his journey. Wayne is in east central Arizona with fewer than 200 miles before he reaches Phoenix.

“I just got two letters last night and one a few minutes ago from families who have been inspired by this walk,” Wayne said this week. “One family went out and adopted three teens. I just told them that is enough for me to know that this walk was so worth it. Those kids’ lives are changed. There lives are now on a different track. The word has spread and seeing the results on the back end of this walk is so (gratifying).”

And people are still coming out to support Wayne, who has talked openly about his violent, unstable upbringing that left him homeless and hungry as a teen.

Wayne said that since he crossed over the state line into Arizona he hasn’t spent one day walking alone. Last week, the Marx family flew from their home in Indiana and spent three days of their summer vacation walking with singer.

“It definitely justifies what I’m doing because sometimes you wonder,” he said. “I said the other day, ‘I’m committed, and sometimes I need to be committed.’”

Wayne credits his fans and his followers on Twitter with helping keep project Meet Me Halfway on track.

“You never know what’s going to happen when you start doing something this radical, and somewhere along the line, people have helped keep this thing in the right lane,” he said. “I just want people to know the reason I did this was to inspire people to help these teens that need homes. I want people to help this campaign and help raise awareness of this epidemic until it’s no longer a problem. . . . The walk will end, but the movement won’t stop.”

Wayne — who has taken some breaks in his journey to honor pre-scheduled concerts — loosely estimates he will arrive in Phoenix July 31.


July 16, 2010

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