ROCKINGHAM — What started out being quite a chilly Saturday morning with temps in the 30s, turned out to be a gorgeous fall day for the inaugural Walk for a Purpose at Hinson Lake.
Participants arrived to a view with the sun filtering through the fog as it lifted off the lake.
Richmond County Sheriff’s Office Detective James Hamby, who is also a 12-year Marine veteran, led the walk with hope to bring the community together to help other veterans as well as the disabled.
Hamby was inspired to organize the walk after participating in the “No Barriers” expedition held in Asheville back in May. The Hinson Lake walk was laid out with the same phases of the Asheville walk; phases which made one think about all areas of their lives.
The event took place around 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, beginning with a brief meeting in which attendees gathered to hear Hamby speak of the purpose for the walk. He then showed a five-minute video of the “No Barriers” expedition.
It was a reflecting time for all who made the difficult hike up that mountain which inspired and motivated. It also encouraged the letting-go of baggage that had been built up due to the challenges while serving in the military.
“I focus more on the veteran side of things because that’s what I am,” Hamby said. “Part of my pledge was that I wanted to make a difference in my community. My goal is to get veterans out to participate which will help with their healing.”
Before the actual walk around the lake, each person was given a flag which read “No Barriers.” During the walk, Hamby made several stops to speak then he allowed all attending to reflect and write on certain areas of their flag in regards to the past, present and the future. At each stop of the walk he gave the opportunity for anyone to share their thoughts.
During the first stop Hamby spoke of how his mother committed suicide when he was only 5 years old, how an injury ended his career in the Marines and how he struggled with feeling like he was not good enough. Participants were encouraged to reflect and note on the flag anything from their past that may be haunting them.
The second stop was designated at a crossroads of the trail. Hamby purposely chose this spot to bring the attention on reflecting where anyone is in their life now and how they would like to change; as a crossroad in their life. Again, each person took time to note on another section of their flag any thoughts they may have.
“We will cross over the bridge next into our future” Hamby said, as the journey continued over the lake bridge.
Shortly thereafter was the third stop regarding the future as he encouraged all to note a reachable goal on each of their flags.
“Mine was trying to make a difference in my community, and here I am now making a difference,” he said.
At the final stop, Hamby discussed a silent walk in his May expedition which allowed space for each person to solely walk while they meditated on a change they would like to make.
At this point, each person attending Walk for a Purpose was also encouraged- as they were given adequate space – to silently walk to the end of the trail and reflect on a change in their life.
“This is the phase of the walk where I’ve seen people get emotional,” Hamby said. “We don’t get a lot of time to ourselves so this part is very important.”
The Rev. Charlie Tyler who retired as a sergeant first class after 27 years in the U.S. Army, was one of the participants. He was wounded in battle Dec. 7, 2003.
“Both my knees had to be replaced due to the injury which put me in medical hold for 1 ½ years,” he said. “I retired after the injury.”
Tyler now serves as chaplain for AMVETS Post 316, The Military Order of the Purple Heart, and FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital-Richmond. He is also on the Honor Guard.
“I’m participating today to support all veterans,” he said.
Retired superior court judge and current state Rep. Scott Brewer, D-Richmond, also attended.
More than 70 people who came out to support the walk. Many showed their support by volunteering in different areas. Food and drinks were donated by Tri-City and Electronic Services Company. Mount Carmel Freewill Baptist Church cooked and served the food and DJ Neil Parrisher provided the music.
The event raised $1,988.
“Year one is in the books, and we are already making plans for next year. I hope to make it a yearly event around this time of year again” said Hamby. “I would like to thank everyone who came out to support this event, and I hope it grows bigger every year.
“If you are a veteran just remember you are not alone and always remember, what’s within you is stronger than what’s in your way.”
For more information on this walk or future walks, contact James Hamby at 910-813-8597 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.