Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Former Missoula homeless man nearly done with 1,460 mile march

Posted By on Tue, Dec 27, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Stephen Millhouse left Missoula on Aug. 3 and started walking south toward Los Angeles to raise money for programs addressing homelessness and hunger. Despite a fractured foot, countless blisters, and the usual weather issues, he's nearly reached his destination. As of yesterday, he was in Ventura, Calif.

Millhouse chose the route because he's been personally homeless in both Missoula and L.A. He wrote the following in a press release before starting his journey:

As an actor, I’ve worked hard to get inside a character’s skin and walk around in it, including that of Bob Ewell, the racist villain of “Mockingbird” a decade ago for the Montana Repertory Theatre. In real life, I’ve worn the shoes of a U.S. Marine, a Postal Service letter carrier, a Missoula County Sheriff’s deputy, a clinical therapist and a custodian.

I’ve also been homeless at two points in my life, once in Los Angeles and once in Missoula. I am grateful for the programs that helped sustain me. I understand personally and profoundly the importance of Missoula’s Poverello Center and Valor House, which houses homeless Veterans in Missoula. I also know what it means to receive federal food assistance programs (food stamps.) I’ve learned humility and compassion, as I believe anyone would if they had the same experience. In short, when it comes to the homeless, I know what it means to walk in their shoes.

He fractured his foot in Idaho (see the X-ray on the right). In an interview with the The Santa Maria Times he explained how a doctor at a VA clinic in Martinez bought him a walking boot so he could continue his march.

“Throughout I have been so amazed and humbled by the people — ‘Road Angels,’” Millhouse told the paper. “People will stop you and give you a sandwich, buy you a cup of coffee or pray for you.”

That generosity and awareness is why Millhouse is making the walk. He hopes to raise one penny per mile of the trip ($14.60) from enough people to reach his goal of $1 million.

Computer troubles have made updating the website difficult, but you can still follow his progress on the My One Man March Facebook page. At his current pace of four miles per day, he'll reach L.A.'s Skid Row in just more than two weeks.

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