November 26, 2007

Valrico 10-year-old walks to Tallahassee for charity

TALLAHASSEE -- Zach Bonner, a very determined 10-year-old from Valrico, has spent the last 23 days walking 280 miles to Tallahassee with his mother to raise money for homeless children. They finally reached the steps of the state Capitol this morning.
"I'm happy it's over, but I'm sad at the same time too," Zach said.
Among the highlights and lowlights of his journey: walking through pouring rain on Thanksgiving morning; being greeted by Albert, the Florida Gators' mascot, in Gainesville; missing celebrating his 10th birthday with friends; Lake City's mayor walking alongside him for two miles and handing him the key to the city; finding a stray puppy and finding someone to adopt it at Suwannee State Park's campground; and finally, seeing the Capitol.
Zach's journey raised about $25,000 in money and donations for homeless children. Soon he'll host parties to hand out Christmas hams and donations to homeless children and their families in New Orleans and St. Petersburg.
Zach and his mother, 40-year-old Laurie Bonner, walked about a dozen miles a day, sleeping in an RV donated by Lazy Days RV Supercenter in east Hillsborough. Zach's sister, 20-year-old Kelley, ferried them back and forth between their walking route and the RV.
Next year, Zach hopes to talk from Tallahassee to Atlanta.
-- Mike Brassfield

This is such a beautiful story and a wonderful child!!