Pacing Parson comes out of retirement

The Pacing Parson Don Stevenson with Jack Meteyer, who Stevenson is dedicating his most recent charity walk to Meteyer. Submitted photo

The Pacing Parson is pulling himself out of retirement for another marathon.

Don Stevenson, who has walked more than 55,000 miles since 1998 as the Pacing Parson, is planning a 300 mile trip around Auburn to raise $10,000 for the Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center.

The 81-year-old man is planning to start his trek at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 3 at Auburn City Hall and, by walking between 20 and 30 miles a day, finish on Oct. 31.

His last charity walk, a 1,000 miles to raise awareness and money for pulmonary hypertension in December 2016, was expected to be his last, simply because he had other things to do, he said.

“However, I wanted to do the cancer walk to honor a very dear friend who had recently undergone cancer surgery,” he said.

But Stevenson decided to brush the dust off his walking shoes for at least two more walks — this one, and a 3,000 mile 2018 walk to support Wounded Warriors Project, a nonprofit charity that serves veterans and service members who have suffered physical or mental injuries connected with their service.

This final charity walk is meant “to cap off 20 years of charity walking and to honor the young soldiers who sacrificed so much for our country that we might be free and safe,” he said. “Many of them are in desperate need for ‘mobility’ to be independent again”

Stevenson himself is a vet, having served in the Marine Corps when he dropped out of high school in 1953.

“The Marine Corps taught me many good things about self-discipline. Like, I wasn’t really stupid as I had previously (been),” Stevenson said, adding that although he dropped out of high school, he graduated the head of his class in another school while he served in the 1st Marine Division.

He spent four years in the Marines before enrolling in missionary training school. He earned a Bachelor of Theology and served as minister of his first church in Newark, Ohio.

Stevenson now serves at the Church of the Nazarene in Bonney Lake.