|Patty Murray (left) walks with Dakota Mousseau and Ben deRuyter on Route 6A in Truro during the first day of the 22nd Annual Bob Murray Housing with Love Walk.
In the 22 years that the Bob Murray Housing with Love Walk has been held Harwich’s Patty Murray never once participated in the event.
That ended yesterday when Murray, whose father started the walk in 1993 to bring awareness to the Cape’s housing issues, donned her sneakers and walked over 13 miles from Provincetown to Wellfleet. “It’s kind of bittersweet,” a tearful Patty Murray said, before noting that the fact the walk is continuing would mean a lot to her father who passed away in September at the age of 73.
“I know my dad was really worried about his legacy and whether this would continue,” she said. “He would be really happy to know it is.”
Though her father was not there physically, she was positive he was there spiritually. “I’ll be using his legs,” she said.
And so it went during the kick off to the annual walk, which began with a short service at The Church of Saint Mary of the Harbor. Before, during and after the church service many had the event’s founder on their mind.
“Bob Murray,” a trio of walkers shouted enthusiastically (instead of the typical “Cheese!”) as they posed for a photo in front of Provincetown Harbor.
And a pair of bronzed sneakers Bob Murray had wore in previous walks served as a symbol of why people were participating in this year’s event. David Willard, the director of community relations at Cape Cod Five, was the first to carry the sneakers – which came in a clear plastic bag – on his back at the start of the walk.
“I work at Cape Cod Five and we’ve been so close to Bob in all his professional endeavors,” Willard said. “And I’ve been so close to him and [his wife] Judy personally. It feels good I can be a part of it in this way. He is still in our hearts.”
Willard eventually passed the shoes onto Richard Waystack, president of the Family Pantry of Cape Cod, on Route 6A in Truro. Waystack, who is walking the entire 96.3 miles from Provincetown to Falmouth with his wife Bernadette for the Harwich Ecumenical Council for the Homeless, proceeded to carry the sneakers the remainder of the day before passing them off this morning to Vicki Hatch in South Wellfleet.
|Richard Waystack (left) takes Bob Murray’s sneakers from Cape Cod Five’s David Willard.
In 2012, the last year Murray took part in the walk, Waystack pushed him 19 miles in a wheelchair. “That was a great day, an awesome day,” Waystack said. “Bob was a good friend and my mentor.”
And yesterday the nearly two dozen walkers used him as inspiration to affect greater change on Cape Cod. “I know he is here talking to us all,” his daughter said.
Read more about this year’s Bob Murray Housing with Love Walk by clicking this link.