The list of Rev. John Rice’s ailments hardly make him a candidate to walk from one end of the Cape to the other. The 75-year-old South Yarmouth resident has a torn ligament in his right foot, an injury to his upper Achilles tendon in his left calf and neuropathy in both feet.
None of this is enough to stop Rev. Rice from walking parts of each day of the 24th Annual Bob Murray Housing with Love Walk which will be held in the middle of July. “I’ll be out there plugging away,” he promised. “There are people out there in worse shape than I am.”
For that reason, Rev. Rice will walk for seven days during the hottest part of the year. He will do so as one of several celebrity walkers for HAC.
This will be the 12th year he has participated in the event which raises both awareness and funds for the region’s housing issues. He started walking at the urging of DJ Sullivan of South Yarmouth, who will be participating in his last walk this summer at the age of 80.
In Memory of His Mother
A retired Episcopalian priest, Rev. Rice has a personal connection to the types of services HAC provides. His mother was the recipient of a Section 8 voucher, allowing her to remain housed and live comfortably during the final years of her life. “My mother is really at the heart of my walk every year,” he said. “I am grateful to agencies, the government and volunteers that provide services like HAC does because I know up close and personal what a difference that makes in a person’s life.”
And so 12 years after he took his first steps from Provincetown and made his way to Falmouth seven days later, he continues to walk.
Despite the physical pain – two years ago he participated shortly after receiving his final radiation treatment for prostate cancer – he remains committed to helping those in need. “Surprisingly, we have a lot of economic problems here with younger families working two, three jobs just to put food on the table and keep their lights on,” he said.
HAC, he said, represents a vital safety net for those people. “What agencies like HAC do is they stop the fall and give a person the chance to rally their own resources to begin to float back to the top,” he said. “That is what it is all about.”
MEET HAC’S 2016 CELEBRITY WALKERS
The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod
Barnstable County Sheriff James Cummings
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Rev. John Rice